I recently gave a 20-minute talk at the Diana Initiative in Las Vegas to help security writers take control of their writing and editing process.
As I’ve started to shift roles from Technical Editor to Technical Marketing Writer this year, I wanted to pass on the practical advice I’ve learned in the last 3 years to the security writers in the industry who don’t have the benefit of editors on call like the consultants at Bishop Fox do.
My slides and notes from the presentation are attached as a PDF:
Helpful Resources I’ve Made:
Cybersecurity Style Guide: https://cybersecuritystyleguide.com
Cyberdic (Spellcheck augmenter) https://github.com/bishopfox/cyberdic
Chaos in the Machine: Why Security Needs a Style Guide: https://youtu.be/Yl-4BWKpC28
(My 20 minute CactusCon talk about the benefits of choosing language intentionally)
Helpful Resources From Others:
AP Style: https://www.apstylebook.com/
BuzzFeed Style Guide: https://www.buzzfeed.com/emmyf/buzzfeed-style-guide
Conscious Style Guide: https://consciousstyleguide.com/
How to Name Files: https://speakerdeck.com/jennybc/how-to-name-files
It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences by June Casagrande https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/40717966-it-was-the-best-of-sentences-it-was-the-worst-of-sentences
Lawyerist: How to Redact a PDF: https://lawyerist.com/how-to-redact-a-pdf/
Lifehacker: Should You Use Grammarly Anymore? https://lifehacker.com/should-you-use-grammarly-anymore-1833585995
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Tools for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51750.Writing_Tools
Ze Frank: An Invocation for Beginnings (start writing now!)
Use bullet points to clean up sentences with long lists.
(They also trick readers into reading more than they would.)
Only capitalize nouns that deserve it.
(Just because it’s part of an acronym doesn’t mean you need to show where the acronym comes from.)
Watch out for -ing words.
Going, accessing, uploading… these words can be nouns or verbs, so they are often the cause of confusion in a sentence. Seek them out and see if you can rephrase to use a stronger form (go, access, upload).