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What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fiction : Conversation question • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fiction

Every month in Writer's Digest's InkWell section, we pose a question related to the writing life. Tell us your thoughts.
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DrG2
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What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fiction

Postby DrG2 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:52 pm

I don't mean what is the difference in writing styles.

I believe anyone with above average intelligence (and lacking learning disabilities) can write good technical prose if they put in the time to learn how. Instructions. Scientific papers. Minutes of a meeting. That sort of thing.

Few people think that is true about fiction writers. What is the difference?

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Re: What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fic

Postby Laycrew » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:16 pm

I would say because fiction takes creativity and not everyone has that gift. I found it hard to believe that someone could lack imagination. It took me a long time to figure out my oldest daughter struggled with reading comprehension because she has no creativity. She scored way above average in vocabulary and everything else. She plays piano beautifully, can sight read almost anything put in front of her, but can't improv. Technical writing is literal and does not rely on creating something in your head.

For me, I have loads of creativity and imagination. Yet I still struggle trying to figure out how to use a comma appropriately. :?

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Re: What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fic

Postby updog » Fri Mar 06, 2015 1:03 am

I have nothing to add. Laycrew nailed it.
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James A. Ritchie
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Re: What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fic

Postby James A. Ritchie » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:18 am


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mammamaia
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Re: What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fic

Postby mammamaia » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:37 am

as usual, james has saved me a lot of typing!

he's right... it takes just as much talent and skill to write well in the technical/academic/scientific fields as it does for fiction... not exactly the same talent and skill set, but just as high in proficiency...

you could compare a skilled writer in those fields to a champion class race car driver and the same level fiction writer to a senior airline pilot... put the driver in the pilot's seat and the pilot behind the wheel of a formula one entry and it will come close to the difference between the writers... same basic principle, but demanding knowledge and expertise in re very different operational parameters...

same goes for a house painter and an artist who works in oils... they both are adept in applying paint to a surface and creating beauty with color, but their skills and creativity run in totally different directions...
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Re: What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fic

Postby DrG2 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 10:45 pm

I didn't mean to imply that all technical writing is good. I've been an associate editor of a scientific journal, and I've seen some of the stuff that is submitted (though the worst are almost always by an ESL author). I meant to imply that just about everyone (of adequate intelligence) can learn to write effective prose (which is mainly about clarity - - in scientific papers, there is a default structure that helps organize the info.), but that doesn't seem to be the case for fiction.

I should mention that most of the scientific papers I've edited were written by folks with Ph.D.s or in a Ph.D. program, so that probably represents the top 25% of intelligence (though not necessarily strong verbally), and usually at least one of the authors had a pretty good publication record. I wasn't dealing with undergraduate term papers.

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Re: What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fic

Postby stranger09 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 8:20 am


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Re: What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fic

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:37 am


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Re: What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fic

Postby DrG2 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:03 pm


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Re: What is the difference between Technical Writing and Fic

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sun Mar 08, 2015 1:46 pm


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