Prim and Proper

Okay, so I guess you’ve guessed from my post last week that I’ve started school at Northwest Technical Institute here in Springdale. I’m taking their Network/Computer Technician class, and I’ve already decided that I’ll add an extra semester for early next year and take their Web Programmer course. It’s only six more classes, and it makes me much more marketable to a potential employer.

Here’s the interesting part: I’m taking a class called Technical Communications this semester. It’s another name for business writing. You know, how to write letters, memos, that kind of thing.

Ironic, huh?

The instructor said that the people who have the most problem with it are creative writers. We’ll see. But I can’t say that I’m gonna enjoy it. Sure, I might need those skills in my professional life, especially since I plan to try to get a degree in the IT field, and that means I’ll be dealing with business types all the time. Doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it.

I gotta wonder if it’ll have an effect on my creative writing. We’ve already had what I would consider some disagreements where I think she’s wrong. If you’re a regular reader, you know that I abhor the word alright, that I don’t even really consider it a word. Properly, it is all right. And yet she seems to think it’s, um, all right.

I won’t change my thinking on that one. I’ve seen too many references that say alright is at best nonstandard, and I will argue with any editor who tries to change it in my stories. I hate the idea that it’ll make me look like an idiot because they want to follow the latest trend (and I see it more and more in published books).

But can this course help my creative writing? Another question I’m waiting to see answered. I mean, I’m gonna have to use proper English for this stuff, not the more informal writing I’m used to. Heck, you see my most formal writing here on my blog. My fiction prose is even more informal than this.

In technical communications—or tech com, as we call it—everything has to be formal. We can’t even use pronouns! When she first said that, I wondered how in hell you could write anything that another person is gonna read without sooner or later running into a pronoun or two.

But if you look at any random business letter, I’m sure you’ll find pronouns are rare as hen’s teeth.

Should be interesting to see where this takes me. Luckily, it’s only a semester. I can take a semester of tech com.

It’s that semester of technical mathematics that I’m truly worried about.

Later,

Gil

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