Gunnar Johansson's `walking lights' demo, courtesy James Maas

Draft-revision toolkit (lucidity-supplem.txt or lucidity-supplem.tex)

The draft-revision toolkit is contained in a string-searchable text file called lucidity-supplem.txt, available here (103K). If you want a printed version, the best way is to rename the file as lucidity-supplem.tex and print it using TEX. This file is a workaday supplement to my published discussion in Lucidity and Science (5K), with more nuts-and-bolts detail. It describes certain labour-saving devices that may interest thesis supervisors, editors, and anyone else working on draft theses and publications. In case you haven't seen them yet, here are some notes on lucidity principles in brief (6.5K).

These days, no-one has time to make hundreds of marginal annotations such as

Such problems recur all the time. So I write acronyms like the following, perhaps accompanied by a suggested change of wording:

These acronyms can be encircled to distinguish them from other marginal annotations. The complete repertoire of acronyms I use can be found by regular-expression searching in lucidity-supplem.txt. I am no acronym-lover, by the way, but in these overstressed times nothing else is practical. For instance I find myself using the marginal annotation EX very often indeed. For most of us, a good rule of thumb is to be about twice as explicit as one thinks necessary. Insulting the reader's intelligence is a far smaller risk than trying the reader's patience. As the great mathematician J.E. Littlewood once wrote: `Two trivialities omitted can add up to an impasse.'

I would be interested to hear of any further such symbolism, beyond that in lucidity-supplem.txt, for which anyone sees a strong need. Email address below.

See also (in lucidity-supplem.txt) the items   SAFETY FIRST IN FIRST DRAFTS,   KEY POSITIONS,   CONSISTENCY OF LEVEL,    COMPLETENESS OF THOUGHT,    MORE ON COMMAS, etc.    (Commas are genuinely difficult, if only because of their multifunctionality.)

For the connections with music, see the published paper Lucidity and Science, Part I.

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Michael McIntyre (mem at, DAMTP, University of Cambridge, Silver Street, Cambridge CB3 9EW

Copyright © Michael E. McIntyre 1999. Last updated 24 Oct 2016
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