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cupholder comments on Seven Shiny Stories - Less Wrong

104 Post author: Alicorn 01 June 2010 12:43AM

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Comment author: cupholder 03 June 2010 01:50:30AM *  2 points [-]

When you say "gimmick for bookending the meat" and "distractingly obvious" and call it a "trick" I feel like you have a set of negative associations with the "gimmick" that I am unfamiliar with.

Yes. It's one of a set of writer's devices that takes me out of the flow of reading a text when I notice it; some ways of structuring a text are familiar enough to me that they make me go 'I see what you did there!' when I spot them. It's like if I'm listening to a pop song for the first time and its rhyme scheme is obvious enough that my brain starts subconsciously guessing the ending of each line of verse before it's actually sung. If I notice that happening, it's distracting.

Still, I should, in retrospect, have phrased my comment more obviously as just my opinion instead of making a generalization.

(Edit - and that all said, I didn't plan to imply by using the word 'trick' that using this device was deceptive. I meant 'trick' in the sense of a convenient, well, gimmick. A trick of the trade.)

Comment author: magfrump 03 June 2010 05:54:19PM 1 point [-]

Okay, I think those last couple of paragraphs explain a lot of what I was missing--I definitely did associate "trick" (and gimmick) with being deceptive.

I do agree that this sort of device can become a bit transparent, although I often associate that with worse writing. I'm curious if there are better ways to help bring people into chasing mode.