Singularity fanfic

From: Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Date: Thu May 16 2002 - 10:40:42 MDT

*Cough.* Let's distinguish between Singularity fanfics (some of which I
confess to having written myself, such as the X17 pastiche) and SF stories
of sufficient quality that someone might conceivably think about publishing
them (of which I have written only two, perhaps three, over the course of my
lifetime so far). There is a long, long, long stretch between the two. The
saying is that you must write a million words to throw away before you
manage to write anything good. I'm not quite through with my million words
yet. Certainly if I've written a million words it's in nonfiction, not
fiction - I think I might be able to consistently write good fiction given a
few solid years of practice, but it doesn't look now like I'll ever be able
to get that practice done.

Fiction or nonfiction, expect your first work to suck. It is a universal
law. I can't read the things I wrote in 1996, 1998, or occasionally even
2000 without my brain blowing a fuse and shutting down (and I did expect, at
the time, that this was how things would eventually work out). Let's not
scare away the people who've *already* written their million words with our
dreadful fanfics... true, any professional author has probably gotten used
to it by now, but I also expect that it's still annoying.

Not that SL4 is an inappropriate forum for fanfics or anything. SL4 is an
OK place to post dreadful Singularity fanfics in the hopes of eventually
getting to readable Singularity fanfics. I'm just saying we should
distinguish between "Singularity fanfic" and actual attempts at Singularity
fiction - i.e., stories having character, plot, development, resolution, and
all that literary stuff.

-- -- -- -- --
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
Research Fellow, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence

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