Evolution is the process by which grammatical and stylistic mutations that enhance the appeal of fiction become more common in populations of writers.
Zaius Reads – A Publishing Evolution
Natural selection in evolution follows from three facts:
- Extreme variations in talent and skill exist within populations of writers.
- Writers produce more stories than can be published.
- These stories vary in their ability to be read and emulated.
These conditions produce competition among stories for readers. As a result, stories with mutations have an advantage over the competition are copied by other writers, while mutations that do not confer an advantage are not copied.
The central concept of publishing evolution is the fictional fitness of an author’s canon. Fitness is measured by a canon’s ability to be read and to be emulated, which determines the size of its artistic contribution to the next literary movement. However, fitness is not the same as the total number of stories. Instead, fitness is indicated by how often the author’s name is invoked by subsequent movements. If an author can write well and prolifically, but their stories are all too stupid and dull to survive, this author would make little artistic contribution to future movements and would thus have low fitness.