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Alicorn comments on Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality discussion thread - Less Wrong

34 Post author: Unnamed 27 May 2010 12:10AM

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Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 12 July 2010 04:58:29PM 12 points [-]

Actually, on reviewing this remark later, it's not quite true. My brain generated an idea set in the HPverse because I'd been reading a lot of HP fanfiction, and I accepted it and stopped the search because it was also optimal for getting reviews. However, I've since read analyses showing that Twilight stories are getting more new reviews on FF.net than Harry Potter, and I don't think I'd have been the smallest bit tempted if I'd known the fact in advance.

Comment author: Alicorn 12 July 2010 08:56:00PM *  12 points [-]

I think a version of Twilight with a rationalist Bella as the protagonist would be hilarious.

It'd also be very short, though.

Comment author: Blueberry 12 July 2010 08:59:32PM 11 points [-]

You should totally write one!

Comment author: Alicorn 12 July 2010 09:04:24PM 10 points [-]

I'm tempted! And come to think of it, I suppose it wouldn't have to be short; I could draw it out by leaning on the right bits of canon...

But I loaned out my copy of the first book ages ago and it's still gone, so I would need to pirate a copy as reference.

Comment author: Blueberry 12 July 2010 10:35:47PM 5 points [-]

And come to think of it, I suppose it wouldn't have to be short; I could draw it out by leaning on the right bits of canon...

Hopefully Bella can join up with a few other vampires and start taking over the world. It could be very long.

I would need to pirate a copy as reference.

Sent.

Comment author: Alicorn 13 July 2010 02:12:22AM *  11 points [-]

All right, all right, I'll at least give this a try. In keeping with the books' title themes, what do folks think of "Luminosity" as a title? (With luminosity as a theme over HP:MOR's emphasis on science, because I don't have the background to competently pull off the science.)

Comment author: Alicorn 13 July 2010 07:55:03AM *  19 points [-]

I did it.

Also, I hate fanfiction.net's interface for publishing stories SO MUCH. I'm probably going to just put the rest of this on my own webspace. EDIT: I am still updating on ff.net to get readers from conventional Twilight fandom, but made the story its own website and have changed the link above.

Also-also, my only account on fanfiction.net is Alicorn24. I am not affiliated in any way with anyone else using the word "alicorn" in their username.

Also-also-also, I'm not quite as much of a review junkie as Eliezer is. However, I a) am unlikely to bother with the story if I'm the only one enjoying it, as I do have creative projects with audiences that could benefit from my attention, and b) plan to treat this as a somewhat experimental work. (For instance, the first chapter has no actual in-quotes dialogue, which I did because dialogue is my strongest suit as a writer and it was challenging to work without it.) Info on what works for readers and what doesn't would be good, as well as periodic reminders that someone's paying attention.

Comment author: RobinZ 13 July 2010 12:23:58PM 4 points [-]

Interesting. You might want to revise the description a couple chapters in, once the story has its own identity, but the character seems like someone who might be entertaining to follow.

(As with Harry Potter, I'm coming in with zero knowledge of the base material - Twilight bored me no less quickly than Philosopher's Stone.)

Comment author: rhollerith_dot_com 13 July 2010 11:34:25AM *  3 points [-]

Info on what works for readers and what doesn't would be good

Here goes.

Since I had not read any of the books or seen any of the movies, I lacked confidence that I possessed the prerequisites for reading your fanfic.

It turned out that I did possess the needed prerequisites (for reading Chapter 1) but I almost concluded otherwise and almost stopped reading when I got to the first reference to Charlie because I did not know who Charlie is.

But then a few sentences later it became obvious that Charlie is Bella's father, and I read to the end of the chapter.

In summary, my feedback to you is that this particular reader would have benefitted from a replacing of the first occurance of "Charlie" with "My father, Charlie."

I want to know what happens next :)

Comment author: CronoDAS 13 July 2010 04:01:29PM 3 points [-]

In summary, my feedback to you is that this particular reader would have benefitted from a replacing of the first occurance of "Charlie" with "My father, Charlie."

Seconded.

Comment author: Alicorn 13 July 2010 06:43:46PM 2 points [-]

Fixed that, and also two typos and the italics.

Comment author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 13 July 2010 09:52:18AM 4 points [-]

In medias res this one. Start it in the middle of something interesting happening.

Comment author: Alicorn 13 July 2010 06:29:53PM 5 points [-]

I wanted to do that - the original book does it - but I haven't yet gotten very well acquainted with my Bella and by the time interesting things start happening, I wouldn't expect her to let me hug so close to canon. I might go back and add something like that in a few chapters.

Comment author: Jonii 15 July 2010 05:48:27AM 2 points [-]

Is this fic understandable for those that don't know a thing about twilight?

Comment author: Alicorn 15 July 2010 06:15:03AM *  2 points [-]

Yes. Neither knowledge of nor affection for the original Twilight series is a prerequisite for reading, understanding, and (potentially) enjoying the fic.

Comment author: Alicorn 14 July 2010 07:18:21AM 5 points [-]

New chapter.

Vote this comment up if you would like a Luminosity fic discussion thread here on LW analogous to the HP:MOR one, and down if you would not.

Comment author: Alicorn 15 July 2010 04:46:35AM 4 points [-]

New chapter. I think I'm going to update daily for a while, but no promises.

I'm having trouble making Bella conspicuously luminous because fictional characters in general are more luminous than real people. (Authors have perfect access to knowledge about character minds, and since the dearth of luminosity in real humans isn't known to most authors, they don't restrict the characters' access to this information much if at all.) I've resorted to some tricks, most notably the notebooks - how do people find Bella's visible luminosity?

Comment author: sketerpot 15 July 2010 11:45:38PM *  5 points [-]

I wonder if real people could become more luminous by occasionally narrating their thought processes from a third-person perspective, treating themselves like characters that they're writing. If nothing else, it'll be a cute gimmick for getting someone to examine their own motivations.

I'm going to try this later today, while exercising. We'll see how this wild-ass idea fares. (I will define failure as not turning up anything surprising.)

Comment author: Alicorn 16 July 2010 08:57:18AM 3 points [-]
Comment author: LucasSloan 19 July 2010 12:48:37AM *  1 point [-]

I think she comes off as in control of her life and very insightful about other people, but not particularly insightful about herself (at least in contrast to other fictional characters - your theory about why this is makes sense to me). On the other hand, her insightfulness about other people didn't seem at all forced, so her social modeling abilities seem to be working.

Comment author: katydee 18 July 2010 09:57:18AM *  0 points [-]

I'm skeptical of the claim that most authors don't know that real humans are unluminous. The authors that I have met in person haven't seemed particularly luminous to me, and I see no reason that they would think that people in general would be so. I suppose that they could all model their writing on other writing instead of on the world as it exists, and thus excess luminosity in fiction could quickly propagate, but this seems somewhat implausible.

Comment author: RobinZ 14 July 2010 05:53:34PM 0 points [-]

I would wait until we have a definite sign of interest - e.g. a conversation about something in the story on an open thread that attracts a fair amount of conversation.

Comment author: CronoDAS 13 July 2010 04:02:05PM 0 points [-]

Reviewed. (My fanfiction.net account is "Ronfar".)

Comment author: lsparrish 13 July 2010 02:25:46AM 3 points [-]

I like. Rhymes with sparkles.

Comment author: thomblake 13 July 2010 03:23:28PM 7 points [-]

I'm in favor of this obviously wrong use of 'rhyme'.

Comment author: ata 14 July 2010 09:28:01PM *  5 points [-]

It's a conceptual rhyme.

Here's a limerick following the same principle. (I think I read it in Metamagical Themas; not sure if Hofstadter was the original author.)

There once was a man from St. Bees
Who was stung on the arm by a wasp
When asked "Does it hurt?"
He replied "Just a bit —
I'm so glad that it wasn't a hornet."

Comment author: Blueberry 14 July 2010 09:48:09PM 1 point [-]

It's usually attributed to W. S. Gilbert (as in Gilbert and Sullivan).

Comment author: Blueberry 13 July 2010 08:22:43PM *  2 points [-]

It's more allegorical than wrong.

"History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes."

-- Unknown (though attributed without source to Mark Twain)

Comment author: Alicorn 13 July 2010 02:31:25AM 2 points [-]

Huh? "Luminosity" doesn't rhyme with "sparkles".

Comment author: lsparrish 13 July 2010 02:38:15AM 2 points [-]

"Rhyme" was the wrong word, but I don't know what the right one is. Anyone?

Comment author: Cyan 13 July 2010 02:51:54AM 3 points [-]

"Allude", perhaps?