Notes For Chapter 77

Update 9/19: Epic poster of HPMOR by Zerinity, done by request.

Update 9/22: New Omake in Ch. 64, for “My Little Pony: Friendship is Science”.

Update 11/17: Been busy with a variety of RL stuff, haven’t had much time for dates with my “fourth girlfriend” (as I’ve been thinking of MoR lately). But work continues with a paragraph now and then, and I recently realized that the structural problem with Ch. 78 might be solvable by splitting off a prelude from it. The fic has not been abandoned – I haven’t even gotten to the good parts yet!

Update 12/25: Decided not to split 78. It’s finished at >17,000 words, but I want to finish at least Ch. 79 before publishing anything, because 78 ends on a major cliffhanger. On the plus side, I think the end of Ch. 78 gets us back into the main flow of action again. All of this has taught me a valuable lesson about writing structure, “never recurse more than once” – you can have X happen so that Y can happen, but never have W happen so that X can happen so that Y can happen. Anything worth setting up can be set up in one step.

Update 12/28: Ch. 79 done at 6,700 words. I think I’ll see if I can get this entire arc done before I start posting it – if not, I’ll give up and post before too long, but I’m encouraged by how fast Ch. 79 went.

Update 1/19: Currently working on Ch. 81. I may or may not post 78 when I’m done with 81, but have a strong impression that I had better at least complete Ch. 81 before posting anything. This is due both to the extent that the chapters form a dramatic ‘block’ and the number of backward edits I’ve been making.

I am surprised at the number of people who assume that I am deliberately squatting on these chapters like some sort of evil hoardy dragon bent on causing them personal pain, despite the fact that I am, y’know, nice enough to write the chapters in the first place. Those sorts of yelling, impolite, demanding reviews – you know who you are – don’t make writing more pleasant for me. General life advice: Celeste’s Principle states that you should try to associate a behavior with pleasant, positive, rewarding feelings if you want that behavior to be repeated. Demanding that I release chapters isn’t going to make me stop writing, but it does feel like a small jolt of pain each time I get one and that’s really not what you want me to associate with HPMOR. That’s not blackmail, it’s me genuinely describing how my mind works.

Writing lessons recently learned:

(1) Next time, if ever, that I write a novel, I will know that the reason there is a phrase called “plot bunnies” is that they reproduce out of control if not otherwise restrained, and I will try to put my plot open parens closer to my plot close parens.

(2) Thinking abstractly about the degree of tension that needs to hold in a particular place in the text, was very helpful in letting me see which events couldn’t happen, or needed to happen at a later point. For example, you can’t have a joke, or certain kinds of jokes, while you’re trying to build tension – laughter dissipates tension.

(3) If you’re a fanfiction author and have completed chapters in the pipeline but you’re still working on them or want to post them as a set, don’t tell anyone unless you’re very thick-skinned – there’s a surprisingly large number of vocal readers who will take this as a personal insult, even though many others may be glad for the information.

Update 1/20:  I am amazed at the incredible outpouring of warmth that I’ve gotten over the last two days. Thank you. This is what makes writing rewarding. I will take all your kind words to heart, and not post the arc until it’s properly cooked and finished and ready for a flurry of predictable closely-spaced posts. That’s what I thought most people would want after waiting several months, and the recent flood of reassurance has given me the strength to carry through on it.

Today’s HPMOR words written: 3,800.
Latest chapter with a complete draft: Ch. 81.
Hours past bedtime stayed up before even starting to go to sleep: 1.5.

Update 2/7:  Currently 4,800 words into Ch. 83, the Aftermath (final chapter) of the next story sequence.

You may also have noted that Fanfiction.Net has disabled links in all author profile pages.  As a result I’ve moved the entire content of the author’s profile to, and am seriously considering making it the primary version with as the mirror.

You can also hit the front page of to simultaneously check the latest chapter and latest Note.

Update 2/10:  5,800 words into Ch. 83.  If you’re wondering why this has been going slower lately, one reason is that I’ve been putting a lot of effort into starting a new nonprofit organization that will invent, test, and propagate systematic exercises for improving human sanity.  E.g., not just, “here is the sunk cost fallacy”, but “here are exercises meant to make sure that your brain recognizes sunk costs in real life and chains into three techniques for detaching from them”.

We’re currently hiring people to help invent (and write and test) these exercises.  Apply here.

We need people to help test versions of these exercises as they are being developed.  We actively prefer people who have not read through the Sequences on, since we’re trying to develop exercises for fresh audiences.  We especially need you if you’re in the Bay Area and willing to spend three hours on a Saturday afternoon being a test subject.  Sign up here.

Update 2/28: 8200 words into the final chapter of the next sequence. Moving to Berkeley March 11th, will try hard to start the next sequence posting before that, but I can make no guarantees.