I'm increasingly having to write User Guides as part of my job and I need routes to make this into a more interesting exercise.
Hence, I was actually looking for something completely different when I started writing this question such as 'can I use humour in technical writing?' but found that this had already been asked (How much humour is effective in technical documentation?) with the answer being a resounding no (aside from X for Dummies books).
So then I was thinking about asking a question like 'Can I make User Guides more engaging?. I was beaten to the punch by this engaging question: Can technical writing suck less. The answers this time were along the lines of 'yes, but not with humour'.
And then I saw this (from Michael):
One example that sprung to mind is the instructions or "rules" for games. Some of these books can be so engaging that a lot of fans just read the rulebooks without actually playing the games (I know I have, and I notice people on discussion forums for e.g. roleplaying games reporting the same fascination).
And this led me to wondering about writing rule books that are so entertaining that they are capable of being read in much the same way that stories are. So, here (finally) is my question: How challenging would it be to rewrite a (random) User Manual as a tale of derring-do and intrigue? In other words - what would be the best technical approach to rewriting a User Guide as a Story?
Yeah, it's too broad, innit! Specifically, then - how can I wrap a plot around something that is plotless? Or insert characters into something that has no such beasts? Hmm.
I suppose what my question comes down to is this: 'what is the difference between 'technical writing' and 'creative writing' and how can I close that gap, in terms of converting one to the other'?
(Posts question and then nips over to Warhammer to see how they do it there.)