OT Re: [thelist] Web Design Books or Magazines

Ben Henick persist1 at io.com
Sat Mar 17 22:26:25 CST 2001

On Sat, 17 Mar 2001, deke  wrote:

> I don't know how they do it, but their books are uniformly good.

It's called "editing..."
> The authors are experts on the subject, but the books read like 
> they were written by someone who is an expert in writing. They 

Too, a lot of these guys are incredibly articulate WITHOUT the help of an
editor.  Go visit the sites of ESR, Larry Wall, Randal Schwartz etc. and
that's one of the things you'll see quickly.

I'm reminded of the latter's statement (in _Learning Perl_) that "you can
write Perl like English, or English like Perl, if you take liberties with
either English or Perl..."  That's probably not exact, and I can't check
'cause my copy of _Learning Perl_ isn't available.  But you get the idea.

Maybe it's not SPOKEN language that these guys deal with everyday in their
day jobs, but it is language nonetheless... certain IETF docs also
underscore this fact.

It occurs to me that there's a DHTML technique that can make it easy to
split an article up (as per the following tip), without making it
necessary to use separate pages.

<tip type="basic copywriting for the web" author="Ben Henick">
The page is the atomic part of your Web site.

That makes the words on the page the atomic parts of the site's content...

To this end, take the same factors into account for the copy, that you
would for the site as a whole.

What is the intended audience of the writing?

What is the objective of the writing?

What is the structure/architecture that in your opinion will do the best
job of achieving that objective?

These questions answered, you can then start writing.  Because people
don't like to read  l o n g  s c r o l l i n g  pages online (it's easy to
get lost), try to limit your sections to five or six hundred words... or
focus on strong transitions at these "mileposts."  An experienced or
talented writer can do it without having o think about it, but that takes
p r a c t i c e . . .

Ben Henick
Web Author At-Large
persist1 at io.com

"Are you pondering what I'm pondering, Pinky?"
"I think so, Brain, but... (snort) no, no, it's too stupid."
"We will disguise ourselves as a cow."
"Oh!" (giggles) "That was it exactly!"

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