Notes From the Copy Editing Trenches

March 1, 2017 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

I am editing a procedural manual. IT IS AWFUL!!! The wordiness! The pointless statements! I know I am not exactly Shakespeare when it comes to the craft of the wordsmith, but compared to the remedial hamsters that wrote this document, I should qualify for a freaking Pulitzer Prize.
WHAT IT SAYS: For a given project or planned submission, it is also desirable to define and map the required documents in advance to facilitate communication and ability to assess the degree to which the document set is complete.
WHAT I WOULD SAY: Make a fucking checklist!
WHAT I ACTUALLY WRITE: For each project and/or submission, define and map the required documents in advance. This facilitates assessing completeness of the document set.

BUT… I hate the word “completeness”

OH GOD WHAT IS THIS SENTENCE?!?!?
Controlled documents are managed along various stages of its lifecycle.

WHO WROTE THIS?!??
Document users should be able to perform the procedure correctly (especially in SOPs) or to understand clearly what was done and what was learned (e.g., a Technical Report).

This has given me the idea. While watching the Oscars the other night, I decided that there should be a prize for best Procedural Manual writer out there. If you write procedural manuals (or, possibly technical manuals), send me the BEST PAGE from it! I will announce the winners as soon as I get enough to warrant picking one out! (i.e., I get more than 3 submissions). Send your manual page to: dotdash at gmail with the subject line MANUAL SUBMISSION. The only rule is you must be the author of the manual. Or, you must submit a manual page on behalf of the author. You can’t just pick up the booklet that came with your iThing or whatever and say “hmm, this is good– I’ll submit it!”; you must know the author!
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Entry filed under: 9 to 5, whine.

A Cranky Gen-Xer’s Tribute to Paul Kantner.

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