Tips on Technical Writing:
- Put Yourself in the Position of the Reader. Convince yourself that you will actually read your own paper. If you don't like your paper, no one else will (specially your boss or a reviewer).
- Write to Tell a Consistent Story. Do not write to fill up space, be coherent throughout (this is what people have done, this is what we are doing, this is how we did it, these are the findings).
- Title, Abstract, and Figures Sell the Paper. People do not have time to read papers, they will pick based on title, abstract , and by quick parsing.
- All Contents Must Have a Purpose. If a graph or equation is not used or referred to, eliminate it.
- Avoid Annoying Reviewers. Reviewers have an adversarial mindset (they are asked to find errors). Typos, inconsistencies, poor explanations, improper citations will get your paper rejected.
- Bad Grammar is Bad Taste. Typos and incoherent sentences send a bad message about yourself.
- Minimize Number of Acronyms and Jargon. The brain can only keep track of a handful of acronyms. Even if the reader knows about the topic, too much jargon makes things unintelligible.
- Justify Assumptions and Main Results. If you write a theorem or graph explain why this is there. A collection of theorems and graphs do not tell a story.
- Reputation is Everything. Papers and software are your ultimate products as a scientist (this is how you are measured). A bad paper of yours flying around google damages reputation.
- Be Honest. It is common for writers to massage the text/results to hide stuff from the reader with the hope that a detail will go unnoticed. Someone will eventually find the flaw so don't do it.