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Thread: Technical Academic and Corporate Writing Sub Forum now open

  1. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by astroannie View Post
    I'm taking a technical writing course as part of my degree program. Our first assignment was to write about why we're in the class and what our expectations are. I'm pleased with my submission because I treated it like an essay. My strength is poetry, not non-fiction. I hope to strengthen my non-fiction skills.
    Good point, Annie. My experience was the opposite: 25 years as a technical writer so when I retired I took a poetry course. Every now and then, while composing a poem, I tell the tech writer in me to sit down and shut up...

    Only thing I can add to the thread is the order in which I presented the information to my reader. I researched the topic from the specific to the general, then wrote my proposal or report from the general to the specific.

    For example, if you are writing a report as to the feasibility of constructing a cement plant on the Mississippi Delta, you write your conclusion at the beginning of the report, then support it with increasingly more specific details. Upper management, at least in my business, didn't want to wade through all the details to get to a conclusion. They'd read the first part of a report, then assigned their specialists to verify its accuracy and relevance.
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  2. #12
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    Just to clarify, what sorts of projects are you referring to as "academic writing"? I ask because I consider myself an academic writer, but many people think of homework help when they hear this, while others think of scholarly journals, course materials, etc. Thoughts?

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by rairose View Post
    Just to clarify, what sorts of projects are you referring to as "academic writing"? I ask because I consider myself an academic writer, but many people think of homework help when they hear this, while others think of scholarly journals, course materials, etc. Thoughts?
    Short answer: Yes.

    Addendum to Short Answer: This sub-forum is too small and under-utilised to consider being picky about definitions any time soon. If a piece of writing has any connection with anyone's idea of academia, school texts, peer-reviewed journals, or the Nobel Prize, it's "academic writing".

    Even though non-fiction is the broadest subset of writing, the largest employer of writers, and the more likely way any writer will put food on the table, it is the least discussed and least understood among people who want to be, or think of themselves as, writers.

    Of the many forms of non-fiction we can or do dabble in, technical, academic, and corporate writing are distinctive in that they have, and to some extent share, specific rules and conditions over and above the general rules and conditions that apply to effective writing.
    "I don't know ... I'm making it up as I go ..." - Dr I Jones

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  4. #14
    WF Veteran Yumi Koizumi's Avatar
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    "Even though non-fiction is the broadest subset of writing, the largest employer of writers, and the more likely way any writer will put food on the table, it is the least discussed and least understood among people who want to be, or think of themselves as, writers."

    Amen, @Cran. This is what has given me hope/confidence that I may well find readers in my niche-a niche I'm actually quite proud to be an innovator in.

    And there are aspects of this kind of writing that I'll bet most people would be surprised to hear about. One is 'presentation', a word that can mean anything at all you do to communicate your concept, idea, proposal, etc. There is a vast amount to understanding the psychology of listening/learning, body language/feedback, interruptions (snipers, sharks, spies, etc.), and even how to craft narration and graphics/animation/interaction.

    And to me, it is all terribly interesting! I'm hoping I can convey that interest & excitement about what most would assume is a dry topic, and thus create a compelling first work.
    " Religion says: 'Believe and you will understand.'
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  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Yumi Koizumi View Post
    And to me, it is all terribly interesting! I'm hoping I can convey that interest & excitement about what most would assume is a dry topic, and thus create a compelling first work.
    Yes, this is something I've seen some university lecturers and other teachers manage to do even when the required texts were drier than desert sand. But they have the advantage, like the screen-based science journalists and essayists, of using stage presentation skills and audio visual supplements.

    It comes back to presentation, and you would know from voice work, your emotion is carried in your voice. To make academic texts work in the same way, the need is to put that voice, that emotion and excitement in the ideas into the text without losing the message.

    If Stephen Hawking can blow people away in his presentations on cosmology or anything using a synthesised voice, anything is possible. Even if I read one of his books, I hear that voice.
    "I don't know ... I'm making it up as I go ..." - Dr I Jones

    Nature abhors perfection - cats abhor a vacuum!

    "Faith can move mountains - she's a big girl!" (unknown/graffiti)

    If I act like I own the place, it's because I did.





  6. #16
    WF Veteran Yumi Koizumi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cran View Post
    Yes, this is something I've seen some university lecturers and other teachers manage to do even when the required texts were drier than desert sand. But they have the advantage, like the screen-based science journalists and essayists, of using stage presentation skills and audio visual supplements.
    I hate to have a boring time, as student/learner or instructor/communicator. I am successful utilizing visual aids and 'whole group' exercises. How these are written & structured seems similar to doing the same in traditional writing. It doesn't just "happen".

    Quote Originally Posted by Cran View Post
    It comes back to presentation, and you would know from voice work, your emotion is carried in your voice.
    I smile when I speak-even on the phone-as a habit. I think people can sense it at a high level, if not actually realize it on another.

    Also, I see "academic" writing as separate from corporate/sales writing. Going through college courses today, nothing has changed for decades.
    A conversation last night:
    Me: "What's so funny? "
    X: "For my paper on stress for PSY108, I came across this definition, 'Aside from being itself, it is is both caused by itself and the result of itself. "
    Me: "Perfect closing zinger for the end of the paper! Leave them with something, clever, short, and memorable!"
    X: "Nope. They don't like that at all. The conclusion has to be about how the subject impacts the author, not witty quips."

    Yikes! Too rigid for my likes, though I do conform begrudgingly in my own classes... This is why I draw a line between Academic & Professional/Corporate/Business writing-especially the compelling kind...

    Just how I see it from my standpoint...
    " Religion says: 'Believe and you will understand.'
    Science comes to say to you: 'Understand and you will believe.' "

    ~
    J. De Maistre, "Soirees de St. Petersbourg."
    Check out my attempt at a blog here called Hidden Content

  7. #17
    Member WildPolitics's Avatar
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    I know this thread is a little old now, so perhaps everyone has moved on.

    In case not, I have been reading some profoundly beautiful and moving academic writing of late. It’s almost as if a spark of inspiration has been lit. Just when you don’t expect it, a journal paper comes through with soul and conscience. New books, like H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald are pushing into view. It is classified as a memoir, but it is also a natural history text, a wildlife manuscript and beautifully written prose.

    I hope academic writing can continue to evolve, and perhaps capture some of the spirit of the great lecturers. Academics need to be heard, but they have to tell their stories better!

  8. #18
    WF Veteran Yumi Koizumi's Avatar
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    "I know this thread is a little old now, so perhaps everyone has moved on."

    I was hoping it would be an ongoing thing, really, as in WF the vast majority are classic writers.

    And WildPolitics, I don't like the word "Academic" to describe it, as that style is too rigid. Two spaces after a period? Yuk! But the sections, where the thesis goes, all of it seems to construct barriers for those in school instead of opening up imagination. A rigid style, to me, is meant to make things easier to evaluate & grade.

    Well, I should back-pedal for a moment. If the writing itself is for academia, then yes, academic is a good word to describe it-but not the overall genre. I was trying to find a way of describing the vast majority of writing that goes on in the world every day, from emails to summaries, proposals to presentations-all those things that don't easily fit into the Fiction and Non-Fiction buckets.

    Non-fiction writing brings historical, biographical, and financial content to mind for me. I've never heard someone call a multi-million dollar proposal 'non-fiction'. I tried calling it 'Professional Writing", but that gets people confused into thinking anything that pays. That brings up another good differentiator (<-businessy term right there!)... An 'author' here is paid on the work itself by some sort of contract that covers printing, sales, movie rights, etc. Professional writers draw a salary-and sometimes bonus/commission, depending on their job title. We get a steady paycheck, but only a tiny fraction of us in the working world have a title with the word 'writer' in it; "Technical Writer" comes to mind, and they are usually on loan from Marketing.

    I have the word "Engineer" in my title, so you wouldn't think that I "write", but I do-a lot. I think that this means that there are writers who do nothing else, and there are non-writers (by title) that write, in this genre. The two big divisions in this kind of writing are 1. To Educate, and 2. To Sell (which is really #1 in hiding). I'm going into a ton of detail in describing this genre in a book I'm supposed to be working on each day!

    But I am more interested in your experience, namely, "I have been reading some profoundly beautiful and moving academic writing of late. It’s almost as if a spark of inspiration has been lit. Just when you don’t expect it, a journal paper comes through with soul and conscience."

    Can you explain this spark? Is it on your, their, or both sides? What kinds of papers are you exposed to routinely? And of course, on whose side is the result inspiration?Thanks for sharing
    Last edited by Yumi Koizumi; September 9th, 2016 at 03:53 PM. Reason: Forgot the difference between peddle and pedal!
    " Religion says: 'Believe and you will understand.'
    Science comes to say to you: 'Understand and you will believe.' "

    ~
    J. De Maistre, "Soirees de St. Petersbourg."
    Check out my attempt at a blog here called Hidden Content

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