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White Paper Writing

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doodleface

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Posts: 34

Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 6:26 pm

Post Thu Jan 22, 2009 4:58 pm

White Paper Writing

I have been tasked to start writing white papers on security subjects. I was curious, those of you who are white paper writers, what tips or suggestions you might have for me to become a good white paper writer. I greatly appreciate any input. Thanks
CISSP, OSCP, C|EH, E|CSA, C|HFI, GXPN, GCFA, GCIA, GREM, GWAPT, GCIH
GSEC, GISP, FCNSP, MCITP:EA, MCSE Security, CCNA, JNCIA, JNCIA-FWV, A+
Network+, Server+, Security+
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unicityd

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Posts: 173

Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:33 pm

Post Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:23 pm

Re: White Paper Writing

Know your subject.  Read other papers, articles, etc. so that you know what other people are doing and so that you know the benefits and drawbacks of their approaches as well as your own. 

Have someone who is not an expert, but who should be able to understand your papers, read them and give you feedback as to whether the papers are understandable.  If your reader doesn't understand one of your papers, take him seriously.  Your explanation probably left something out.

Test and re-test any code, commands, or configurations that you include in your paper.  You don't want to publish a paper with code that doesn't compile or commands that don't work.

Include links or references for background/further reading at the end.  Some people may want to read more background in order to understand your paper or to move on to related or more advanced topics.  Even a couple of links or references can be helpful.  Choose other papers or books that you've read and think are appropriate.  Dont' just slap in some random references you aren't actually familiar with. 

Buy a copy of The Elements of Style by Strunk & White.  It's a standard guide to grammar and style that many writers use (for good reason).  It's also very short and easy to read in short spurts.  Theirs is sage advice; follow it.

Don't use passive voice (most of the time).  This rule isn't absolute.  Sometimes you'll use passive voice in a sentence because it sounds right, but if you use it too much your writing will sound weak.

That's all I can think of right now.  Good luck.

-Unicityd
BS in IT: Security, CISSP, CEH. MBA in progress.

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