An English butler giving his life to his master in his quest to be the rarest of all butlers — a “dignified professional.” The time is the 1930s and 40s. Our butler is the epitome of the type of domestic servant that kept the old English estates as well as the ruthless English class system alive for centuries.
Control of emotions, denial of pleasure and personal preferences, and strict adherence to rules made by others define the parameters of this 1989 Booker Prize-winning novel. Ishiguro won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017.
It’s tragicomic that a butler, a special…
A tragic love story that starts as an affair a British writer starts back in 1944 with the wife of a civil servant in London.
But as the story branches out and expands, it devolves into a merciless confrontation with the Catholic faith and church.
The book has its comic relief moments and episodes as well like when the jealous lover hires a detective to keep tabs on yet a third lover that the woman seems to carry on with.
After the pivotal incident (which I won’t divulge and spoil your reading), his hatred of the Divine reaches a new…
Most technical documents would have at least a few images to illustrate a point, or screen-shots that accompany the description of a certain step-by-step procedure, etc.
Organizing such images can really become a problem, especially when you have dozens and hundreds of them. Finding, editing, and importing them can quickly become a logistical nightmare when you’re working under deadline pressure.
Here are several ideas to organize and name your images for higher productivity.
Conditional text tags are at the heart of “single sourcing integration” between Adobe RoboHelp (RH) and Adobe FrameMaker (FM), especially if you are using FM in the unstructured mode.
Even though it is possible to create your source files in RH and then use RH’s many delivery formats including PDF and HTML, a more popular method is to create the source files in FM and then to import them into or link those files to a RH project for help file creation.
I suspect the reason that is so is that when FM was used as the main text and…
Here is a question I get from my readers on a more or less regular basis:
“Should I quit my company and set up shop as an independent entrepreneur offering technical writing services? Should I just launch a web site and fly solo? What is your advice?”
Here below is the summary of a letter that I’ve recently sent to such a reader. I’m sharing it here with the hopes that it may benefit others in a similar position as well.
The rewards and risks of “flying solo” are equally big. It depends on a number of things.
Technical documentation readers are usually a “voluntarily captive audience.” They choose to read a user manual by their own free choice because they are looking for a solution to a problem
When we get to a piece of technical documentation we are usually ready and willing to believe in the author and follow his or her procedural steps. All we are looking for are the FACTS and facts only.
A technical article (or speech), however, is a different matter.
When we are arguing a point with the goal of convincing the audience and bring them around to our point of…
In 399 B.C., the Greek philosopher Socrates was sentenced to kill himself by drinking poison for “corrupting the Athenian youth.”
How did Socrates corrupt the Athenian youth?
Did he lead an insurrection?
He thought them how to question authority through dialectic questioning.
According to the Athenian court of the time, Socrates committed the crime of expressing his thoughts and teaching a thinking method (the famous “Socratic method”) that the ruling class of his day did not like.
Since then, freedom of expression questions never ended.
SIDEBAR: There had always been and will always be a freedom of expression. …
Inkscape is a free vector drawing program that is ideal for many of the illustrations drawn by technical writers.
The fact that it’s available for free makes it a great resource for those freelance technical writers with limited budgets to spare for more expensive vector programs like Adobe Illustrator.
Inkscape has a Layers menu similar to that we find in Adobe Illustrator, however with fewer functions.
When you launch Inkscape the layers drop-down menu is displayed at the bottom of your drawing board:
I recommend you display it on the right sidebar by selecting Layer > Layers from the main…
Here is the secret of how to write both well and a lot: try to accept your uniqueness. That’s perhaps the hardest part of writing well.
We all do have a different perspective on things — if only we could admit it!
But we usually end up joining the choir.
We choose to go along to get along.
We get on with “the program” in a hurry.
That’s when we collapse our fresh viewpoint into a worn-out template.
That’s when we start writing awfully stale stuff; dead matter that’s not breathing.
As a writer, we have to overcome the anxiety…
A “case study” is similar to a “white paper” although white papers can be more technically detailed in nature.
Simply put, they are both written to convince the reader that something (a product, a service, a company) works.
That “something” could be a product/service, the story of how a product/service or method was implemented successfully, how a specific company operates successfully, or how a group of companies compares in terms of their performance, organizational structure, corporate culture, etc.
If the paper is about the technical details of a product/service or a discussion of a company’s sector performance, then it is…