ASK DR. BOLI.

Dear Dr. Boli: I find myself in need of a number of technical writers for a government-funded project, and I thought you might be able to tell me: How do you distinguish a professional writer from an amateur? —Sincerely, A Grant Recipient.

Dear Sir or Madam: Ask each candidate one question:

Which is more important?

A. Content
B. Word count

Any professional writer knows the answer to that question. Any candidate who believes that content is more important than word count should be told to go back to scribbling free-verse poems about unicorns in a wirebound notebook.