The Fair Use Minefield

Fair use of copyrighted content is vital to public discourse, but is a minefield of subjectivity. Creatives should become familiar with legal tests and case law surrounding fair use, and should understand that the only safe harbor is to avoid asserting fair use in the first place.

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Jonathan Gennick
Don't Over-Capitalize!

Technical writers capitalize too often. Thinking about nouns in terms of classes and instances can help authors better distinguish between proper nouns that should be capitalized, and common nouns that should be left in lowercase. 

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Jonathan Gennick
One-Sentence Paragraphs

One-sentence paragraphs in skilled hands are a tool for emphasis and driving a point home. But they often indicate a need for more effort in organizing content and providing context to your readers.

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Jonathan Gennick
Point of View

Point of view in technical writing of the "how to" variety should usually be second person. Consistency matters too. Pick one point of view and stay there, and speak imperatively to your readers. 

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Jonathan Gennick
Making Introductions

One of the most important things you can do in writing non-fiction is to ensure you're readers are not surprised or bewildered by what they encounter as they read along in your content. Introduce everything -- figures, tables, lists, sections, and more.

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Jonathan Gennick
Writing Citations

An editorial colleague responds to a query from a college student on writing citations in his blog. The real world is messier than what you learned in English Composition. 

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Jonathan Gennick
Effective Listing

In which I share my tips for creating clear and effective lists in business and technical writing. Choose between bulleted and numbered lists. Know when to use term/definition lists. Achieve clarity through parallelism. Communicate in simplicity and brevity.

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Jonathan Gennick
Writing to Length

Good writers can write to any length on any topic. One page. Five pages. Thirty Pages. Developing your skill to deliver as planned on the amount of content increases your value to publishers and helps open doors to new publishing opportunities. Here's why....

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Jonathan Gennick
Avoiding the Majestic Plural

Did I do something, or did we do something? Whether to write "I" or "we" is a common dilema in instructional writing. Technology publishers generally prefer to avoid the majestic plural, sometimes referred to as the royal "we".

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Jonathan Gennick