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Book Design in Word or InDesign?

in-d-vs-word

I get a lot of manuscripts in Microsoft Word. Fair enough, as Word’s Track Changes feature is the gold standard for the editorial process. However, once we move from editing to actual typesetting and book layout, Word is horrible. It essentially treats everything (and I mean everything) like a continuous line of text. Graphics placement is a bear, columns and tables are cumbersome, and dependent files are unreliable.

Enter Adobe InDesign (ID). Back in my yearbook days, this was Aldus PageMaker. Adobe bought the company and we now have the ghost of PageMaker present in InDesign. I love the program. It’s much easier to do book layout in an application that treats everything spatially as ID does. No, there aren’t many editorial capabilities for copy in ID, but we’re talking layout here.

Here are some of my favorite comparative reviews from over the years:

Why use InDesign instead of MS Word?

Book Design: MS Word vs. Adobe InDesign

Document Design: Word or InDesign?

 

Negative Feedback, Effectively

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From Harvard Business Review – Your Employees Want the Negative Feedback You Hate to Give

What is clear is the paradox our data reveal, no matter how we slice them. People believe constructive criticism is essential to their career development. They want it from their leaders. But their leaders often don’t feel comfortable offering it up. From this we conclude that the ability to give corrective feedback constructively is one of the critical keys to leadership, an essential skill to boost your team’s performance that could set you apart.

Transformational Leadership

My PhD work at Clemson involved a great deal of organizational theory, and I ran across a quick motivational photo on LinkedIn that reminded me of Bernard Bass’ Transformational Leadership model.

Here’s the image:

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Though not verbatim, these 5 characteristics best describe Transformational Leadership (TL).

First, let’s explain what TL is not. It isn’t charismatic leadership – bending the will of your employees or colleagues by sheer force of charm or mesmerizing them. I saw this sort of leadership at play in a former career, where everyone was jumping on the bandwagon to take the FranklinCovey seminars and become masters of their day-planners. It was a charismatic movement. Individuals were trained by the FranklinCovey staff and given a captive audience of colleagues to teach. These trainers became gurus, and inspired their students to become trainers as well. The focus seemed to be more on the process, product sold, and the individual teaching moreso than the content or mastery itself.

So what is Transformational Leadership?

It is based on 4 moral components:

  1. Inspirational motivation
  2. Idealized influence
  3. Individualized consideration
  4. Intellectual stimulation

It is further based on 3 moral aspects:

  1. Moral character
  2. Ethical values
  3. Morality of the process

I remember a quote from a case study: the purpose of the leader is to “enable others to thrive.” Not to cast the spotlight on oneself. The focus is on the process and the goals, getting there as a team, and activating team members’ higher-order needs.

Bulleted Lists and Seriation

Commas Save Lives

I often run across numbered lists, bulleted lists, and in-sentence lists, known either as seriation or enumeration, depending on what style one uses. The three major style guides (APA, Chicago, MLA) are very clear on how to do these.

APA resources:

APA Style Blog: Lists (a 6-part series including both lists and seriation within a sentence)

Purdue OWL: APA Lists

For those disciplines that require Chicago or Turabian, as well as non-academic manuscripts:

Middlebury College: Vertical Lists (Chicago style)

MLA format does not recommend the use of vertical lists; rather, seriation by comma is suggested.

 

Positive and Negative Correlation

Let’s assume for a moment that we compared number of hours studied by a group of college students to their final exam scores. We might assume that those who studied longer hours would score higher on the final exam. That is considered a positive correlation.

Now, let’s think about hours exercised per week by a group of college students, and how that might relate to percent body fat. More hours exercised would reasonably lead to a lower percent body fat, right? (Actually, that’s more of a thesis question, but for the sake of my example let’s say yes.) That is considered a negative correlation.

Further reading here.

Rivalry Week: Clemson Football

This is the week that most residents of South Carolina will spend their time talking trash about either Carolina or Clemson, depending on their allegiances.

Rather than say anything negative about USC, I’d like to draw attention to one of the greatest entrances in college football. Last year’s home opener against Georgia featured a pregame segment on ESPN that documented the bus ride the players and coaches take from one end of the stadium to the other. It’s a tradition that began when the team dressed in the old Fike Fieldhouse then walked to the stadium and ran down The Hill. The facilities are now on the other end of the stadium, under the West End Zone, but the tradition remains. It’s part of the pregame pageantry that makes Clemson’s entrance “The Most Exciting 25 Seconds in College Football,” to quote Brent Musberger. I have to say, as a Clemson alumnus and football fan, there is nothing like this. Being in the stadium while this is going down, after singing the Clemson Alma Mater with my dad and 80,000 others, is a memory I get to relive every year for all the home games.

Normal and Non-Parametric Data

statistics

Yes, you really have to do all those tests.

Much of statistical analysis is based on the assumption that you have a lot of data to work with and the data follow a normal distribution. Beyond that, though, there are reasons we can’t just work up a t-test and a Pearson correlation without examining the data set first.

Non-parametric statistical tests are appropriate in different instances. This article from Boston U School of Public Health is a good place to start if you’re wondering.

In any instance, it’s always a good idea to run a normality test (Kolmogorov-Smirnov or Shapiro-Wilk, depending on sample size) before further analysis.

 

Plath at 82: A Life Rearranged

Plath

Sylvia Plath would have turned 82 last month, and this article in The Atlantic makes some observations on Ted Hughes’ editorial contributions to Ariel‘s arrangement.

After her death, Plath’s husband Ted Hughes rearranged her manuscript to reflect his wife’s biographical arc: Placing her strongest, most outwardly masochistic poems (“Ariel”) at the beginning, Hughes filled the middle in with optimistic work, then punched up the end with poems about female death and a writer’s obsession (“Contusion,” “Edge,” and “Words”). After his editorial contributions, the oven was the logical conclusion to the collection’s tale of downward spiral, the final defeat in its losing battle.

In 2006, I had an article published in Lifewriting about the inevitable difficulties biographers had, and would continue to experience, with the Hughes estate. It was based on one central thesis:

Regardless, with respect to her suicide, Plath and Hughes are not two separate individuals. They are one concept, fused together by their mutual experiences and held in an infinite moment.

I also questioned Hughes’ dual roles as both widower and what appeared to be puppeteer. Despite passing the executor role to his sister Olwyn, there was little doubt that he was still acting by proxy. His actions, detailed in the Atlantic article, certainly suggest a certain level of manipulation.