Review: Elements of Technical Writing

elementsbookRobert Bly has a background as a technical writer, teacher of technical writing, and author of 17 books on writing and business. He teams up with consultant Gary Blake to write this comprehensive look on the subject of technical writing.

The book covers two aspects of the subject:  elements of technical writing and tasks of the technical writer.

The authors address how to write clear and concise materials that include proposals, reports, manuals, letters, and memos. They also include an appendix on writing in a systems environment and another appendix on software for writers.

In the first major part of the book on the elements of technical writing, we get a good look at how to write numbers, units of measure, equations, and symbols; rules of punctuation, grammar, abbreviations, and capitalization; and words and phrases commonly misused in technical writing.

In the second major part of the book, we see the section on tasks of the technical writer, including work associated with proposals and specifications; articles, papers, abstracts, and reports; letters and memos; and manuals and documentation.

We get a good overview of the field and of the basics in this book. The book could help a novice get background in the subjects covered. The book could also help an experienced writer get a good review of the basics.

The Elements of Technical Writing – By Gary Blake and Robert W. Bly. Publisher: Longman (1993), 174 pages.

By Jeanette Evans