Posts

[Creative Writing Contest] [Poetry] [Referral] "The Bell-Buoys" 2021-09-14T19:07:30.666Z
[Creative Writing Contest] [Referral] [Poem] Akbar's Bridge 2021-09-14T06:59:23.030Z

Comments

Comment by WSCFriedman on [Creative Writing Contest] [Fiction] [Referral] A Common Sense Guide to Doing the Most Good, by Alexander Wales · 2021-09-20T23:56:27.539Z · EA · GW

My specific worry is about people coming to the conclusion that it is "a problem with EA," or "a problem with consequentialism," instead of "a problem with organizations," and thereby making people who hadn't heard of EA becoming more negatively (instead of more positively) inclined towards it.

Comment by WSCFriedman on [Creative Writing Contest] [Fiction] The Reset Button · 2021-09-20T22:06:36.589Z · EA · GW

I am a writer (though not a published one) and I second his judgement. I felt brief disquiet at the line he commented on, but didn't analyze it until I read his post because the story as a whole had still worked very well for me. I think the change makes a good story better, and I thank both Steve for suggesting it and Joshua for implementing it. 

Comment by WSCFriedman on [Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird · 2021-09-20T22:02:54.676Z · EA · GW

Aaargh I completely did! facepalm

Sorry about that.

Comment by WSCFriedman on [Creative Writing Contest] [Poetry] [Referral] "The Bell-Buoys" · 2021-09-20T22:02:30.874Z · EA · GW

Welcome!

I personally read it as part of Kipling's attempts to deliberately glorify those people who did socially necessary but low-status work, in exactly the same way as he did for soldiers and engineers. In this particular poem, he's anthropomorphizing the bell that does the needed, low-status work of warning ships away from the coast, contrasting it with the one in the church tower, that is considered high-status but isn't doing anything important.

It therefore felt appropriate for the EA contest. :)

Comment by WSCFriedman on [Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird · 2021-09-19T23:27:26.340Z · EA · GW

I am both glad and relieved that you are not greatly offended, as I admit I was worried you would be. If there's anything you can think of that I could say to contribute to the cause if improving the work, I would be happy to provide it. But so far the only things I've thought of, I've already said.

Either way, good luck!

Comment by WSCFriedman on [Creative writing contest] Blue bird and black bird · 2021-09-18T05:52:21.159Z · EA · GW

I'm sorry, but I really felt this was too preachy for me. I don't expect this will apply to everyone else, but my response was to flinch away from the work, rather than enjoy or embrace it.  It felt... I don't know. Trying to examine my feelings, I think it was that it felt like propaganda, not art? I know the point of this is to persuade more than to entertain, but this work of art also felt as if it was more to persuade than to explain; it triggered defense reactions that neither the overt ("Inflation") nor the more narrative ("The Reset Button") high-rated submissions did; my defense reactions against political ads and internet memes, which usually do not apply to narrative, did in this case, and I would probably put down an EA pamphlet without further reading if I saw this entry in it.

I really am sorry, and you should weight all the positive comments more than this negative one. But my reaction was negative, and I can explain why, but not how to fix it.

Comment by WSCFriedman on [Creative Writing Contest] [Referral] [Poem] Akbar's Bridge · 2021-09-17T22:25:40.978Z · EA · GW

The bridge is real. The story is almost certainly fictional.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shahi_Bridge

Comment by WSCFriedman on [Creative Writing Contest] [Fiction] The Reset Button · 2021-09-16T18:32:35.517Z · EA · GW

That was really, really good.

Comment by WSCFriedman on EA Forum Creative Writing Contest: $10,000 in prizes for good stories · 2021-09-16T05:31:09.564Z · EA · GW

Welcome! I'm happy to help.

If you're looking for a compromise solution, stories submitted to the Grantville Gazette Universe Annex (Baen's magazine) are submitted by being posted on a password-protected forum (Baen's Bar) that anyone can get an account for, where readers can critique them, then a subset of those are purchased and professionally published in the magazine. Posting a story on Baen's Bar is generally (some people say explicitly, and it appears to be the consensus unless I'm making a horrible mistake) not considered publication, and stories posted there don't appear in Google searches.

You'd want to do more research into this, but if you're interested, it might provide you a base to work off of.

(Their submission rules; warning, mildly arcane: https://grantvillegazette.com/universe-annex-submissions/ )

Comment by WSCFriedman on EA Forum Creative Writing Contest: $10,000 in prizes for good stories · 2021-09-14T19:34:14.454Z · EA · GW

Thank you!

Comment by WSCFriedman on EA Forum Creative Writing Contest: $10,000 in prizes for good stories · 2021-09-14T18:56:14.688Z · EA · GW

I completely understand your goal, which is very reasonable!

But most publishers consider 'was printed in an obscure magazine that sold ten copies and is now a collector's item, has never been printed since' to be 'printed'. Some people buying reprints are only interested in that kind of obscure thing, but even if it is 'already published obscurely', I still think you won't get much for the reprint.

So although that's an understandable try at a solution, I don't think it succeeds.

Comment by WSCFriedman on EA Forum Creative Writing Contest: $10,000 in prizes for good stories · 2021-09-14T00:42:41.398Z · EA · GW

I actually have another question. I submitted a Kipling poem as a recommendation for the contest. (It's my first post, so it's currently awaiting moderation.) If I find more EA-themed Kipling poems (which, given the poet, would not be surprising), should I add them to the first post, submit them in batches or make individual posts for each of them?

Comment by WSCFriedman on EA Forum Creative Writing Contest: $10,000 in prizes for good stories · 2021-09-14T00:29:42.900Z · EA · GW

Also, completely separate question: should I try to err on the side of submitting or not submitting a marginal work, written either by me or by someone else? How do you want to weight the tradeoff between 'deluged by irrelevant nonsense' and 'people whose work you might be interested in don't submit?'

Comment by WSCFriedman on EA Forum Creative Writing Contest: $10,000 in prizes for good stories · 2021-09-14T00:27:05.981Z · EA · GW

So, I have multiple comments.

First, as an EA person, I want to thank you, because I think this is a great idea, and I very much approve. I think the amazing power of fiction to change people's minds has been an occasional but important force throughout history; the claim that Uncle Tom's Cabin got the abolitionist movement to the mainstream seems historically plausible enough to agree that this is, indeed, a useful thing for the EA movement to do, and one I highly approve of.

But the second is as a SF&F author who tries to get his stories published.

As far as I can tell, the reason most SF&F fiction contests don't use the 'post on forum, award money to best' model is because anything once published becomes a 'reprint',  and reprints can't be sold elsewhere except at for a few places and usually at a 7x markdown, and anything that can show up in Google searches is published. If you send it to the editor's work E-mail address, or post it on a password-protected forum only for authors, it's 'not published'. But here, it's 'published'.

So submitting stories to this content means that I can't sell it anywhere else if it doesn't win the prize, while submitting stories elsewhere I can try, try again.

On the one hand it is probably worth me doing this because I believe in effective altruism and the cost to me is pretty negligible, given that individual short stories don't actually sell for all that much. On the other hand, I think the public posting might mean that the profit motive is pointing in the opposite way from you want.

Comment by WSCFriedman on [Creative Writing Contest] [Fiction] [Referral] A Common Sense Guide to Doing the Most Good, by Alexander Wales · 2021-09-13T22:48:20.590Z · EA · GW

While I like the story, I wouldn't recommend it for the contest, for spoilery reasons. Putting them into ROT13:

Vafgrnq bs bccbfvat Fhcrezna qverpgyl, Yrk Yhgube vasvygengrf gur znffvir RN nccnenghf ohvyg nebhaq hfvat Fhcrezna rssrpgviryl naq trgf n wbo nf Fhcrezna'f cflpuvngevfg, gurerol (nf orpbzrf pyrne va gur raq) nyybjvat uvz gb pbageby uvf jbefg rarzl gb qb uvf jvyy - n pevfvf gung jbhyqa'g unir rkvfgrq vs Fhcrezna unq fhpprffshyyl xrcg n frperg vqragvgl, be fgnlrq orybj gur enqne.

Vafbsne nf gur fgbel unf n zbeny, vg vf gung crbcyr jub qrfver cbjre jvyy frrx gb gnxr pbageby bire nal naq nyy fbheprf bs vg, ertneqyrff bs jung gur cbjre vf ynoryrq nf orvat sbe. Guvf vf n avpr yrffba, ohg V fhfcrpg gung vg vf tbvat gb or ernq nf 'RN [va cnegvphyne] vf ihyarenoyr gb uvwnpxvat ol znyribyrag sbeprf orpnhfr vg vf pbafrdhragvnyvfg, RN naq pbafrdhragvnyvfz ner gurersber obgu onq' juvpu vf abg ernyyl n zrffntr jr jnag gb fcernq.