MLP: The Next Level Of Your Studies

by Vaniver1 min read9th Feb 201323 comments


Personal Blog

The first four chapters of my MLP fanfiction are now online on Unlike Friendship Is Optimal (fim link), which focuses on how MLP might impact the trajectory of AI, or Myou've Gotta be Kidding Me (fim link), which focuses on how a rationalist might impact the trajectory of Equestria, I wanted to ask: what would the MLP Way look like? How would MLP impact rationality, and what would rationalist MLP look like?

This has been over a year in the making, off and on, and I've received significant help in writing it. In particular, I'd like to thank the pre-readers and editors who have helped polish it, and everyone who's shown interest; that has been a great help in motivating me to work on this rather than other projects.

There's much more to come; I should be able to maintain at least a chapter a week for the medium term, and hope to post more frequently than that. If you're interested in pre-reading / editing chapters to come, let me know!

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I just read the first two paragraphs, and saw the book was made of leather. You know, Cows can talk in the MLP universe.

The optimistic interpretation is something like

I find myself frightened by how deadpan the article is about it.

That's the Wikipedia style. Personally, I think deadpan humor is too rare these days, so I treasure instances like When a white horse is not a horse or Mummy brown or Human ("Conservation Status: Least Concern").

Like gwern points out, you can actually make leather out of human skin too; it's rarely done for obvious reasons. Either Equestria hasn't advanced in subpony rights enough that most ponies are squicked by the thought of leather, or the skins are voluntarily donated.

(I am considering changing it because some people are squicked by the thought of leather, and it's not clear the story improves enough from there being leather in Equestria to justify that.)

You could fluff it as "really good fake leather that is actually made from plants," maybe?

It wouldn't make sense to call it "fake leather," unless use of real leather was common.

Sure, so in-universe references would call it "leather," and if any readers ask you just say it's an in-universe analogue to leather that doesn't come from the same source, but is similar enough that you decided to just use the word "leather" for it.

A decent cop-out, in other words. :-P

Some of the time-skipping confuses me ('One Day AR'?); I liked Night Light as an expy of Diogenes; the first chapter seemed to copy a bit heavily from MoR but on reflection I'm not sure that's a bad thing; the writing itself seems to flow at least as smoothly as Myou've or Friendship is Optimal. So it's a slow start but good enough that I'd subscribe to it if didn't seem to be somehow broken right now.

Random copyedit:

“You know,” Perry Pierce said, “we all swore on our magic to never reveal the secrets of the Moon's Hand. She claimed to not use magic to hide her identity, but what if she had been a spy all this time, and is just leaving now because she thinks we're beaten?”

What is the Moon's Hand? Surely not the unknown mare in question?

What is the Moon's Hand?

Their secret society dedicated to facilitating the return of Nightmare Moon, of course.

That's a reasonable guess... but if you read about a conspiracy meeting in a Star Wars context with a female member stomping out, and then them discussing the secrets of the Emperor's Hand, would you infer that it refers to a secret society dedicated to facilitating the return of the Emperor or maybe that it refers to the female who just left or something else entirely?

Well, I DID read the complete chapter, and that was the interpretation that seemed obvious to me.

/me shrugs

In SW canon there is already a group of people (each) called the Emperors Hand, so perhaps not the best example. (unless you already knew this and I just didn't get your comment)

Yeah, maybe. But imagine it from the perspective of someone who isn't aware of the EU retcons adding in additional Emperor's Hands; 'Emperor's Hand' actually sounds more like a single person ('hand' is singular) than a group.

Thanks for the feedback!

Some of the time-skipping confuses me ('One Day AR'?);

That one is a bit obscure; it gets explained in the chapter obliquely (it stands for "after return"). I'm never quite sure how much to tell people up front and how much to leave mysterious / explain along the way, and so it's helpful to hear reactions either way.

the first chapter seemed to copy a bit heavily from MoR but on reflection I'm not sure that's a bad thing

For quite some time, the first chapter was not the first chapter for that reason, but I ultimately ended up deciding that the end of The First Question was the best early hook that I had, and that it was better to choose chapters based on their hooks than to try to differentiate this from HPMoR.

And now that I've chosen that plan, other benefits are coming to mind: it smooths the transition from HP to MLP for any MoR fans that decide to give it a try, and it requires all readers to have at least some tolerance for Twilight's personality and style, but presents it in a much warmer way than Celestia's Request.

What is the Moon's Hand?

A typo, thanks for catching it! If you see the word 'hand' or 'foot' or so on, it's almost certainly a mistake on my part. (I should also note that I edited Deep Field's earlier comment to fit with the terminology that I switched to; he became the Horn's Tip, not the Horn.)

A typo, thanks for catching it!

No no, my point was that I didn't know what this was referring to. An arcane book of their secrets passed down from Nightmare Moon's banishment? The secret society itself? The particular mare leaving (were all of them given names like 'Moon's X'?)? A particular responsibility she was in charge of? A suborganization of the society (sounds like black ops or intelligence gathering)? etc.

(I didn't even notice that 'hand' is inappropriate in a MLP fic. I wonder if anyone has written a lint checker for human anatomical words for use in MLP fics.)

No no, my point was that I didn't know what this was referring to.

Understood; I think that the confusion was at least in part because I had screwed up the terminology in other parts of the chapter. I went through several names for this particular group and its members, and apparently some old names snuck into the version that I uploaded; now that everything's correct, I think it's clearer. Is it?

I wouldn't know, now that I've already read it before.

[-][anonymous]8y 2

I've been waiting for some time for news of this...

at last, the prose that was promised!

(I am a terrible person and have procrastinated greatly in writing my MLP rationalist-esque fanfiction.) Tips for finding time would be greatly appreciated.

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Tips for finding time would be greatly appreciated.

Procrastination is a difficult problem in general and this isn't a special case; the usual methods apply. The specific tactics that worked for me were establishing a habit of writing every day, making social commitments, and incorporating "is an author" into my identity.

Not bad. The characterization here is pretty good, and I really like the way you're skipping through time to tell the story. However, you could use a lot more conflict. Only one of the four chapters has any conflict to speak of, and even then it's pretty low-key. The plot seems neat once we find out about it, but it's not as urgent or hard-hitting as it should be. The prose itself was competent, except for an unfortunate aversion to using the word "said" and a few minor proofreading errors.

This has promise and I'd be happy to help pre-read, if you'd like. PM me here, or as Benman on fimfic.

Thanks for the feedback!

However, you could use a lot more conflict.

I'm aware of this, but not quite sure what my objectives are / how best to approach the problem. I do think I'm going to reorganize things so that chapter 5 introduces some of the conflict earlier than I originally planned, but that's not a fix for the first four chapters.