Fiction from Moses Howard
Mozart: La Flauta Magica
Verdi: Aida, La Traviata .. and much more
Fiction from Ajax Bell
My final “Managing Up” post for Steyer Associates offers an abbreviated look at earlier trends in technical communications. Here’s a longer meditation on being in the trenches over some of the most life-changing technical advances in the past quarter century.
A decade out of college, I first asserted in a job interview that I was a writer. Previously, my job roles had included editing—for solar energy designers, conservation policy advocates, and a couple of dyslexic physicists. During that “editorial” apprenticeship, I typically tossed 90 percent of what I received and rewrote it. That made me a writer, correct?
I faked my way through that interview and went to work for a local power utility, where I learned the basics of tech writing, before the profession had degree programs or professional associations.
The tech writing basics? Forget what your English teacher said: There is no practical use for creative, complex sentence structures in tech writing: Continue reading
My blog post, 5 Pet Tricks with Spreadsheets, suggests some tricks for project tracking for tech-comms professionals. For balance, here are some pet tricks for fiction writers:
“Author as Publisher” Task Lists
Whether part of an initial plan or in the middle of an attempt to untangle spaghetti 2/3s through the draft, you can use a spreadsheet to map the plot points, action, character development, time scale, and so on.
Here’s an example of how I analyzed plot and pacing problems during an early draft of Artemis in the Desert (if you haven’t read the book, this example doesn’t contain spoilers). The top row maps chapters against traditional beat sheet goals for plot and pacing. Continue reading
These tips work for assignments to document a small tool or app when you receive only a broad-brush statement about the target audience for the software.
My basic guess? For these kinds of (typically free) tools and apps, there’s something out there that’s similar. You can pretty easily find out who uses such software and identify the nature of common problems.
Patty at Steyer Associates reported that their research showed that ~300 words was the right size for a blog post. So I had to pare from the 950 words I’d already drafted. I’m providing the whole article here—since scheduling for a program manager is a whole discipline. A 300-word peek won’t give you much insight into a manager’s compulsive, continuous thinking about schedules.
This topic is of interest if you are anywhere in your technical communications career where you need a deeper understanding of the scheduling processes. Continue reading