Category: Plots


Last time, I covered what ChatGPT is, what it isn’t, and some things to keep in mind if you choose to use it to help your fiction. Now we’re going to get into how to use it, or other machine learning programs, to aid your fiction. Though, first, I’m going to try to underscore some of the caution I tried to instill in the last post: do not mistake ChatGPT for an unbiased assistant, talking encyclopedia, or genius author.


ChatGPT is Your Tool, Not Your Coauthor

As I said last time, ChatGPT is a particular tool. On his WriterDojo podcast, Larry Correia frequently describes elements of writing as “another tool in your toolbox,” meaning that you don’t have one tool for all jobs, and not all jobs require all of your tools. It also means you should put in the effort to understand the contents of your toolbox; you can technically split a log with a hammer, but that doesn’t make it a saw.

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No, that’s not all one topic (though it sounds like it would make an interesting discussion). I’m just giving you an update on some things over at my other site that you might be interested in.  Continue reading

ant-man-thor-poster-1In my review of Ant-Man, I mentioned how the movie couldn’t make up its mind as to whether it was a caper film or a superhero origin story. I laid out the reasons why those two types of stories are, if not incompatible, then at least problematic to mix together. I also mentioned I might do a post on how I might have adjusted the movie if, for some strange reason, they came asking for my advice.

So how would I have done the movie differently?

This is actually a more dangerous question than it might appear. I’m a prose editor. I’m a pretty good one. I’m also pretty good at analysis, developmental/structural rewriting, and closing plot holes. None of that means that I’m good at scriptwriting. Visual media is a very different ballgame. I know just enough about the differences to talk about them, and not enough to actually put them into practice. I’m a professional editor, but I’m an armchair amateur when it comes to script-doctoring. I know my limits and I’m not going to pretend that expertise in one form of fiction extends to another.

So, disclaimers aside, here’s my armchair amateur opinion about what I’d have done if I’d been asked to give a developmental edit (also called structural editing) on the film.

Spoiler Warning Continue reading

There are books on my shelf written by a man with two names. Those names are David Wolverton and David Farland.  Why he publishes under two names is irrelevant to this post. What is relevant are these facts:

  1. He’s good.
  2. He’s entertaining.
  3. He’s an excellent teacher.
  4. His son is currently in the hospital, fighting for his life.

Yeah. Heartstrings are tugging. Continue reading

This afternoon, I saw an ad related to creative writing. As you might expect, with my web activity, I get a lot of those. (It’s a lot better than [CENSORED] or [BLOCKED] offers, neither of which I will actually mention for fear of generating ads for them here!) This one was advertising “the only system you’ll ever need to create a compelling narrative.”

That sort of claim makes me feel sorry for the would-be authors who fall for these schemes. Continue reading

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