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.