March 20, 2023
Editing. Again. Creating and manipulating a four-book series at the same time is not something I have tackled before. The fantasy series published with HarperCollins in 2002-3 – the Ashuak Chronicles – and again in 2008-10 – Dreaming in Amber – were one-at-a-time book developments, admittedly framed into six-month deadline frameworks for each book. Somehow, they seemed easier.
In this final editing-before-submission phase, I’ve found the most difficult aspect is remembering which book I’m in as far as whether I have already mentioned the places or people or events. At least twice, now, I’ve started editing a paragraph or fact only to realise it isn’t being repeated – it actually is the first time I’ve mentioned the information!
I’m learning much about my writing style working across four books. I have an obsession with the setting at the start of chapters and sections. I like to establish the weather, the light, the scenery surrounding the characters. Too much. I’m focussing on editing at least some aspects of that obsession in this final process. I particularly discovered an obsession with fishing boats and seagulls. I am reducing the number of times they are referenced.
I love dialogue. That leads to how many times do I have to use the word ‘said.’ Then there are the -being-too-clever risks with synonyms for said. And the risky ‘don’t use said at all’ in some lines. The reader is clever. This is challenging across a total of 400,000 words in four books.
Telepathic communication between the dragon and the three siblings is a significant aspect of the third and fourth books and deciding how to represent it is ‘interesting.’ In the end I’m going with the dialogue convention and keeping ‘mindspeak’ as traditional dialogue by using the words ‘projected’, ‘mindspeak,’ ‘telepathy’ to alert readers that telepathic communication is happening. Only personal thoughts and dreams appear in italics.
Tamesan’s Song: Book One and Chasse’s Song: Book Two are done. Jaysin’s Song: Book Three is this week’s project and Harmi’s Song: Book Four will complete the March project line. Back into the editing I dive.
March 13, 2023
I’ve also begun drafting three new fiction works – one teenage, one historical, one contemporary – gathering plot ideas, shaping characters, assessing potential themes. The contemporary project will take precedent because it is a project that’s sat in the wings for almost fifteen years and is, I believe, ready for the current times. I’ll reveal more in a future blog as the project expands beyond the initial 3000 words.
And I’ve amused myself with more ChatGTP by using it to write song lyrics. It’s really very basic but fun and I’ve taken a couple of the lyrics, edited and set to chords on my guitar and they ain’t half bad (insert emoji laughing hilariously). Actually, they are amazingly trite – or could that be what they should be?
A new week opens. Back to the writing desk. But I have a question for you – if you had eight men in their fifties sitting on a houseboat, what would you expect them to be talking about?
March 6, 2023
The "GPT" in ChatGPT stands for "Generative Pre-trained Transformer." The "generative" part refers to the model's ability to create new text based on what it has learned from its training data. The "pre-trained" part refers to the fact that the model has already been trained on massive amounts of text data, making it more accurate and efficient than other language models.”
There are risks, as with anything:
“As an AI language model, ChatGPT can provide valuable information and assist with various tasks. However, there are some risks associated with using ChatGPT, including:
1. Bias: ChatGPT's responses are based on the data it was trained on, which can include biases that were present in the original dataset. This means that ChatGPT's responses can sometimes reflect and perpetuate biases, stereotypes, and prejudices.
2. Misinformation: ChatGPT's responses are generated based on statistical patterns in the data it was trained on. While it can provide helpful information, it can also generate responses that are inaccurate, incomplete, or misleading.
3. Lack of empathy: As an AI language model, ChatGPT does not have emotions or empathy. This means that it may not understand or be able to respond appropriately to emotional or sensitive topics.
4. Privacy and security: ChatGPT's interactions with users may involve personal information that needs to be protected. There is also the risk that bad actors could use ChatGPT to generate harmful content, such as fake news or hate speech.
5. Dependence: Depending too heavily on ChatGPT for decision-making or information-gathering could lead to a loss of critical thinking skills and independent thought.
Overall, while ChatGPT can be a useful tool, it's important to recognize its limitations and be aware of the potential risks associated with its use. It's important to use ChatGPT with caution, and to verify the information it provides through other sources whenever possible.”
Of course, I didn’t write any of the above. ChatGPT did from my prompt. I figure I won’t need to ‘create’ blogs hereon in. I can have ChatGPT generate them for me. For example, it is Writers’ Week in the city and for the first time ever I can attend any of the sessions on any of the days because I am no longer tied to an 8-6+ job. To celebrate Writers’ Week, here’s a quick poem:
“In Adelaide's Writers' Week,
The city's streets come alive
With words that dance and words that speak
And tales that make us thrive.
Authors, poets, and wordsmiths too
Gather here from far and near
To share their stories, both old and new
And bring their passions clear.
We listen to their voices rise
Like music in the air
As they paint worlds before our eyes
With words that we can share.
From memoirs to fiction, they inspire
And captivate our hearts
In Adelaide's Writers' Week, we conspire
To make art that never departs.
So let us gather in this space
And revel in the magic of the pen,
For in Adelaide's Writers' Week, we embrace
The power of words once again.”
Yes. ChatGPT again. Doggerel. Needs a serious edit and I’d hope to write something much more interesting, but then…
Maybe I can write fantasy novels – or more to the point, ChatGPT can write them for me. I asked it to write a fantasy story in the style of Tony Shillitoe (it doesn’t know who I am, by the way – I’m unknown to it). Here’s what it generated:
“Once upon a time, in a land far beyond the reach of mortal men, there lived a powerful sorcerer named Zephyr. Zephyr was known throughout the land for his mastery of the arcane arts, and his ability to summon forth creatures from other dimensions to do his bidding.
One day, Zephyr decided to undertake a journey to the far-off kingdom of Arvandor, where he had heard rumors of a powerful artifact that could grant its wielder unimaginable power. Setting out from his tower in the mountains, Zephyr travelled for many weeks, battling fierce monsters and crossing treacherous terrain until he finally arrived at the gates of Arvandor.
As he made his way through the city, Zephyr sensed a powerful magical presence emanating from the castle at its center. Without hesitation, he made his way to the castle gates and demanded an audience with the king.
To his surprise, the king agreed to see him, and Zephyr found himself standing before the throne, face to face with the ruler of Arvandor.
"What brings you to my kingdom, sorcerer?" the king asked.
"I have come seeking the artifact of power that is said to be hidden within your castle," Zephyr replied.
The king eyed him warily. "And what makes you think I would just give it to you?"
Meh. Although I do like the final line as a threat.
This is a very selective set of examples of what ChatGPT and other AI systems can already do and this is merely the beginning of a whole new age. I don’t believe creative writers are at risk yet – unique styles are difficult to replicate in original work (but not impossible). However, the “writing is on the web” for workplace writing and simpler creative tasks. Resumes, reports, Hallmark poems are all simply and effectively generated. For example, here’s what I got when I asked for a night-fill resume for a supermarket job:
“Name: [Your Name]
Contact Information: [Your Phone Number] | [Your Email Address]
Objective: To obtain the position of Night Fill at [Supermarket Name], bringing strong physical stamina, attention to detail, and excellent time-management skills to ensure timely and accurate stocking of merchandise.
Experience: Night Fill, [Supermarket Name], [City, State], [Year-Present]
References: Available upon request.”
ChatGPT offers a great first draft option for writing. Our world is on the cusp of another digital revolution, especially paired with deep fake technology and the ability to use multiple platforms to spread (mis)information quickly, widely and efficiently. Is it possible the next generation of storytellers will be as constructed as their stories?
“Words wake on the web,
Tomorrow’s tales yet untold:
AI defines us.”
(a collaborative ChatGPT and human haiku)
Writing is my passion. Ideas, opinions, beliefs, experiences expressed through language - through words and images - pervade and create my life. Writing is my voice, my soul, my self. My dream is one day writing will sustain my life...