885 reputation
410
bio website rianjs.net
location Boston, MA
age 31
visits member for 3 years, 8 months
seen Sep 8 at 16:33

A voracious reader since childhood, writing was the next logical step. I've been writing since grade school, and a professional writer since my senior year in high school. I've done science and technology journalism for Ars Technica, technical writing for ISVs, and quite a lot in between.

I love words; I can't NOT write.

I'm always looking for writing and/or editing work. I can be reached at rstockbower@gmail.com


May
13
comment What are some strategies for developing basic writing skills? Beginning Writing (again)
Like you, I learned more from a good editor than by through any other means. Editing others' work is also extremely helpful, because it makes you think about why your edit makes the work stronger.
May
13
comment What are some strategies for developing basic writing skills? Beginning Writing (again)
Unfortunately a lot of what traditionalists consider "good" writing isn't useful today. In basic business writing, one must battle attention scarcity which means beautiful prose probably won't go over well. Brevity, clarity, and specificity matter more than any amount of style in today's world. Focus on plain English above all else.
Apr
13
comment An alternative to saying 'users' when describing features
FWIW, I feel the same way about the words "code" and "coding"...
Apr
10
comment Where to look for ESL writers and copyeditors?
I've taught ESL classes for adults, and I also do quite a bit of editing (search my posts here). You can send me an email if you like. rstockbower at gmail.
Apr
10
comment Write a resume objective that expresses my desire to hone and sharpen my skills
A minor aside: every time I see the word "obtain", I imagine a high school kid with a thesaurus trying to find alternatives for "to get" because his teacher told him he shouldn't use it. This is bad advice because the student misses the real point: there are better, more meaningful ways of expressing the concept than simply plugging in a synonym. The teacher should pay attention to the expression of the idea instead of the word choice which is itself just a manifestation of the real problem. All the student remembers later is that get = bad, even when it's really the best choice.
Apr
6
comment What's the best practice for displaying a personal website url in a resume?
Yeah the pipe character. I like it better than dashes, semi-colons, plain whitespace, etc. It has a clean look, and its purpose (separation) is clear. The entire header block is centered.
Apr
4
comment How credible is wikipedia?
Eh, as a rule Wikipedia is about as accurate as Britannica, according to a paper published back in ~2007, if memory serves. Agree 100% on the source lists, though. Also FWIW, when I was in pharmacy school, some professors were notorious for CnPing Wikipedia content for their lecture slides. Verbatim.
Apr
1
comment How to obtain a thoughtful critique of a job application cover letter?
The bulk of the responses in this LinkedIn discussion thread (by hiring managers and HR people) support my assertion, especially the HR people. Hiring managers tend to be a little more in-depth: linkedin.com/answers/hiring-human-resources/staffing-recruiting/…
Mar
31
comment How to obtain a thoughtful critique of a job application cover letter?
I've tried to respond in a generic way so that other people will find it useful, too. Everything here has been learned through experimentation: A/B testing resumes and cover letters. Bits and pieces may apply more or less depending on the hiring culture of the company you're interested in, and whether or not you've got a direct line to the hiring manager...
Mar
26
comment How explicit should a YA novel be?
To add to what Standback said, it might be helpful if you told the whole story, or linked to a blog post or something where you went into greater detail. I love behind-the-scenes stories. :)
Mar
26
comment Rules and resources for scientific writing
Can you be more specific? Are you referring to writing scientific papers to be published in peer-reviewed journals, or are you referring to science journalism or something else? Everything else derives from who your audience is.
Mar
23
comment Help! I've got Writer's Block
I'd have to say Stephen King's On Writing is one of my favorite books about the craft. Useful for both fiction and non-fiction writers.
Mar
23
comment Please help me polish this paragraph.
Good point. Given the relatively informal nature of the paragraph, I assumed that it was a free-form essay. The type you'd write in a high school English class or what have you.
Mar
23
comment Submitting a novel for publication: do editors still expect Courier font?
Not unlike wearing a suit to a job interview. ;)
Mar
23
comment Please help me polish this paragraph.
I replied below in terms of editing, but I wanted to comment that I disagree with you that learning to control our emotions is easy compared to learning how to solve problems. We are fundamentally emotional creatures, and ignoring or discounting the importance of emotion is to limit the experiences that we're open to in life. Mastering our thoughts and emotions is HARD. Certainly much harder than learning to problem-solve.
Mar
18
comment What are the key skills for a new technical writer?
You fail your second criteria. "Id est" is not an everyday word the way "i.e." and "that is" are. ;P
Mar
8
comment What's the benefit of using invented languages in-story?
This feature article from the NYTimes Magazine seems a propos: nytimes.com/2010/08/29/magazine/29language-t.html?_r=1
Mar
7
comment Is Mac OSX Lion's Revision Control System useable by writers?
This is a pretty decent demo of how Versions works in Lion, so you can see what the OP is talking about. youtube.com/watch?v=sJ853c151Jw