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#1 2002-08-19 14:01:18

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: Template letter - Download the Word doc here

[b:post_uid1]If you haven't read the Instructions for Volunteers yet, please do so now.[/b:post_uid1]

[b:post_uid1]Download a Word file of this template. Please use the Word file as it has the correct formatting and graphics.[/b:post_uid1] Remember that you will have to change the page layout to whatever your size of printing paper is. Try to adjust the margins to that everything fits on one page.

[b:post_uid1]You can customise this letter to a certain extent.[/b:post_uid1] If you are writing to (say) an astronaut, you could change the [i:post_uid1]'Today, we are seeking your opinion...'[/i:post_uid1] paragraph to include something about that. For example, it might read, [i:post_uid1]'Today, we are seeking your opinion as a well known NASA astronaut and scientist.'[/i:post_uid1] Do not go overboard on changes though! Just adding a sentence or two to that part is good enough.

[b:post_uid1]Do not send this letter off to anyone before consulting the list![/b:post_uid1]


Dear (insert name),

The first words spoken from the surface of Mars will echo for centuries. Those words will inspire and thrill billions, along with those historic words spoken by Neil Armstrong in July of 1969. People remember those first words in a way that they remember little else.

Today, we are seeking your opinion. What words would you most wish to hear from that man or woman who takes humanity's first steps onto another planet? What words best capture your vision for the future of the human race? The first person to set foot on Mars is already alive; with the continuing strides being made by NASA and ESA, a human mission could occur within the next twenty years.

In anticipation of this event and to increase international awareness of space and Mars exploration, the Mars Society is launching First Words, an online competition for World Space Week (October 4th-10th) and inviting visitors to submit what they think the first words on Mars will be. Our website, www.newmars.com/firstwords, will offer original educational articles about Mars and also showcase the ‘first words’ of prominent world figures.

We have written to you as we believe your opinion and your suggestions for First Words will matter to a great many people.

You can submit as much or as little as you wish, from a single phrase to an entire essay. We offer five competition categories including Most Historic, Most Humorous, Most Original, In Five Words and Out of Context; more information about the categories is available on our website.

You can email us your ‘first words’ to mywords@newmars.com or write to us at:

Adrian Hon
Trinity College
Cambridge University
CB2 1TQ    IL 60515
UK

or

First Words
P.O. Box 1053
Downers Grove
IL 60515
USA

Feel free to provide commentary about your ‘first words’ in any email or letter. We hope to hear from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

(your name)
First Words, www.newmars.com/firstwords



The Mars Society is an international non-profit organization advocating the exploration and settlement of Mars. With a rapidly expanding membership of over 2000 scientists, educators, space professionals and advocates, members include many well-known personalities, including Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 astronaut and Dr. Geoff Briggs, director of the Center for Mars Exploration at NASA Ames Research Center. Find out more about the Mars Society at www.marssociety.org. Volunteers from the New Mars magazine of the Mars Society (www.newmars.com) are specifically responsible for the First Words project.



Edited By Adrian on Sep. 07 2002 at 00:53


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#2 2002-08-21 22:15:13

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Template letter - Download the Word doc here

Adrian - you did invite comments. That was too difficult so I have disobeyed your suggestion and given you another version. If any of it appeals to you, cut and paste away.

One comment - your version sells too little 'snake oil' - - we need to persuade Mr./Ms. Famous Person that they can benefit from sending in an entry. IMHO, as always big_smile

Dear Famous Person:

The first words spoken from the surface of the planet Mars will echo for centuries. Those words will inspire and thrill billions now living and billions yet to come. Such words will echo through time side by side with the words spoken by Neil Armstrong in July of 1969.

Today, we are seeking [b:post_uid0]your[/b:post_uid0] opinion. What words would [b:post_uid0]you[/b:post_uid0] most wish to hear from that man or woman who takes humanity's [i:post_uid0]first steps[/i:post_uid0] onto another planet. What words best capture [b:post_uid0]your[/b:post_uid0] vision for the future of the human race?

I am a volunteer with the [i:post_uid0]First Words[/i:post_uid0] project - a Mars Society contribution to World Space Week. Tell us your suggestions for the first words spoken on Mars. Entries will be published on the Web and prizes awarded in a variety of categories.

The first words spoken on the Moon were heard around the world and inspired a generation with the spirit of international co-operation. People remember those first words in a way that they remember little else.

Most scientists believe that the person who will actually speak the first words on Mars has already been born. Perhaps that person will read the entries to this contest and be inspired to pursue a career in space. Perhaps [b:post_uid0]your[/b:post_uid0] words will be [b:post_uid0]the[/b:post_uid0] words that made the difference to that talented young person. Perhaps [b:post_uid0]you[/b:post_uid0] will be remembered by a man or woman who is destined to become a genuine hero to every man, woman and child living on our planet.

In anticipation of World Space Week (October 4th - 10th) and to increase international awareness of space and Mars exploration, the Mars Society has initiated this [i:post_uid0]First Words[/i:post_uid0] event. The [i:post_uid0]First Words[/i:post_uid0] website (www.newmars.com/firstwords) contains original articles about Mars which are educational, entertaining and inspiring. The website will also showcase the ‘first words’ of luminaries [prominent world figures?], such as yourself, and we will endeavor to publish the best submissions as widely as possible.

We have written to you as we believe your opinion and your suggestions for [i:post_uid0]First Words[/i:post_uid0] will matter to a great many people.

You can submit as much or as little as you wish, from a single phrase or sentence to an entire essay. It can be serious, or not. We do offer several competition categories such as Most Historic, Most Humorous, Most Original, In Five Words or Less, and Out of Context.

For more information about the categories, please visit our website.

You can email [b:post_uid0][i:post_uid0]your[/b:post_uid0][/i:post_uid0] ‘first words’ to mywords@newmars.com or you can write to: [/quote:post_uid0]

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#3 2002-08-21 23:05:46

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Template letter - Download the Word doc here

I am a volunteer with the First Words project - a Mars Society contribution to World Space Week. Tell us your suggestions for the first words spoken on Mars. Entries will be published on the Web and prizes awarded in a variety of categories.[/quote:post_uid0]

I have reservations about this.

Luminaries may well feel that responding to a "volunteer" is beneath their status as a luminary - I don't talk to your people, only my people talk to your people.

Give every letter writer a fancy but meaningless title or do away with this first sentence altogether.

Fame - recognition - ego stroking IMHO that is what will work with luminaries.

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#4 2002-08-22 06:01:02

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: Template letter - Download the Word doc here

You hit it on the head - I wasn't too sure about the volunteer thing either, but couldn't think of what else to replace it with. The answer: nothing, I guess.

A few general comments: I'm absolutely convinced that the letter *must* be only one side long for everything - not only does it make it a lot more likely to be read by the recipient, but it makes things easier and cheaper for the people sending them. Also, size 12 Times New Roman - nice, readable and respectable. So the length has to be short.

Perhaps that person will read the entries to this contest and be inspired to pursue a career in space. Perhaps your words will be the words that made the difference to that talented young person. Perhaps you will be remembered by a man or woman who is destined to become a genuine hero to every man, woman and child living on our planet. [/quote:post_uid0]

I agree about snake-oil and everything Bill, but this really is going way too far smile I don't think this bit will be believed by most readers. However:

We have written to you as we believe your opinion and your suggestions for First Words will matter to a great many people. [/quote:post_uid0]

This is a damned good line. I really like it; it inflates their ego in a not-too-obvious manner. We can even tailor-make it for different types of people, e.g. politicians, actors, authors, etc. Nice. This bit is good as well:

Today, we are seeking your opinion. What words would you most wish to hear from that man or woman who takes humanity's first steps onto another planet. What words best capture your vision for the future of the human race?[/quote:post_uid0]

But like I've said, I think we need to cut it down to one side. I'm going to work on it for a bit and repost an updated letter in a bit.


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#5 2002-08-22 07:58:16

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: Template letter - Download the Word doc here

I'm quite pleased with the latest draft, but we still need to lose a few lines to save space...


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#6 2002-08-22 08:28:24

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Template letter - Download the Word doc here

A few general comments: I'm absolutely convinced that the letter *must* be only one side long for everything - not only does it make it a lot more likely to be read by the recipient, but it makes things easier and cheaper for the people sending them. Also, size 12 Times New Roman - nice, readable and respectable. So the length has to be short.
[/quote:post_uid0]

Absolutely YES! to all the above.

As for bits of my suggestion going "over the top" - I agree.

Sometimes I try to go to extremes, to explore the emotional terrain so to speak, and then pull back through editing. . .

But sometimes hyperbole can be a good thing.  tongue

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#7 2002-08-23 15:20:23

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: Template letter - Download the Word doc here

Just went and cut out some little bits from the letter; it's practically at the ideal length, although it could stand to lose make a half a dozen or so words. I think it's nearing 'release' stage - anyone have any comments?


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#8 2002-09-02 12:58:24

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: Template letter - Download the Word doc here

I've updated the template letter - this is now the final draft! If there are no negative comments in the next 24 hours, this is what we'll be sending to people. I'll then put up a Word document of the letter for those posting them, and a modified template for emails.


Editor of New Mars

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#9 2002-09-02 14:05:03

Bill White
Member
Registered: 2001-09-09
Posts: 2,114

Re: Template letter - Download the Word doc here

Dear (insert name),

The first words spoken from the surface of Mars will echo for centuries. Those words will inspire and thrill billions, sitting side by side with the words spoken by Neil Armstrong in July of 1969. People remember those first words in a way that they remember little else.

Today, we are seeking your opinion. What words would you most wish to hear from that man or woman who takes humanity's first steps onto another planet? What words best capture your vision for the future of the human race? The first person to set foot on Mars is already alive; with the continuing strides being made by NASA and ESA, a human mission could occur within the next twenty years.

In anticipation of this event and to increase international awareness of space and Mars exploration, the Mars Society is launching First Words, an online competition for World Space Week (October 4th-10th) and inviting visitors to submit what they think the first words on Mars will be. Our website, www.newmars.com/firstwords, will offer original educational articles about Mars and also showcase the ‘first words’ of prominent world figures.

We have written to you as we believe your opinion and your suggestions for First Words will matter to a great many people.

You can submit as much or as little as you wish, from a single phrase to an entire essay. We offer five competition categories including Most Historic, Most Humorous, Most Original, In Five Words and Out of Context; more information about the categories is available on our website.

You can email us your ‘first words’ to mywords@newmars.com or write to us at:[/quote:post_uid0]

Comments:

[b:post_uid0]2nd sentence:[/b:post_uid0]

While re-reading I now suggest that "sitting" is just the wrong image to pursue. . .

What about:  "along with those words spoken by Neil Armstrong" or "side by side with those words"  or "together with"

Ideas, anyone?

[b:post_uid0]3rd sentence[/b:post_uid0]

Change "in a way that they" to "as they"

?

[b:post_uid0]3rd paragraph - 1st sentence[/b:post_uid0]

Make 2 sentences ". . .  - October10th). We invite. . ."

?

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#10 2002-09-02 16:08:34

Adrian
Moderator
From: London, United Kingdom
Registered: 2001-09-04
Posts: 642
Website

Re: Template letter - Download the Word doc here

For the second sentence, we can do "side by side with those words" (i.e. remove the word 'sitting').

I'm not sure about your correction for the 3rd sentence - I liked the way you put it originally and using 'as they' diminshes from the impact, IMHO.

We definitely have to do something about the 3rd paragraph, yeah - that first sentence runs on for far too long. How about this?

In anticipation of this event and to increase international awareness of space and Mars exploration, the Mars Society is launching First Words, an online competition for World Space Week (October 4th-10th). Visitors will be invited to submit what they think the first words on Mars will be. Our website, www.newmars.com/firstwords, will offer original educational articles about Mars and also showcase the ‘first words’ of prominent world figures.[/quote:post_uid0]

It's not perfect though... Hmm...


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#11 2002-09-02 17:06:53

Phobos
Member
Registered: 2002-01-02
Posts: 1,103

Re: Template letter - Download the Word doc here

Even though some of the sentences are long, I didn't find myself getting "lost" in them.  The commas did a good job of punctuating the sentences before they became to much of a mouthful.  Actually the letter varies a lot in sentence length which is good since it prevents the letter from sounding "choppy."


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