Jun 24, 2008

Writing as a Techie

After considerable forays into fiction, I have come to the conclusion, I write better as a techie. I understand the lingo, the process, the nuances and the purpose. Fiction leaves me confused. When I was a proofreader for the magazine I work for: my purpose was simple, make sure the grammar was correct, names were spelled correctly and any quoted material was correct word for word. I seemed to revel in this, being a detailed oriented person.

Then I had the chance to move up to copy editor. These days, proofreading per se has become so passé and frankly you can tell. Copy editing is taking other written material and re writing it to suit your particular publication. Again, the basics were the same, use the stats correctly, don’t change any technical meanings, check the industry lingo (for example, the word elevatoring is a real word in our industry), and always write “one of” the best instead of “the best.”

Then I moved on to associate editor where I began putting together my “own” articles using material found from different sources. Much like putting together a thesis styled paper. State an objective, sequentially build to your conclusion (which is your objective), throw in a few rabbits if you want and then conclude. I also began covering trade shows as a photojournalist so to speak and found that easy to write as well.

Fiction seemed like it would be a natural jump. After all, how much different could it be?! Ha! It’s maddening. I understand little of the rules. I mean are there any rules? I hate writing all that background stuff (in trade publications, a lot is understood to be understood, if you know what I mean). I find I’m really good at action scenes and why not they follow a logical sequence. I’m rotten at transitional scenes because you don’t really need those in techie speak, you just move on to the next subject.

So now I’m wondering: can I make the big bucks writing techie?


  1. Yes. Non-fiction titles usually sell much better than fiction titles. Parenting and family, self-help and cookbooks are big sellers. So go for it! It is still writing. Look at Covey. He never wrote fiction.

  2. Terri, while I don't have the experience you have in the industry, I find myself asking similar questions. Fiction just doesn't happen for me either. I like research and putting things in order, as you say. I'm glad you posted this! I look forward to what the others have to say as well!

  3. You are an excellecnt communicator. Go for it!

  4. Personally, I'm interested in those rabbits you're throwing in! (And I agree, you're an excellent communicator. Go where your talent and interests takes you.)

  5. I think there is a huge need for good technical writers and certainly for those who express themselves as well as you do. At Poe War’s Writer’s Resource Center they list jobs several times a week and most of them are for technical, non-fiction writers: http://www.poewar.com/
    Great resource... just scroll down the MIDDLE column past freelance, fun and poetry until you get to the job links by date. They can also be reached by state via the right hand column.

    Great post. Carry on!!! And take care.


  6. THanks Stephanie. I'll check that out.


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