3/18/23 Post

Playing Around With Possibilities For FAST FICTION, VOL. 2: Man vs. Machine

As I get closer to getting my second book out into the world, I wanted to share a brief sample with you–and maybe pick your brains for an idea or two. Before I say anything that might influence you in any way, I’ll present a couple of stories.

As I mentioned last week, my next book with have 50 of my stories and 50 that will be generated by the mighty A.I. system known as ChatGPT. After I write my story, I’ll feed the same prompt into the machine, and I’ll ask for a story of “precisely 101 words” using the prompt I provide. I’m also thinking that I’ll ask for a similar tone to what I wrote. In other words, if I wrote a comedy (highly likely), I’ll ask for a humorous story. If I write a dramatic or suspenseful one, same drill.

What follows is one of my recent stories using the prompt “woke.” After that, I’ll show you what ChatGPT came up with when I asked for a humorous 101-word tale with the same prompt.

What to Say When It’s Four Against One

It was lasagne night at the homeless shelter and everybody was smiling.

“Remember when we were hobos?” Joe asked. “Now I’m experiencing homelessness—like I booked it on Expedia.”

“You gotta keep up,” Malcolm said. “Like with Dale over here. He’s not a he. He’s a they. You mess around with pronouns, right, kid?”

Dale shrugged. “I’m nonbinary, so it reflects who I am.”

“Don’t use pronouns that aren’t you,” Roscoe grunted.

“How so?”

“I got multiple personality disorder. There’s four of me. If you get three more personalities, you can start using they. Until then, let us claim they, ok?”

Prompt: Woke

And now here’s the story generated using A.I.

(The machine doesn’t generate a title)

When Dave woke up, he was convinced he had overslept. He stumbled out of bed and frantically checked his phone. “7:00 AM?! I’m late for work!” he shouted, before realizing it was actually Saturday. Feeling relieved, he decided to make himself a hearty breakfast.

As he was cooking, he noticed his cat staring at him judgmentally. “What?” he asked the feline. “Oh, right. Daylight Saving Time,” he muttered. Dave continued to cook while his cat rolled her eyes.

Little did Dave know, he had accidentally set his clock ahead by two hours. He showed up to work at 7:00 AM on a Saturday.

Prompt: Woke

My Questions For You

I haven’t done a lot of experimenting yet with how these A.I. stories will come out, but I can tell you that they’re not all winners. If that’s a sign of artificial intelligence, maybe I’m ALSO operating with artificial intelligence!

Once the A.I. story spits out, I have the option of instantly requesting another one…and another one. I have no idea what, if any limits there are with these things. Question #1: If I really don’t like the story (particularly if it makes no sense at all and seems completely illogical and not something I think people would enjoy reading), what do I do? Include it in the book? Generate another story and see if it’s better? If you were reading this book, would you want me to generate enough versions of each story until I found one I liked? I’m really curious as to hear your thoughts and I’m hoping you’ll drop me quick email and let me know your thoughts.

Next question: As smart as the machine is, it doesn’t stick to the 101-word count that I’m requiring–even though I never waver on my stories. If I get a good 105-word story, for instance, do I go in and edit it myself to take it down to 101, or leave it as is and do nothing to alter the A.I. story? I know what I want to do, but I want to hear your thoughts.

Finally, should I give the machine a clue as to the tone of the story (like comedy, suspense, etc.) or just let it pick its own–like I do when I draw a prompt and use it?

OK. Those are my questions. Please do rate both stories using the links and, if you’re willing, drop me a short line at click here and let me know your thoughts on my questions.

As always,

Thanks for listening!

Scotty out

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