1 / 12

“The Nature of the Narrator in Technical Writing”

“The Nature of the Narrator in Technical Writing”. By: Lynn H. Deming Presented by: Anne Crace. Overview. Technical authors should speak to their audience.

Download Presentation

“The Nature of the Narrator in Technical Writing”

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author. Content is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use only. Download presentation by click this link. While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server. During download, if you can't get a presentation, the file might be deleted by the publisher.


Presentation Transcript

  1. “The Nature of the Narrator in Technical Writing” By: Lynn H. Deming Presented by: Anne Crace

  2. Overview Technical authors should speak to their audience. Writing of this type is more personal than other types of writing and should be treated on a personal level. Most often, first person, active voice is the best choice of narrative style.

  3. Be A Narrator! • Counter-intuitive to what has been taught in the past * It is “objective” to use third person * gives “professional distance” * helps with credibility • scholars now suggest first person is best for most technical documents • Written words tend to remove the author from the audience

  4. Define Your Audience • Speak directly to your audience * Write as if they are in the room with you • Define who they are • Determine your Narrative tone of voice (imagine you are speaking to them). *Are they experts or novices? * How old are they? * Is the topic serious or humorous? • By including yourself in your writing, it becomes less impersonal

  5. Different Types of Documents Require different narrative Perspectives • First Person * Correspondence (letters, memos, etc.) * Empirical Research Reports • Mixed Narrative * Proposals (first person-third person combination, predominantly active voice) * Mechanism and Process Definition (third person, active voice) * Multiple part documents • Active voice * Instructional Manuals

  6. correspondence • First person is the only choice here. • active voice also • “I appreciate your support”…Not “Your support is appreciated” • It’s also polite!

  7. Empirical Research documents • First person active voice allows an interesting and more personal perspective to research documents • allows a researcher to “own” their empirical data • Enables readers to identify with the writer

  8. proposals • Proposals can be brief memos or multi-volume documents • For the former, use first person (just like correspondence) • For the latter, it is usually the choice of the project manager. (first person, third person combination is an option, but should predominantly be active voice

  9. Manuals • These are user oriented and commands can be predominant • Issuance of instructions are common in these documents, a type of veiled first person. “Do this, do that…”, with an implied, “i”, giving the instructions, and “you” receiving them.

  10. Mechanism and process descriptions • Third person, Active voice is appropriate for these types of documents. You are discussing a mechanism or a process. Focus should be on that topic. • Passive voice can be appropriate, if, for instance, the actor or subject is unknown, or could be anyone. Ex: “The subjects of the experiment were either given the drug or a placebo.”

  11. Conclusion For most Technical writing, the tone should be somewhat personal, as if you are having a conversation with the audience, or speaking in front of them, as if on a stage. Doe s third person make sense for this? There are exceptions, but the main point of this article is to include yourself with the audience and vice-versa.

  12. Questions?

More Related