Hi Tulpa. I don’t think we’ve directly spoken, but I’m Sparrow, host of Joss and Temar (among others). I’m not on the guide team, but I do work as a professional technical editor, so my soulbonds and I decided to give this a tackle, since you said you were hoping to really get it polished up.
It… uh… turned into a bit of a lengthy system discussion. See the hidden tags.
Standard disclaimer: This is the opinion of one system. We think a guide like this (one that’s recent and reflects tulpamancy in its current form) would be great to have, and so would like to help guide you on how to make it the best guide possible. Please try not to take any criticism said here personally, and take everything with a grain of salt.
Temar: “This interpretation is false.” Huh. Bold statement. I can’t help but kneejerk against that, unless we missed some big revelation during our last break?
Joss: No evidence. That’d do it.
Felicity: Not so much the lack of evidence as the failure to connect the provided evidence with the statement. It seems to assume a particular definition for “hallucination” without actually explicitly defining the term. It seems to assume that the “hallucination” argument precludes unconscious hallucinations, which has never really struck me to be the case of that argument. Though I suppose that is addressed in the sections that follow?
Joss: Oh boy. This woke Felicity up. This is going to get interesting.
Sparrow: I think the solution to the dissonance in this section is to rename it something other than “hallucination,” since “hallucination” would describe 1.2 and 1.3, as well, when this specifically seems to be talking about something that the tulpamancer is at least semi-conscious of. Maybe “roleplaying” or “pretending” might fit better.
Felicity: That doesn’t seem quite correct either. Really, I would take 1.1 out altogether, at least with regards to having it refer to a theory on the forum...
Joss: Which it’s not, btw. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anyone arguing the sort of tulpamancy theory that these specific points are trying to refute.
Felicity: …and rather have this be a section of known evidence on what evidence there is of tulpamancy as a phenomenon.
Joss: That just complicates things. Just take it out. The idea that “tulpas are hallucinations” can be refuted by “but they can go against the host!” just hurts my brain.
Felicity: Our brain, technically.
Joss: Dammit, Felicity. If you’re going to be this pedantic the whole time, we are never getting through this whole thing.
Sparrow: This section seems more sound.
Temar: Yeah, this is pretty much exactly the sort of thing Felicity and I have argued, with the caveat that we usually add an “if this is the case, no problem! You do you.”
Sparrow: I’m getting stuck on the sentence “This is truly amazing if this theory is true, but it does not disprove anything.” I think because the second part doesn’t follow from the first. Are we trying to disprove anything? What is it implying that we are trying to disprove?
Felicity: Perhaps the idea that this theory is correct? The section’s final paragraph does seem to be looking to disprove the point. Which, while I will agree that the systems who have separate memories, sleep schedules, etc., are fascinating, that does not necessarily disprove the theory stated in this section. Nor does it mean that all tulpamancy systems function in the same way. It could very well be that multiple of these definitions are true across different systems.
Joss: The point is, our suggestion is take out “This doesn’t disprove anything.” Let’s move on.
Sparrow: Oh, and one other thing in the last sentence: “More common in other plurality communities, but most tulpas also claim these abilities.” Can we get a citation or link on that “most?” Was there a poll or something?
Sparrow: “insulting.” That just pinged my subjective-dar, hard. Tulpa, if you’re looking to sound professional here, take that out. Present the argument and let the reader decide if it’s insulting. There’s no room for that in any sort of professional writing.
Felicity: Well, I’ve included such subjectivity in my own guides over at soulbonding.org.
Sparrow: Right, but that’s usually couched with several iterations of “This is my subjective opinion, not fact.” This has no such disclaimers. Also, those guides were somewhat less formal than this is trying to be.
Temar: My red flag here is how casually this section's argument is brushed aside.
Joss: So biased guide is biased?
Temar: Unfortunately, yes. I guess the question is whether Tulpa is trying to create an unbiased guide. If not, perhaps a disclaimer of “this is one tulpa’s opinion” at the top may help, yeah?
Felicity: My quibble here is that it completely brushes aside the debate on what sentience is, which is what many people who advocate this definition are saying. It is certainly a fact that the definition of “sentience” is not so cut-and-dry as this section makes it seem.
Joss: *hits up google* Bam. “Sentient: responsive to or conscious of sense impressions; aware.” So Tulpa’s definition mostly hits the mark.
Felicity: Right, but it discounts what this argument is all about. There is little doubt that tulpas and similar thoughtforms seem to feel things. We certainly seem sentient. But the entire question is whether or not that perceived feeling and awareness is in fact true or illusory. Of course it seems so to us, but it may just be that the unconscious processes that run us simply make it seem that way to our host. Which, as Temar said in 1.2, is not necessarily a problem. We could very well be entirely illusory and still exist legitimately, as that state. Even the mention of endocrinal responses does not discount this theory, and I would say that the “major challenge” that is mentioned is no challenge at all, because it doesn’t do anything to address the reasons why this theory would be sound.
Sparrow: I would also get away from calling sentience an “essential human characteristic.” It’s just so subjective, and I would say that’s probably the most “insulting” part of this entry, because it basically says that systems who subscribe to this theory don’t think their tulpas are people.
Joss: Agreed. The point about switching is weak, too. As someone who switches, I’ll agree that switching is good evidence that something is happening there. But it doesn’t mean either “illusory” theory is wrong… it could just mean that the illusion is driven by something complicated. Which, hey, look at that, tulpas are complicated.
Sparrow: Really, we wouldn't be having nearly so much trouble with all these if they weren’t so clearly subjective. I think Temar’s “disclaimer at the top” idea would alleviate that a lot.
Temar: Heh. Yeah, we are pretty convincing. :)
Felicity: Really, I wouldn’t be surprised if other systems run via parallel processing, so there’s nothing logically unsound about this one. However, I would again like to state that the fact that we are quite active and opinionated in no way discounts the “illusory” theories.
Sparrow: Hrm. I so want to add Oxford commas to this section, but I suppose this isn’t following my publishing style guide, so I’ll leave the lists alone, unless I see something that gets confusing because of it. :p
Joss: Aaaaargh, so biased. This is obviously the one Tulpa believes, and to hell with the other theories. Those are pretty much brushed under the rug compared to how in-depth this one is.
Joss: *Very consciously says nothing*
Sparrow: This guide is covering all theories. It makes sense that there is one on metaphysical theories in here.
Joss: I know. Did you not see me not saying anything?
Felicity: The assertion that tulpas are not demons is unfounded. I understand why such a statement is in there, as it assuages many readers’ fears about tulpas in a spiritual context… but the reasoning is equal in transparency to the reasoning in 1.2 and 1.3. The assertion is simply stated as fact, and then discarded with little thought to the follow-up. This is not how you substantiate an assertion like that. Many different beliefs for how demons behave exist, and among them is the idea that demons could be luring their hosts into a false sense of security.
Joss: Sweet gods, of course tulpas aren’t demons.
Felicity: Well, yes. That seems obvious to us, but we, as a system, are fairly atheistic. To someone who is spiritually oriented and fears that tulpas might be demons, I don’t think this would be convincing at all.
Temar: Yeah, have to agree with Felicity here. I’m the most spiritual of us here right now, and I think she’s right. Because demons are tricky like that, yeah? Heck, what if a demon made Tulpa write that?
Felicity: I think that, what would help for all of these sections is some citation, or at least some points that aren’t so heavily opinionated. My suggestion is that the author search through the forums and find discussions on all these. Take the best points from each argument, and present them. Then, take the best points refuting each argument, and present those too (yes, even for 1.4!). Don’t offer any commentary; simply present the points clearly and objectively, and let the readers make up their own minds about which theory seems most likely.
Sparrow: Agreed. This reads like an argument for Why Parallel Processing is Correct Always and Forever, not a tulpamancy guide. Tulpa, if you want this to sound professional, do what Felicity suggests in the paragraph above mine. Sections 1.1-1.5 would be much better for it.
Sparrow: “Trashy”… ping! Subjective-dar goes off again!
Joss: You should really get that thing recalibrated for this document. I have a feeling it’s going to go off a lot.
Sparrow: I also notice that “Tibet” is lowercase in the first paragraph. This is the first actual error, so the guide is really good on the grammar and spelling so far!
Joss: “importation”… that sounds weird. Is that a word? *looks it up.” Huh. Apparently it is.
Sparrow: “woefully”… ping!
Joss: Okay, yeah, I’m recalibrating it.
Sparrow: Don’t you dare touch that.
Temar: The phrase “or something like that.” Thoughts, Sparrow?
Sparrow: Honestly? Not something you put in a final draft of any sort of professional document. If you’re uncertain of a fact like this, you need to go out and do the research. Section 1 is about defining Tulpas, and the Buddhist definition is important to the history of the phenomenon. There should not be a phrase like “or something like that” on something so critical as a definition. Also not professional? The word “stuff.” XD
Joss: I think we’ve established by now that this is an opinion piece, not an objective, holistic guide on all things tupper.
Sparrow: Ah, maybe you’re right. I’d love for it to be a bit more objective, though. We really need something like that on this forum.
Felicity: Ooh, look! A link to more information! That’s wonderful!
Sparrow: It could do without the word “tenuous,” though. Okay, next paragraph… odd to see “eighteen hundreds” spelled out. In most style guides, this would be 1800s or 1800’s… my work’s style guide follows the former, but both are correct. Spelling it out like that, particularly for the time period, is a little distracting. Also, is this document following British or American English style? “Flavours” is specifically the British spelling (as opposed to "flavors")… nothing wrong if it’s British English… you just want to make sure that, whichever you follow, it stays consistent throughout the document.
Joss: Oh sweet gods, that first paragraph. I’m not sure whether to laugh or hit something.
Felicity: Um, please don’t.
Sparrow: I’ll address it. The idea that science is biased toward atheism is, at best, a stereotype, and at worst, factually incorrect. Some of the most well-known scientists in the world are religious. For example, Ken Miller, one of the most respected biologists in the world, is a Christian. Granted, there is an appearance of anti-religious bias in science, and that is because 1) most of the top atheists are, in fact, scientists, or otherwise use science to support their claims; and 2) because science is a process that is specifically designed to weed out personal bias and unsubstantiated claims as they are reflected in the natural world. That’s what peer review is for. The fact is that religious claims are never able to be verified through repeatable tests. Trust me, if a scientist could prove the existence of the supernatural, they would win the Nobel Prize… but whether you believe in the spiritual or not, the scientific process is simply not designed to comment on the supernatural by virtue of what the supernatural is.
Joss: You would say that. Atheist scum.
Sparrow: I am an atheist, and one that spends a lot of time considering theology. I’d be happy to discuss this further, if Tulpa wants. For now, my biggest suggestion is to wipe out the first paragraph of this section. The only reason it exists seems to be to soapbox. You know, like I just did? See how pleasant that sort of thing is to read? ;)
Felicity: More to the point, the bias does not preclude the idea that tulpas are real. As stated, our bonder is an atheist and a skeptic, and even so she has accepted that, in some form, we exist. Really, the first sentence of the second paragraph states it correctly: “All beliefs are false until proven true.” That is precisely what skepticism is, and it is not a bad thing. The fact that you then assume that all skeptics will therefore assume mental illness discounts theories 1.2-1.4, which are all entirely skeptic-friendly!
Joss; The point is, drop the over-generalizations about what the scientific “stigmas” are. It makes you look bad.
Sparrow: In other news, I am seeing consistently British spelling. Good to know. :) One punctuation edit: remove the comma in the following sentence: “Famous and extreme conditions in this family are Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder).” You don’t need a comma in a list of two items.
Temar: I’d take out the sentence “It has a few problems, though,” in the part about DID. It makes it sound like the existence of the diagnosis of DID is incorrect, when that’s just not true for many people, and it’s not really what the paragraph is saying, either. Just to remain sensitive to those people who do have DID in the disorderly way, you know?
Sparrow: Decapitalize “Aliens” in the paragraph about psychosis. Also, “irrelevant”… ping! I’d also put the following sentence in em-dashes, like so: “However, no matter what sense you modify--voice, touch, or vision--it won't match what psychologists are looking for, by itself.”
Joss; I have to say: this seems like a good section. It’s simple, but fairly comprehensive.
Temar: You’re just happy soulbonds are mentioned. ;)
Joss: Damn straight.
Sparrow: Let’s see… In the Dream Forms section, close up “tulpa-like” with a hyphen. In the Alter section, you have the seemingly contradictory sentences “These folks usually can just switch. They can usually switch easily…” You might want to clarify those. Again, close up “tulpa-like” in the angels section. If you’re going to use single quotations around ‘accidental tulpa,’ make sure to do the same for ‘soulbond.’ Again again, close up “tulpa-like” in the Imaginary Friends section. I might also consider adding a sentence or two on “other thoughtforms,” just to cover all your bases. You no doubt remember certain thoughtforms who have had difficulty in the past defining what they were. ;)
Felicity: This is good! This is precisely the sort of acknowledgement of differences I was hoping to see earlier. ^_^
Sparrow: I feel like the two models in the second paragraph (“the one mind several identities model” and “the one head, several minds model”) need something. Quotes? Hyphens? Title caps? This just looks weird to me, as-is.
Temar: Heh. Pretty clear which model we are, yeah?
Sparrow: Though it’s weird. I wouldn’t say I’m any sort of “primary thinker.” Like, the brain is definitely processing you guys on a single rail, but assuming I'm the "primary thinker" makes it sound like you guys don’t have thoughts. It’s more like… the brain is a shared system, and we’re all using the same processor that isn’t necessarily tied to one single person. Hm. Anyway, back to nit-picking…
Joss: This entire post is nit-picking.
Sparrow: “Faculties and facilities”… why use both of those words? “Faculties” works just fine.
Felicity: I would debate the use of “open system” and “closed system” in this section. Are these established phrases in the community? Because those are already terms that are used for something entirely different, and which could apply to tulpamancy in an entirely different way using their original definitions. For example, an “open system” is one where information or some other resource is coming in. Most countries, for example, are open systems, as they have trade and interactions with other countries. Meanwhile, our solar system is a “closed system” in that, even though it exists within a larger universe, nothing new really comes into it or leaves it… it functions completely independently without outside input. These terms could very well be applied in psychological contexts, so I would caution against using them to mean something other than their accepted definitions.
Temar: I also feel like we have to debate the part where it says time “promotes growth toward the second model.” I mean, yeah, we can’t speak for all old systems, but ours hasn’t really made any progress in that direction, and I wouldn't want it to. Do other old systems have that different an experience?
Felicity: That claim is unsubstantiated, basically?
Temar: Yeah, guess so.
Joss: By the Gates, one section took two hours.
Temar: Heh. Faith versus Doubt. Really hits home for us.
Joss: And right off the bat, I have to disagree. Doubt is not a matter of disrespect. Tulpa, would please you stop generalizing?
Sparrow: This time, your subjective-dar went off. :)
Joss: When Sparrow doubts us, it is not a sign of disrespect. It is a sign of an active, curious mind that wants the world to line up as close to reality as possible. It’s natural to doubt something that is so subjective and heavy on personal experience. It’s an acknowledgement that humans are fallible and prone to bias, so it’s basically the mind checking whether the world around them is the way they think it is. Honestly, I find the implication that I would find healthy skepticism disrespectful insulting.
Temar: Easy. It’s not meant that way. It’s clearly written for the benefit of the feelings of the potential tulpa. We have the privilege of being pretty strong and well-established, remember?
Felicity: “A tulpa usually becomes sentient, or sapient, sometime in the first two weeks.” Please cite some sources on this. This statement strikes me as heavily influenced by confirmation bias, and it certainly was not so fast in past years! I’m sure there must be a poll on tulpa.info about this. If it corroborates your claims, please link it.
Temar: Heh. “The anxiety caused by trying to believe and failing usually causes more problems than not believing.” Not going to argue with that.
Sparrow: Wait. Is it just me, or does this section have conflicting paragraphs? “I'd say the best rule of thumb here is that belief is not important. It is an unsubstantiated rumour that those who believe get faster results,” and then “Having faith in your tulpa, really believing it is already there, has time and again proven to lead to faster tulpas.” Those are directly conflicting statements.
Felicity: Hm… I’m assuming one of them has been worded unclearly. I would suggest revising the wording to be more precise?
Sparrow: Next one... “You can doubt less by trying to believe less.” …I don’t think that’s how it works?
Temar: I think there’s a case for it. I think Tulpa’s talking about being less invested in whether or not it’s true… less investment = less worry in whether you believe it or not.
Sparrow: Guess so. Now, corrections… “and thus preventing them from forming”… “and thus” is an odd construction in that context. I’d strip out the “and.” “So what do you do.” should have a question mark. In the next paragraph, remove the comma after “sensations.” “This is rather tricky, and can require practising free writing and meditation the both.”… the use of “the both” is either a typo or an archaic construction that could muddle things. I’d remove it.
Joss: To be fair, point number 4, about false positives? That's dead on the bullseye. It drives me nuts when I see people doing that.
Joss: Interesting that a martial art is the first suggestion. Huh. Not really where I’d have gone with it, but I guess it works.
Temar: I do really like the part about throwing perfectionism out the window. It’s so true. There’s no right way to have a tulpa. Spot on. : )
Joss: Ha ha, oh gods, the mention of out-of-control tulpas. I have dealt with so many of those on various forums.
Sparrow: Any thoughts about this section, then?
Joss: Honestly? It’s pretty good. I mean, it’s obviously more complicated than that when one does get malevolent… but that’s not something they’ll be checking this guide for, so yeah. As an overview? This works.
Temar: Love the emphasis on trust.
*All look at Joss*
Joss: What? I can be fun!
Sparrow: To be fair, this isn’t really about that anyway. And I think we subscribe pretty strongly to the philosophy in this section, right?
Temar: Hell yeah, we do. If you’re not having fun forcing, then you’re gonna see your tulpa as a chore, not a gift. Bad times all around.
Sparrow: And just one nitpick: “going well,” not “going good.” :)
Joss: I’m starting to see why Tulpa001 makes a distinction between “tulpa” and “character.” I don’t agree, but I see it. Still think it’s ridiculous to think that “character” and “tulpa” are mutually exclusive. I’m both, and trying to make some sort of arbitrary distinction between them is just… weird.
Felicity: Though excepting the specific terms used, the distinction is sound and the point is important to make, I think. There is a functional difference between a basic character and a fully realized, autonomous thoughtform. Further, if not the term “character,” then what term should Tulpa use? No other term conveys the point nearly as succinctly!
Joss: …Okay, fine. That’s true. I still object to the idea that a character gaining sentience somehow makes them stop being a character, though.
Felicity: Which we can likely attribute to a difference of terms between the soulbond and tulpa communities. And as this is a tulpa guide, we must use their terms.
Joss: Fair enough.
*All burst out laughing*
Joss: Okay, yeah, that “Did you just skip to this chapter” thing? Brilliant.
Felicity: If anything, I would add a small call to action after that line, prompting them to go back and read sections 1 or 2, in case they missed something important!
Felicity: Ooh, there’s that call to action! I do think it would be better under the section header, though. ^_^
Temar: “So will only take on a personality that you could conceivably have had if you had different life experiences.” Thoughts?
Joss: I’d say it’s true. Yeah, the parameters are different, but we’re all running on the same logic.
Felicity: I’m a bit less convinced. What about outsourced soulbonds? They copy a previously established personality.
Joss: Yeah, through their bonder’s interpretation of that personality. Still the bonder's logic. I’m calling this one good.
Sparrow: Though it is a very sentence fragment-y sentence fragment. I might remove the period on the previous sentence and join that one to this one with a comma.
Joss: “Sentence fragment-y.” The professional editor, everyone.
Felicity: I am a bit cautious about, “They will usually embrace their starting personality and not change much.” Is this true for tulpas?
Temar: I think the “usual” covers the bases there. Though it might be a good idea to put it up to a poll, just to be sure.
Sparrow: Ooh, ooh! I found an Oxford comma! “They may not want to try cooking, cleaning, and washing the body.” This comma use is officially inconsistent!
Joss: They’re commas. No one cares.
Temar: “The good news is you will probably love them so much at that point that you will let them just do whatever.” A great sentiment, but if we’re going for professional quality here, that “whatever” has gotta go. XD
Sparrow: Or add a “they want” to the end.
Joss: Like I said, this is an opinion piece, not a technical paper on the difference in the chemical compositions of different kinds of barley. Besides, it matches the semi-conversational tone of the rest of the guide. I say leave it as-is.
Sparrow: That third paragraph had a lot of sentence fragments. Note that those work fine in a conversational piece, but if you want your guide to be “professional,” these and many other sentence fragments would have to be cleaned up and incorporated into full sentences; subjects, verbs, and all.
Felicity: Overall, we cannot speak much of these forcing guides, given our nature as a soulbond system. Perhaps we should skip ahead?
Sparrow: But… grammatical errors!
Joss: You have fun with that. I’m taking a break.
Temar: There’s that “two weeks” figure again. I’m a bit worried about that number: it seems really low. Do tulpas really take that fast these days? For some people, it takes months, even years. I'm seeing a lot of young tulpamancers who read this getting discouraged after 15 days, is all.
Felicity: Assuming the first instance of that "two weeks to speaking" figure is cited, the second would be properly established without issue. ^_^
Sparrow: Ha. “Every positive trait has some sort of downside.” This is exactly what I’m always saying in writer forums. :)
Temar: “Please don't be that guy with the tsundere tulpa who completely abuses him.” Heh.
Joss: Okay, I can feel that.
Temar: I thought you were taking a break?
Joss: I do not abuse anyone, come on. Anyway, isn’t tsundere a trope that applies to female characters only?
Temar: I didn’t say anything. No idea why you’re getting so defensive. : )
Sparrow. Guys. Focus.
Joss: This seems like a really long section. Think it would do with breaking up into subsections, like 2.1?
Temar: *shrug* It’s a complicated subject. Better to be thorough, yeah?
Felicity: I would contend with the phrase “Your tulpa definitely need a form.” I seem to recall there have been instances of people who do not or cannot assign a form, correct?
Temar: Yeah, especially among people with poor visualization skills. What was the condition, where you have very little or no visual imagination?
Joss: Point’s good, though. I think this would do with a rewording: “I highly recommend your tulpa have a form” or “Most tulpas need a form,” or something like that.
Temar: Yeah, that works.
Sparrow: “cooler”… ping!
Joss: I thought the subjective-dar was turned off.
Sparrow: That instance was particularly egregious.
Temar: Stamp of approval on the parroting and puppeting section. It’s kinda interesting, how views on that have changed over the life of the site.
Felicity: Though it doesn’t really go in-depth on how to properly parrot and puppet… it simply says “this is something you can do. Make sure to stop when you need to.” Not particularly informative.
Temar: Eh. There are other guides for that. No reason to clutter up this one.
Sparrow: “centring”… how is that the correct way to spell that word? Friggin Brits, man. You also need to capitalize “Spend” in “spend one half on one exercise, and the other half on another.” I’d also take out the “or something” in your last line… not just because it’s very casual, but also because it actually has less impact than just writing it “Also, don't feel you need to do them all.”
Joss: Now this one, we know something about.
Temar: I would argue that upgraded characters are not necessarily constant. Sure, we’re a bit stickier than tulpas, but we do change some after gaining sentience. I know I’ve changed a lot from what I used to be on the page.
Joss: This is about what happens in general, though, not to specific cases. You’re kind of a special case.
Temar: You’ve changed too. You’re from a fantasy world, and yet, a couple pages ago, you used a computer programming metaphor.
Joss: Still every bit the asshole I was in my stories, though. Point: me.
Temar: I would also like to quibble about the “For unknown reasons” part about retained memories. For those of us who have this, the reasons are known: it’s because they did happen to us, in the Wonderland. See, every part of our backstory is usually, at some point, either acted out or sketched out in the Wonderland. This means that we keep the experiential memories, even if it’s not something that happened to us in the real world. Like how other tulpas remember things that happened to them in the Wonderland, yeah? But, uh… I guess that would be a lot to put in that little section.
Joss: I’d still take out the phrase “For unknown reasons,” though.
Felicity: We do not have much to say here, so onward we go! ^_^
Joss: Ha ha, cue two hours of me saying “Don’t you dare touch that cookie” over and over again.
Sparrow: It’s true. My willpower is awful. ;-;
Sparrow: *Instantly starts internally singing the Disney song*
*Joss and Temar both groan*
Joss: Why is this still a thing that happens?! It’s been years.
Sparrow: In all seriousness, I’d put quotes around “why me”
Joss: I’d also say this is less of a tulpamancy related thing and more of a life skill. This is something I have Sparrow do all the time for stress management. Not sure why it’s in a tulpamancy guide.
Temar: It’s also not particularly helpful for people who have anxiety problems, like Sparrow has. Part of anxiety is that you can’t just let stuff go. That’s pretty much what anxiety is.
Joss: *snort* “Familiarise yourself with your tool.”
Sparrow: What are you, 12?
Joss: Technically, I’m 8.
Felicity: I’d like a link for “all day awareness” please. ^_^
Sparrow: “Pre forcing” should be closed up, either as “pre-forcing” or “preforcing.” Both of the latter are correct. Also, my dumb American brain keeps reading “centring” as “cent-ring.” ;-;
Felicity: This is actually not bad as a visualization exercise, on top of being a meditation technique!
Sparrow: Ditto on the “pre-forcing”/”preforcing” thing. Be consistent with it! I’ve also spotted some doubled words (“They can also help if you if you are stuck getting started.”) Also also, “But for are purpose” should be “But for our purpose.”
Joss: “Still, if you are lazy, and I totally know you are, you are going to try and meditate lying down in bed, you slacker.” On the one hand, I enjoy a little humor in my gigantic guides on how to do complex tasks. On the other hand… this is really out of left field. It’s out of place in, like, three different ways, particularly the part where it throws a wink and a nudge at a reader who is reading this for information and may not be very receptive to this kind of humor. It’s a fast way to lose readers. Personally, I’d turn this self-deprecating. Like, “If you’re lazy, like me, you’ll meditate lying on a bed.”
Sparrow: “What is causing it.” should have a question mark. Unless it’s like that stylistically, to match the cadence of meditation? Then it’s fine. I also noticed an odd switch to first person in “I'm thinking about thinking.” Should that be “You’re thinking about thinking.” ? That would match the rest of the section better.
Sparrow: “Remember what it is like to become tired. To become more awake.” Why is that split into two sentences? Most of your sentence fragments make sense, conversationally, but this one doesn’t. Make it “Remember what it is like to become tired to become more awake.” Then… “Oddly, clicking up into hyperalertness tends to wake us both up.” …Who is “us both” here? That seems like it’s copy-pasted from a different conversation, unless you’re talking about you and your host? In which case, preface it with that: “Oddly, for my host and myself, clicking up…” otherwise, it’s hard to follow that train of thought.
Joss: I’m getting impatient with all these “preparatory” exercises, and I’m not even doing them.
Temar: Tulpamancy is a long, careful process. It takes a lot of control over one’s thoughts.
Joss: Thank the gods we’re soulbonds.
Felicity: This section begins with the phrase “No it’s not sexual,” as if there were something that would have prompted us to think that immediately previous, but I can see nothing. Neither the exercise title, nor its descriptors, evoke any sort of sexual connotations, so that beginning seems out of place.
Joss: Heh. Tool.
Felicity: I would recommend revising this statement to, “It’s not sexual”… Removing “No” removes the implication that the reader was somehow assuming sexuality in this exercise, when they probably were not.
Temar: Honestly, we know nothing about ASMR, so who’s to say the phrase alone didn’t trigger immediate spontaneous orgasms to the well-informed?
Felicity: I hardly think the concept is that well-known outside the community. Not to a newcomer, certainly.
Temar: Yeah, fair point.
Sparrow: Ugh, that list in the second-to-last paragraph should really be separated by semi-colons. It is so hard to look past all these sentence fragments, blargh.
Joss: “Read about something that happened to someone,” huh? No guidance? Suggestions? Tips? Just… “Read a thing about a person?” Huh.
Sparrow: “Day-to-day” is usually hyphenated.
Felicity: Hee. Admittedly, I read “Do not sit anywhere with any distracting lights, like the sun, or distracting sounds, like friends,” as “Do not sit anywhere with distracting lights, like on the sun.” Might I suggest a rephrase? Perhaps something like “Do not sit anywhere with any distracting lights, like in the sunlight, or distracting sounds, like friends,” may work better?
Sparrow: I’d add an “of” to “See out that camera.” I think that, in the U.K., how it’s written is technically correct… but it is a very exclusively British way to phrase it. “See out of that camera” is far more universal.
Joss: So… if you need a script, get a script, but then throw it out? It strikes me that the people who need the script might actually, you know, need the script.
Felicity: I suggest a simple fix. Instead of suggesting “borrow a script” if someone is not good at improv, suggest they take a scenario from a movie, book, or TV show, or use writing prompts that are online! The last is particularly powerful, as it gives the person a situation without filling in the rest of the scene for them, which is something of the point. ^_^
Sparrow: “Focus on skeleton” is a bit awkward if you don’t know what turn of phrase the author is using. I suggest “focus on the skeleton.”
Felicity: We’ve done this before! This is a basic anatomy exercise, and is used in art classes to aid in drawing living organisms. Quite useful to have as a skill, and I can see how it would relate to visualization of a tulpa.
Joss: My biggest thing here is that this is a tactile imposition thing. That’s a pretty advanced technique, right? Why do they need to know this now, before they start?
And that is about as far as we got before I started crashing for the night. Here are a couple final thoughts from the team on what we saw so far:
Joss: Generalizations, especially in the first two sections, are way out of hand. I like you, Tulpa, but you have got to stop dismissing entire ideas or groups of people out of hand. Setting out to disprove someone or something wrong is fine, but when you do that, you have to account for all angles and subtleties of what they're actually saying, otherwise you don't really disprove anything but a straw-man argument that no one was talking about anyway.
Felicity: My biggest suggestion would be to add evidence for everything. If you make an assertion, back it up! This site has an abundance of polls, and articles, and experiential anecdotes. Use those to add links and citations! Researching is a lot of work, I know, but the result is that you come to a much more informed conclusion about the topic, rather than just relying on personal experience and observation-related guesses. You mentioned confirmation bias in your guide, so flip through the forums and prove all your points correct, simply to prove you never fell prey to it. ^_^
Temar: I do like the parts where you started getting into building the tulpa. Most of those seemed pretty strong, and you accounted for the variety of different ways to do it. Great job there. Also, that "Did you skip to this section?" thing was great.
Sparrow: Mechanically speaking, you're doing really great! A couple nitpicky errors and inconsistencies throughout, but, honestly, we've probably had more errors in this post than you did in that massive guide. As far as grammar, spelling, and punctuation goes, it's fairly well polished. :)
That said, in my professional opinion? This would not pass muster in a professional environment, mostly for the reasons Felicity stated three paragraphs up: when you assert something that is not well-established fact, you need to cite your sources.
I know this is a lot to take in, and the above discussions are pretty raw in their wording, as far as criticism goes. Our apologies if any of this comes across as hurtful… this is the sort of process that I apply at my technical editing job: every sentence and detail really is scrutinized this much, and it doesn’t help when you have three other people there to pick apart their personal bugbears, too. We do not expect you to make every single change discussed here: that is why we've presented it as the discussion it was, so you can see the points and counterpoints and make your decisions from there.
Feel free to avoid me and the boys for a while, if it helps. I write too, so I know how hard it is to take criticism on something you've worked so hard on. It's not fun.
Let us know if you want us continue doing this.