Chapter 3:Understanding the Writing Process Adapted from Mike Markel, Technical Communication 8th ed.
How Is It Different?• You took a basic composition course• Tell me about your approach to writing
Technical Writing v. Creative Writing?• Do they differ?
An Overview Of The Writing Process• Planning• Drafting• Revising• Editing And Proofreading
Planning• Analyze your audience• Analyze your purpose• Generate ideas about your topic• Research additional information – Be careful not to over-research your topic• Organize and outline your document• Devise a schedule and a budget
Drafting• Get comfortable• Write quickly without stopping to get more information• If you don’t know the answer to something, make a placeholder for the information and come back to it
Revising• Reconsider your audience• Reconsider your purpose• Reconsider your organization and development
Editing• Let the document sit, overnight if possible• Edit the document carefully – Grammar – Punctuation – Spelling – Style – Give it the read-aloud test
Editing and Proofreading• Format the document carefully• Check for consistency in style and formatting• Proofread it and then have someone else proofread it – Do not rely on spelling or grammar checker – Never use universal search and replace
Using Resources for Revision• Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) – Make it a habit to check with the expert on the subject• Preview the document to people most like the target audience• Measure twice, cut once
A Person From The Target Culture Can Help You Answer These Questions:• Have you made correct assumptions about how readers will react to your ideas?• Have you chosen appropriate kinds of evidence?• Have you organized the draft effectively?• Have you designed the document and crafted the sentences appropriately?
Templates• Drafting is the same process in technical communications as in composition.• However, many technical documents are created using templates.• Templates have advantages in saving writers time and helping them achieve an attractive document, but they can unconsciously encourage writers to organize and develop the document in a way that is inappropriate for the subject.
Commercial Templates Can Lead To Three Problems:• They do not always reflect the best design principles.• They bore readers.• They cannot help you answer important questions about your document.
Your Own Techniques• Writers must develop their own techniques for revising technical documents.
Using A Word Processor Involves Using These Tools:• Outline View• Templates• Styles• The Spelling and Grammar Checker• The Thesaurus• The Find and Replace Feature
Strategies for Revision• The chapter presents three strategies for revising. – Study the document using a checklist – Seek help from someone else. – Usability-test the document. • Usability testing is the process of conducting controlled experiments to determine how users interact with and work from a document.
Cultural Awareness• What if our audience is from another culture?
QUIZ• Chapter 3 describes the writing process as a series of stages. One stage is drafting. What are the other stages discussed in Chapter 3?
QUIZ• Answer: planning, revising, editing, and proofreading
• Chapter 3 discusses three questions to consider about audience during the planning stage of the writing process. One is: What do they know about your subject? What is another one?
• Answer: What do they want to know? How are they going to read the document?
• Styles are preformatted designs for different kinds of documents, such as business letters, memos, newsletters, and reports. TRUE or FALSE