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Three new resources to check out

by Tom Johnson on Sep 8, 2007
categories: technical-writing wikis

Occasionally people send me links to check out, and they encourage me to use them as fodder for my blog. I've let them build up a bit this past month. Here are three. (I'm copying and pasting from their emails -- I hope that's all right.) I haven't actually explored them yet, but some might be interesting. Let me know if you have any feedback.


"I recently launched a website that I think would be great on your blog. It's called Scriblink (, and it allows users to collaborate in real time on an online whiteboard. The site is free and no registration is required. If you are interested in covering the site and would like to know more about the project or myself (I'm currently a senior at NYU's business school) please let me know."

Jordan Adler

Mysteries in the Form of E-mails

"I'm a Toronto writer. I just read your post from last January about Daily Lit and thought you'd be interested in hearing about a similar project I've been working on for the past couple of years.

"I have written two novels which use a new way to publish on the Internet. The stories themselves are are told in the form of emails exchanged among the characters. Readers subscribe online and then receive 3-5 emails a day for the three weeks that it takes for the story to unfold, as if they are being cc:d on the emails the characters are sending each other. Unlike conventional literature, readers can't turn the page to see what happens next; they have to wait for the next email to arrive.

"The first story, The Daughters of Freya, a mystery about a journalist investigating a Marin County cult, which I co-authored with San-Francisco writer David Diamond, was highly praised by numerous reviewers, both print and online, including the Philadelphia Inquirer, the UK Guardian, the Toronto Globe and Mail, and the influential blog A second story, a romantic comedy called Suzanne about a shamelessly opportunistic widow in search of a rich husband, was published earlier this year.

"The intent is to exploit the storytelling potential of the Internet. Readers open an email ... and read an email, one that is written in chatty, informal email style. Just like regular emails, the ones in our stories link to external websites with additional content such as newspaper and magazine articles, photographs and, in the case of Suzanne, video clips. The concept is to mirror the way people actually use the Internet.

"Readers subscribe online at A free preview with 3 emails from the stories is available on the website.

"If you'd like to read the stories, or would like more info, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,

Michael Betcherman - "Finally! A good reason to check your inbox."

Wikiversity's Introduction to Technical Writing

Wikiversity's Introduction to Technical Writing is a free online way to learn the basics of this rewarding career. Written for and by international students, anyone can perform the exercises and get feedback. If you're just starting out, it's a great way to build a portfolio. If you're an experienced writer, it's a place to give back to the technical writing community. Wikiversity's Introduction to Technical Writing is

* Free
* Up-to-date
* International
* Practical

You can learn at your own pace, complete online exercises, and build a portfolio. If you don't like a lesson, go ahead and make it better. This collection of tips and tricks of the trade is meant for aspiring technical writers. In the near future, we'll build and intermediate and advanced course. This Wikiversity course is already the main text book for Fred Williams' Introduction to Technical Writing class in Prague.

Just go to

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the tech comm, be sure to subscribe to email updates below. You can also learn more about me or contact me. Finally, note that the opinions I express on my blog are my own points of view, not that of my employer.