I asked ChatGPT to “provide analysis and feedback” on the first scene of each of my books; Part 5: Wild Diplomacy

For this final request of ChatGPT, I’m going to use the opening scene from Wild Diplomacy, a short novelette I recently released. Previously my other books have had some outright dopey or subjectively wrong results from the A.I.

You can read the excerpt sample from Amazon to see what I give to the A.I. In this scene, Foress the gnoll sings, tries to catch a rabbit, and gets caught by some humans.

Thank you for sharing the introduction scene of your novelette with me. Overall, I think you have done a good job of introducing the main character, Foress, and establishing her goals and motivations. The description of her singing and her desire to convince others of the peaceful nature of gnolls is interesting and adds depth to her character.

It’s crazy that the A.I. is able to determine whether or not I established a characters goals and motivations. That’s incredible really.

I also appreciate the attention to detail in the description of the forest and the way you have used sensory language to bring the setting to life for the reader. The inclusion of the rabbit chase and Foress’s hunting instincts also helps to further establish her character and her place in the world.

And more, the fact that the A.I. could pick up my description as Foress’s hunting instincts. I never used that phrase or those words. It was able to interpret what I wrote. Really very clever.

One suggestion I have for improving the scene is to consider providing more context for the reader. While it is clear that Foress is on a mission to improve relations between gnolls and city-dwellers, it might be helpful to provide some additional information about the nature of their relationship and why it is important to Foress. This could help to add depth to the scene and make it more engaging for the reader.

There’s actionable feedback here. And honestly, it caught me a little off-guard. While only a novelette, I never really did establish a reason as to why Foress cared so much about diplomacy. There’s some motivation in there, about helping protect her kind, but not a personal reason for her.

If I had used ChatGPT before I published the book, I would have made this change.

Overall, I think you have done a good job of introducing the main character and setting the stage for the rest of the story. I hope these suggestions are helpful, and I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here.

Same word phrasing as before with Old Wizards Home. A bit of a template that the A.I. uses, perhaps? Or at least a template that it’s picked up from reading 100,000 writing assignments?

Alright, in the final post, I’ll give my thoughts on all this.

What I think…

What I think? It’s a little scary isn’t it? I’m not sure if the A.I. wasn’t able to pick up the nuance of things like humor, or sarcasm, or if I’m just not as good a writer as I think I am.

And on the last one, a piece of that feedback is something I wish I had.

So, I guess the only thing I can really say is that I might, maybe, think about throwing the odd scene in there to see what the A.I. says. It takes very little effort to do so, and I do wonder what feedback it will give to something that I haven’t tried to polish to publishing standard.

As for editors etc, at the moment, they’re not out a job. But this thing is getting good. Like lots of projects, I imagine the final 20% is going to take 80% of the time, but it’s heading that way. And I think a writing aid powered by an A.I. could be a useful tool.

I think it’s a bad tool for beginners, learning to lean on a crutch. But… who am I to say it shouldn’t be used? And even if Stephen King says not to allow A.I. to edit our stories, people are still going to do it. We can’t stop the march of progress.

I asked ChatGPT to “provide analysis and feedback” on the first scene of each of my books; Part 4: Old Wizards Home

In Parts 1 and 2 the A.I. was a bit lost and didn’t really understand what it was reading. Part 3 it fared well, and while I didn’t agree with it, there was some believable feedback I could imagine an editor gave.

This time, we’ll use the opening scene of Old Wizards Home, in which Rodius watches Sister Emerelda enter his room and… well, just read the excerpt from Amazon first.

Here’s what ChatGPT says:

Thank you for sharing the first scene of your novel with me. Overall, I think you have created a strong opening that immediately introduces the main character and sets the tone for the rest of the story. The description of Sister Emerelda as a “hawkish” and “treacherous” elf adds an element of intrigue and sets the stage for potential conflict between her and the main character, Rodius.

So polite! You’re welcome, new master of our lives. As always, ever the tone of a pleasant and nurturing teacher, discussing what I did well before bringing out the red pen.

I also appreciate the clear setting you have established with the description of the common room and the mention of the “anti-magic field.” This helps to give the reader a sense of the world the story is set in and the rules that are in place.

Curious, this is almost like it’s saying that compared to what I fed it before, it likes this more. The missing setting and context it claimed the other scenes had, aren’t missing in this one. Is that just subjective, or am I a better writer with my third novel?

One suggestion I have for improving the scene is to consider providing more context for the reader. While it is clear that there is a history between Rodius and Delevar, and that there is tension between them, it might be helpful to give the reader a bit more information about their relationship and why they are enemies. This could help to add depth to the scene and make it more engaging for the reader.

And once again, I don’t agree. I’d even go so far as to say it’s objectively wrong. The relationship between Rodius and Delevar is explained, at least in so much as the reader needs at this moment. At this moment, they’re almost little more than archetypes with which the rest of the book starts moving around.

But as before, this feedback sounds real. I could have read this on a reddit post and thought about it. I’d have still disagreed even if I thought it was from a human, but it’s a point of view that could exist.

Overall, I think you have done a good job in setting the stage for the rest of the story and introducing the main character. I hope these suggestions are helpful, and I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here.

Well, sorry, but I’m not going to give you more of this story.

Lastly I’m going to do the opening to Wild Diplomacy; and after that I’ll give you a big dump of what I think about all this.

I asked ChatGPT to “provide analysis and feedback” on the first scene of each of my books; Part 3: The Unicorn Heist

So in both Part 1: You Can’t Prevent Prophecy, and Part 2: Harald’s Adventure Wares, the A.I. left a lot to be desired. Maybe my second novel, The Unicorn Heist, isn’t too hard for ChatGPT to understand?

Go have a read of the sample on Amazon so that you have the first scene fresh in your head. Then follow along with the A.I. below.

Let’s see what it thinks of Galan’s briefing to Grog about what might possibly be their last ever heist.

The opening scene of your novel effectively establishes the setting and introduces the main character, Galan, and his companion, Grog. The description of the empty tavern and the conversation between the two characters helps to establish the fantasy setting and their relationship as members of a thieves’ guild. The dialogue between the two characters is well written and helps to reveal their personalities and motivations.

Just like the last two times, I’m impressed with how much the A.I. picks up. Just understanding what a scene is about is a marvel.

And like before, there’s that teacher-tone, telling me what I did well, before telling me what I did bad.

However, the scene could be improved by providing more context for the setting and the characters’ roles within it. While it is clear that Galan and Grog are members of a thieves’ guild, it would be helpful to know more about the world they live in and the specific types of crimes they commit. Additionally, while the conversation between the two characters is engaging, the narration can be a bit cluttered at times, with a lot of information being conveyed through descriptions of Galan’s actions and thoughts. This can make the scene feel a bit cluttered and distract from the overall flow of the story.

I don’t think anyone, even people who don’t read fantasy, would be unclear about the types of crimes members of a thieves’ guild commit. Again, I feel like there’s a reliance on tropes and… “shared social context” (I invented that phrase just now) that the A.I. doesn’t have.

That’s always going to limit it’s capacity to understand.

Yes… I’d agree, there’s a lot about Galan’s actions and thoughts. I needed to do this to really push the reader into Galan’s POV, something that the A.I. said was lacking in my first novel. I guess you just can’t please everyone. However, I wouldn’t call it “cluttered”.

But, it is useful, if subjective, and tangible feedback. Speaking of tangible feedback…

One way to improve the scene would be to focus on the dialogue between the characters and use the narration to provide necessary context and background information. This would help to keep the conversation flowing naturally and allow the reader to better engage with the story. Additionally, it would be helpful to revise some of the descriptive passages to make them more concise and focused, while still providing necessary information about the setting and characters.

This is almost like telling new writers to “show, don’t tell”. It’s rudimentary advice, that isn’t always applicable. Like all writing, it’s subjective. I can imagine an editor saying the above to me, and I’d disagree with them, but I wouldn’t accuse them of being a robot.

Funnily enough, this is the second time the A.I. has sort of contradicted feedback it gave about my first novel. Now there’s not enough focus on the dialogue, whereas there was too much in Part 1. Interesting.

Overall, the opening scene of your novel is a strong introduction to the setting and characters, but it could be improved by providing more context for the setting and refining the narration to better support the dialogue

Finally, a nice little summary. It’s a good little essay writer this ChatGPT. I would hate to be an academic tasked with grading papers in the coming years.

Little bit extra

The second scene of The Unicorn Heist is my favourite scene from all my writing. I won’t provide any of my own thoughts on what the A.I. says, but here’s what it thought about my all-time most bestest written scene.

This character introducing scene effectively introduces the main character, Lady Heatherdown, and establishes her as someone who is unhappy with her life as a druid and has a plan to free a unicorn from a vampire. It also hints at her skill in communicating with animals and her frustration with their behavior. The dialogue between Lady Heatherdown and the rabbit is engaging and adds some humor to the scene. The presence of the spider adds an element of tension and mystery, and makes the reader curious about its role in the story. Overall, this scene does a good job of setting up the story and the main character’s motivations.

Alright, next up is my third novel, and my most popular amongst readers, Old Wizards Home.

I asked ChatGPT to “provide analysis and feedback” on the first scene of each of my books; Part 2: Harald’s Adventure Wares

In Part 1, I asked ChatGPT to provide analysis and feedback on the first scene of You Can’t Prevent Prophecy. Here’s what it says about Harald being a shifty shopkeep in the first scene of my free short story, Harald’s Adventure Wares.

Go read it – it’s free – so that you know what the A.I. is banging on about.

The opening scene of your short story does a good job of introducing the setting and the main character, Harald. The description of the shop and the interactions between Harald and the dwarf customer effectively establish the setting as a fantasy world where adventurers come to purchase equipment. The dialogue between the two characters is well written and helps to reveal their personalities and motivations.

Wow, again, it’s really interesting to see that the A.I. has successfully “interpreted” the scene and is able to parrot back what it’s about. It doesn’t seem like much, but for it to condense it down into a short sentence is impressive.

Also, same as last time, it can tell the genre. Easy considering some of the words used, like “dwarf”.

I like that it gives quite a bit of positive feedback here.

However, the scene could be improved by providing more context for the setting and the characters’ roles within it. While it is clear that the shop caters to adventurers, it would be helpful to know more about the world they live in and the specific types of adventures they embark on. Additionally, while the dwarf customer’s profession as a “Spelunker” is mentioned, it is not clear what this entails or how it differs from other adventurer roles. Providing more information about the setting and the characters’ roles within it would help the reader to better understand and engage with the story.

Hmmm… so… context and the setting. I think the context was pretty clear, Harald sells to adventurers. I suspect I’m relying on the trope of the fantasy adventurer a little more than the A.I. is primed to understand. At least, in my head it makes sense. No human who reads this would be confused by the context of the setting, at least I hope not.

But the idea of a “Spelunker” and how it differs from a normal adventurer… it’s in there. Albeit, there’s sarcasm that the A.I. would need to understand in order to see the explanation (hint: there is no difference, it’s just someone trying to sound fancy).

So I think the A.I. has failed a bit here.

One issue with the scene is that it feels a bit choppy, with abrupt transitions between descriptions and dialogue. This can make the pacing of the scene feel uneven and disrupt the flow of the story. Additionally, while the dialogue between Harald and the dwarf customer is well written, some of the descriptions, such as the one about the dwarf’s cloak playing in the firelight, feel a bit forced and could be revised for greater clarity.

I don’t know what to think of this. “Feels a bit choppy” is very subjective. Can I take a subjective opinion from an A.I.?

The specific example of poorly written description is curious. An actual example is provided of where to improve. Here’s that particular bit of writing:

Judging by how her green and brown cloak played in the firelight, she was a ranger. Her lack of steel amour was a little unusual considering dwarf-kind’s usual propensity for strapping sheets of metal to their bodies, but then again, she was an adventurer, so she needed something to set her apart from everyone else.

Harald’s Adventure Wares – D.G. Redd

Maybe “played” was a poor word choice. I was attempted to elude to the trope of rangers having an ability to almost disappear into the forest by means of their somewhat-magical-maybe-elven-cloaks. It does feel a little forced now.

Is it forced? Or is it that the A.I. is filling me with crippling self-doubt?

Overall, the opening scene of your short story effectively establishes the setting and introduces the main character, but it could be improved by providing more context for the setting and the characters’ roles within it and by smoothing out the transitions between descriptions and dialogue.

I supposed this is just reinforcing what it said before.

I’m not sure… this is better feedback than what it gave last time. But I still think it misses the mark often enough.

But maybe, just maybe, there’s some useful stuff here. Let’s see what happens in Part 3: The Unicorn Heist.

I asked ChatGPT to “provide analysis and feedback” on the first scene of each of my books; Part 1: You Can’t Prevent Prophecy

There’s lots of talk about ChatGPT and what it’s capable of. I thought I’d prompt it to provide feedback and analysis of the first scene from each of my books. Yes, I said to it: “Can you provide analysis and feedback on the first scene of this novel: ” followed by the entirety of the first scene.

I’ll separate these into individual posts, tell you what the A.I. says, and then I’ll tell you what I think.

Here’s what it says about Josephus and Grilk battling crazed elves in a cavern in the opening scene of You Can’t Prevent Prophecy. Take a look at the preview on Amazon if you haven’t read it, that will help you to understand what the bot is saying.

Overall, the opening scene of your novel provides a good introduction to the setting and conflict. The description of the cave network and the characters’ actions during the fight with the elves helps to establish the fantasy setting and the tension between Josephus and Grilk. However, there are a few areas that could be improved upon.

Straight away it’s interesting to see that the A.I. has identified what the scene is about. This is 1,634 words, not a little snippet. Knowing it’s a fantasy setting is probably obvious with words like “elf” and “sword”, but I wonder how well it would fare with more niche genres like cyberpunk or steampunk?

Somewhat of a surprise is that it’s identified a tension between the two main characters here. That’s contextual analysis, very cool.

But, our new A.I. overlord has identified some issues. Strange how it reads exactly like what a teacher would say, “However, there’s some room for improvement”.

First, there is a lot of dialogue between Josephus and Grilk, but there is little context provided for their relationship or their motivations. It would be helpful to have more information about who these characters are and why they are in this predicament. Are they friends or allies of convenience? What are they searching for in the cave network? This would help the reader to better understand their dynamic and why they are fighting against the elves.

Hold on there, ChatGPT. Yes, there is a lot of dialogue, it’s witty banter. That witty banter is what provides the relationship context to the readers. As for who they are, that’s part of reading a book. As for why they are there, whether they’re friends, what they’re searching for… that’s provided in the text.

Doesn’t seem so clever now…

Second, the dialogue between the characters feels a bit stiff and unnatural at times. The use of accents and slang, while intended to add character to the dialogue, can be confusing and distract from the overall flow of the conversation. It might be helpful to focus on making the dialogue feel more natural and less forced.

Oof. I felt that.

I’m all for criticism. But I’ve never had anyone tell me that the dialogue in this opening scene is “stiff and unnatural”. It’s anything but. I would go so far as to say it’s actually my favourite dialogue I’ve written, and I’ve got two more novels under my belt from here.

Finally, the scene could benefit from more sensory details to help the reader visualize and fully immerse themselves in the setting. As it stands, the cave network is described in general terms, but adding more specific details about the smells, sounds, and textures of the environment would help to bring it to life.

This one I accept.

As the first scene in my first novel, I’d yet to fully understand how to get a good POV. It’s much better by the end of the book, and really, this introduction scene is more of an introduction to my writing and the humor. However, yes, it’s lacking texture and smell descriptions which come from a solid POV, which would help immerse the reader.

Having said that, it is an action scene. Adding smell and texture descriptions may have bogged it down.

Overall, this is a strong opening scene that effectively establishes the setting and conflict. With a few minor adjustments, it could be even more engaging and immersive for the reader.

There it goes off like a teacher again, being sure to end on a positive note.

I’m sorry to say; that on this analysis, I think ChatGPT is a terrible editor. Let’s see how well it does in Part 2, Harald’s Adventure Wares.