I mentioned this last week in the open thread and yesterday decided to write it. Since a few people on the site helped me choose this topic and the content is relevant to the site, I thought it would be nice to see what everyone thinks. If a change is suggested that I like I will edit the post. Sorry if I don't implement what may seem to you like an obvious change. I'd like to keep the style as close to mine as possible.
The prompt was to describe a fictional character that influenced you and to describe that influence in 250-500 words.
Below is the Rot13 version of the submitted essay.
Ba snasvpgvba.arg, nzngrhe jevgref qensg aneengvirf hfvat gur jbeyqf naq punenpgref bs bgure nhgubef, naq gurer ner yvgrenyyl gubhfnaqf onfrq ba Uneel Cbggre. Zbfg ner cbbeyl jevggra naq pyvpuéq, ohg fbzr ner vaperqvoyr. Uneel Cbggre naq gur Zrgubqf bs Engvbanyvgl, ol Ryvrmre Lhqxbjfxl, vf bar fhpu fgbel, naq vg punatrq zl yvsr. Gur nqiragher’f cebgntbavfg, Uneel Wnzrf Cbggre-Rinaf-Ireerf, vf vagryyvtrag, phevbhf, naq engvbany, bireynccvat yvggyr jvgu gur oenir-ohg-npnqrzvpnyyl-nirentr Uneel Cbggre bs W.X. Ebjyvat’f pryroengrq jbexf.
Lhqxbjfxl’f vgrengvba bs gur ureb bsgra pvgrf fghqvrf va pbtavgvir cflpubybtl (vafcvevat zber guna n srj abpgheany ovatrf bs nhgbqvqnpgvfz) ohg uvf vasyhrapr ba zr pbzrf sebz ubj ur guvaxf engure guna jung ur xabjf. Vzzrqvngryl hcba ragrevat gur jbeyq bs zntvp, Uneel fgnegf grfgvat naq nanylmvat gur zntvpny sbeprf gung trarengvbaf bs jvmneqf unir nyybjrq gb erznva zlfgrevbhf. Ur qrfvtaf naq cresbezf rkcrevzragf, oryvrivat va uvf bja novyvgl gb svaq gehguf gur hafpvragvsvp jvmneqvat jbeyq unf bireybbxrq. Ur gehfgf uvf bja vagryyvtrapr naq crefrirenapr, naq, hayvxr uvf crref, nccebnpurf rnpu ceboyrz nf vs vg pna or fbyirq. Svanyyl, guvf fgbel’f Uneel vagebqhprq zr gb znal shghevfg vqrnyf, cerfragvat frevbhfyl gur pbaprcgf bs enqvpny yvsr rkgrafvba, pbtavgvir raunaprzrag, naq rkgen-fbyne rkcnafvba.
Lbhat Cbggre gnhtug zr n terng qrny, ohg ur nyfb rssrpgrq npghny punatr va zl yvsr. Uvf vzcerffviryl grpuavpny vaare zbabybthr cbvagf bhg ubj crbcyr bsgra tvir hc cerzngheryl, naq V’ir yrnearq gb bssfrg guvf snvyher. Ol nqbcgvat gur unovg bs ernyyl guvaxvat nobhg fbzrguvat sbe ng yrnfg svir zvahgrf orsber tvivat hc, naq abg whfg nvzvat sbe gur nafjre ng svefg ohg nyfb cbaqrevat gur angher bs gur dhrfgvba, V’ir orra noyr gb fbyir znal ceboyrzf gung ng svefg tynapr nccrnerq vagenpgnoyr va gur pbzcyrkvgl gurbergvp, “cbffvoyr tvira vasvavgr gvzr naq pbzchgre cbjre,” frafr bs gur grez. Uvf engvbany bhgybbx cebzcgrq zr gb vagebfcrpg ba jul V cebpenfgvangr, naq, guebhtu gur ebhgvar hfr bs uvtuyl ngbzvmrq gnfx yvfgf, V’ir gnxra fhpprffshy fgrcf ntnvafg gur ceboyrz. Uvf rssbegf gb fghql naq haqrefgnaq gur ynjf bs zntvp, naq uvf vagrag gb hfr gung xabjyrqtr gb orggre gur jbeyq, vafcverq zr. V unq arire ernyyl orra fher nobhg jung V jnagrq gb qb jvgu zl yvsr. Ohg abj V xabj: V’z tbvat gb or n fpvragvfg.
Uneel qvqa’g whfg thvqr zr gbjneqf zl shgher; ur tnir zr ubcr. Uneel Wnzrf Cbggre-Rinaf-Ireerf gnhtug zr gb ybbx hc ng gur urniraf, gur fgnef oynmvat ntnvafg gur qnex naq gur zbhagnvaf ba gur fhesnpr bs gur Zbba, naq frr abg bayl gur pbyq vaqvssrerapr bs gur havirefr ohg nyfb gur cebzvfr bs uhznavgl'f shgher. Gung jr pna rkcnaq orlbaq gur Rnegu naq gur Fbyne Flfgrz, cbchyngvat gur uhtr, yhzvabhf fcveny bs gur Zvyxl Jnl; pbadhre gur nvyzragf gung cynthr hf naq chfu njnl qnex guvatf yvxr qrngu naq qvfrnfr. Ur gnhtug zr gung gur shgher pna or nf ovt naq nf oevyyvnag nf gur avtug fxl, ohg bayl vs jr svtug sbe vg. Naq gung’f rknpgyl jung V’yy qb.
Your originals are rated 1-10. My suggested changes are rated 1-10. You might think a change that I suggested is poor - I might agree, and merely think that it is better than what was there, and that you should keep thinking about how to improve it. You might think that a phrasing or idea of yours I changed is good or good enough - I might agree, and merely think mine is an improvement.
My comments are in italics, suggested changes are in plain font.
I am an ideal editor for this because I have not read any of Rowling's books, nor seen the movies.
"Alternate universe" should not be capitalized. I think "alternative universe" is more accessible.
The website fanfiction.net is a legally gray slum of derivative literature, mostly populated by bad versions of popular novels set in alternative universes. 7
Ideally your thinking would reflect that impact isn't a property of stories, but rather a property of story-audience pairs. See mind pr... (read more)
I would recommend using the last lines to tie back into whatever you're applying for.
If it's for a college, mention how you can't wait to learn so you can change the world. If it's for an internship, mention how you'd love to get and how working there will make the world a better place. If it's for a specialist scholarship, mention how your values coincide with their mission. Etc.
Every part of an application should be designed to get you selected.
something other than "burning freezing spiral"
First: you're above-average for an undergraduate already. This is a good essay. My suggestions are quite picky. Most adults can't satisfy me.
You seem motivated. You should definitely ask the opinion of people who are unfamiliar with HPMoR, though. If they don't understand, I'd stick with the answer you believe in, but you should be able to figure out what context you need to provide so that you'll be understood by your average seen-a-few-HP-movies adult.... (read more)
Where are you submitting this to? Be aware that your essay may be run through Turnitin or some other anti-plagiarism software, which may discover this post.
I'm not quite sure, but that very last paragraph might sound rather odd for someone who is not a transhumanist. You may want to make it suitable for "normal" people as well.
Man, I can't stop thinking "Human James Papilloma Evans Virus."
"Iteration" is pretentious in this context (and it means "repetition", so even to be correct it requires the reader to already understand that HP has been "done" numerous times -- something which is perhaps implicit in your first paragraph but certainly not emphasized enough to make this usage appropriate) ; replace with "version".
Replace the semicolon here with a (more forceful) colon.
Too abrupt. You need another sentence:... (read more)
This essay reminds me of several other pieces of writing I've read by LessWrong users. Specifically, it has a certain flavor of "trying-to-retell-something-written-by-Eliezer". Bits of your essay are written in your own style of writing, and bits of it are unquestionably in someone else's style. That other style is very distinctive and nonstandard, and I find it very very jarring when it's not used consistently.
I don't know if I'm more sensitive to this issue because I've read the source material. If so, it might not matter for an admissions essay (and otherwise, I have no major criticisms).
I like it up until the last paragraph, where it feels too grandiose and vague to me. Yes, spreading across the galaxy and ending death are specific things, but what do YOU personally expect to accomplish?. I like the rest of it because it's talking about highly specific, actionable things you have done.
"going to be scientist" -> "going to be a scientist"
I won't say anything about the nitpicky details, you've gotten a lot of good feedback on that already.
Just wanted to chime in and say I love that you're doing your admissions essay on MoR and I think the overall tone is great. Good luck buddy!
I'm realizing how bad I am at modelling a college admissions person. I really have no idea. While many people here may have a more accurate idea of mainstream people than I do, it doesn't sound as though anyone commenting knows a tremendous amount about what the actual practice is likely to be.
Is there any way of getting better information?
One more nitpick - "help guide me" should be just "guide me". The first version implies three agents - one doing the helping, one doing the guiding, and the one whose future is being discussed. There are only two agents really - HJPEV and you.
If "guide me" is too strong a term and you added in "help" to mitigate that, consider alternatives that suggest weaker agency - "show me a possible future" for instance.
Overall I like this a lot. One nitpick:
Replace "indomitability" with "perseverance". First, "indomitability" is just too ugly. Especially if you went out of your way to use that word to avoid repeating "perseverance" twice in rapid succession, go back to your first inclination. There's nothing wrong with repetition, there's a lot wrong with using words that make your writing overwrought.