Hints for a rookie writer?

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haklesup
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Re: Hints for a rookie writer?

Post by haklesup » Wed Sep 15, 2004 10:50 am

Windmiller,<p>Now that's an outline. Just reverse the process.

Enzo
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Re: Hints for a rookie writer?

Post by Enzo » Wed Sep 15, 2004 9:36 pm

You consider your audience every day, it is no different in print really.<p>COnsider: "How does the car work?" Now consider your response to the following - your 3 year old, your wife/girlfriend (or your favorite stereotype for technically ignorant), fellow engineers.<p>Would you really start to discuss thermodynamics with the 3 year old? Or would you start with the engineers by saying "this pedal makes it go?" Of course not, because you considered the audience. You just didn't think of it that way.<p>It is hard to write an interesting piece that will be useful to both utter novice hobbyyiisstts (sorry, just having fun, no offense meant) and advanced technicians. Though many readers of N&V have lifetimes of experience, and we still might find a basics artical interesting, on the whole you would assume the audience to be more towards the inexperienced end.<p>Make up an imaginary reader in your mind and write to him. Ever listen to radio personalities, and some sound like they are talking to you, but others sound like they are "announcing?" That is the kind if difference it makes. Write to somebody, and it will sound real to the rest of us.<p>Stick with it, practice practice practice. A writer hones his craft his whole life.

fsdenis
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Re: Hints for a rookie writer?

Post by fsdenis » Thu Sep 16, 2004 6:47 am

Thanks to haclesup and Enzo:<p>A strangely provocative comment: I can do outlining backwards.<p> This is progress towards putting an outline together that will work for writing an article for other people.<p>The hint here (looking also at Enzo's thinking) seems to be that a fraction of what has been said
has "lept off the page" to me and that fraction has been largely determined by my existing skill level.<p>Later, assuming an improvement in skill level, other points may leap out to me that I wasn't ready to see earlier. <p>I may assume an audience with a range of skill levels and expect some points to be picked up by some readers and others will pick up other points, it seems.<p>My wife once caught me explaining to my very young sons how to build a campfire in terms of thermodynamics (chimney effect, thermosyphoning circuits) and materials science (behavior is determined by structure. They caught on, though.
This led to some truly startling safety issues over the next few years.<p>I've caught myself explaining "the pedal makes it go" to engineers. This a more serious issue. Many people seem to have no concept of mission, relating one's actions to achieving a specified purpose. Hobbyusts (at least I got the "y" in there) seem a select group of people: They get their purpose clear and then relate their actions directly to achieving their purpose. <p>I can't find a way to write or even talk to people without the ability to act purposefully. Maybe I can learn to write for those who can.<p>Thanks again, gentlemen. We seem to be whittling and chiseling away at whatever I'm missing conceptually associated with outlining and picking my audience.

toejam
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Re: Hints for a rookie writer?

Post by toejam » Thu Sep 16, 2004 9:37 pm

just how does the accelerator pedal make a new car go? Show your stuff. You will learn from this. Good luck.

fsdenis
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Re: Hints for a rookie writer?

Post by fsdenis » Fri Sep 17, 2004 4:53 am

Thanks toejam and all other contributors.<p>I think I have enough now to setup and run the next round of writing experiments with focus on picking an imaginary target audience, keeping my technical focus very tight to a specific question per article, outlining to spell out what I want to achieve with the article and then trying to flesh out the outline to a full article.<p>And stay out of trouble with poor focus and elephantiasis.<p>And come up with articles that at least I can use and easily retrieve from my files when coming up from "cold".<p>At least I can shoot for building articles and organizing them such that I may straightforwardly build capability on what has been done before rather than my usual of being forced to start over because I can't find what I've done before.<p>Your efforts on my behalf are appreciated. Time now for me to try some more "doing".

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