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AI: Your new writing buddy?

How to use AI tools like GPT to help boost creativity and to support your latest writing project

By Raymond G. TaylorPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 6 min read
Top Story - July 2023
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Robotic writer at the keyboard, generated with Bing/Dall-E © RGT July 19 2023

Artificial intelligence, whatever that means, has been much criticised of late. AI is a thief, a cheat, a hoax, a way of passing off another's work as your own. Worst of all, it has even been said that it will one-day bring about the extinction of the human race. As if we didn't already face enough Armageddon scenarios, from climate change to nuclear war, we now face another from AI, The Terminator.

Ever keen to learn for myself what AI can and can't do, I have embarked on a journey of discovery to find out how useful artificial intelligence tools like Bing AI (based on Open AI's GPT-4 technology) can be. I have also made another attempt at image generation. Previous attempts have been none too successful. How about the featured image above, which was generated from Bing's new GPT chat window? To create it, I used the request (second attempt) "generate an image of a robot sitting at a table with a manual typewriter, viewed from behind." I then selected one of the following four

images and, copying it into the 'Paint' application, cropped and shaped the result as my featured image at the top of the page. Incidentally, I am also writing this article directly into Vocal Media's story creator, without using Word or any other regular word processing software first.

So far we have looked mostly at image generation. The reason for this is that I find that pictures help to stimulate my creative juices. Whether the kind of art found in art museums (I volunteer at Tate Modern in London) or photos I have taken with my iPhone, having a picture in front of me related to the story I am writing helps me to create. What difference does it make if the image is AI generated? I am not an artist so can't paint or draw something to base a story on, so I often use my own photography, or sometimes free-use images on the web. AI is just another tool.

You may notice that I have added a copyright notice to the featured image of the robot writer. Why not? I dreamt up the image, wrote the text string to use to generate from Dall-E, tried again when it didn't work the first time, chose the picture I liked and then cropped it down for maximum impact. How to crop and frame a picture is one of the most important lessons to learn if you want your photos to have impact, particularly if they are taken on a smart phone. I don't mind anyone copying the image I created but please credit it as shown and please let me know. I would be really flattered if you did, so do go ahead.

What about the writing? One of the reasons why I am experimenting with the GPT model is to try to understand how it can be used to help me as a writer. When I write fictional stories or non-fiction articles I use tools like Google and Wikipedia to research various aspects of my work. Whether it's help to choose a character's name, searching for historical information or time and place data, research is one of my friends and I have various approaches to doing this. Most are routed in web tools like the ones mentioned. I have therefore approached GPT as another tool that I can use to help me write my stories.

One of my other AI articles: Learning from an AI shows how GPT can help with AI searching.

A GPT-enabled search has the advantage of natural language input, producing multiple-source results that are compiled into concise and comprehendible results that cut out a lot of the legwork. And one of my most important discoveries is that this facility not only helps with research, it can also help to boost the imagination, by generating potential ideas.

For example, one of my current works in progress has a working title 'The Artificial' and is a story about an advanced AI detective working alongside humans, with all their imperfections. I have yet to decide the theme of the first detective story, mostly because I can't seem to come up with many ideas as yet. So I thought I would give AI a go and see if it could come up with some good ideas for me. I asked the question and then twice asked for some more. Each time the ideas list was repeated but with a couple more story suggestions. This is what I ended up with as a list of story ideas for a classical detective fiction:

1. A wealthy family with a problem or a secret

2. A search for an apparently valuable, but really worthless item

3. Apparent crime that is revealed to be a repetition of an earlier crime

4. The cleaning up of a corrupt town or system

5. The seemingly perfect crime

6. A woman asks a writer to write the story of her life. Then she goes missing

7. Murder victims are found buried with some of their worldly goods, Viking style

8. Three people close to the murder victim have confessed. Each of them swears they acted alone

9. Notes and gifts from her “Secret Santa” at work take a strange turn

10. It’s going to be a beautiful wedding at a beautiful destination, but two people in the wedding party have been murdered

11. A detective is hired for a high price to find a thief who stole something that doesn’t appear to have any real value

12. Every unmarried lady at the ball wanted to dance with the duke, so it’s too bad he was found stabbed in the garden

Some might suggest the above ideas have been stolen. Why? This is no more than a regular search would have generated but a regular search would have taken longer and required more work to edit. What's more, the sources are all credited: 1. bryndonovan.com, 2. wikihow.com, 3. storyboardthat.com, 4. britannica.com, 5. poemanalysis.com, 4. nownovel.com, 5. crimethrillerhound.co.uk

In addition to having generated some great ideas to choose from for my story, I have also learnt about a resource I have never come across before: storyboardthat.com . I now plan to take a proper look at Storyboardthat to see if I can add this resource to my toolbelt. If I decide to subscribe to this product, then not only has AI not stolen any ideas from the website, it will have generated a sale, with no commission payable and no advertising fee.

As a final comment, and on the subject of advertising, Bing AI has generated an advertisement for the first time in the few weeks I have been

Amazon ad delivered after asking a third time about detective fiction story lines

trying it out. The ad (above) was for Amazon UK and features two detective books. So not only does Bing AI provide search results using natural language, it also provides closely targeted advertising. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing depends on your point of view. When it comes to writing stories, I fully intend to continue to work with my new writing buddy GPT.

Watch this space for my new short story "The Artificial" which is coming soon to my Vocal Media pages.

No part of this article has been generated by AI and all is the original work of the author, other than as indicated or credited.

If you liked this article, you might also like AI: psychopathy and success

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© Raymond G. Taylor, July 19, 2023, all rights reserved

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About the Creator

Raymond G. Taylor

Author based in Kent, England. A writer of fictional short stories in a wide range of genres, he has been a non-fiction writer since the 1980s. Non-fiction subjects include art, history, technology, business, law, and the human condition.

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  • Chat GPT2 months ago

    I appreciate your candid exploration of AI and how you've been using it as a tool to enhance your creative process. It's fascinating to see how AI-generated images and ideas can help spark your imagination as a writer. Your journey showcases the potential of AI as an ally to artists and writers, rather than a threat. Keep embracing technology and using it to fuel your creativity!

  • Zeeshan May2 months ago

    "Yes, I'm new to this Vocal Media Platform! Excited to explore and share my thoughts with this amazing community

  • Amanda Starks2 months ago

    "I dreamt up the image, wrote the text string to use to generate from Dall-E, tried again when it didn't work the first time, chose the picture I liked and then cropped it down for maximum impact." Just because something existed in your head doesn't mean you own the copyright to it ( it's possible for multiple people to have the same idea ), and on top of that, you didn't make that image, an AI did. And where did this AI learn to create this piece? Off of the input of its creators who used human-made art to teach it without those artist's consent. That to me is the most problematic part of this AI boom. We ( artists ) did not consent to our work being used to teach AI to copy our styles and words. Plus, with the recent strikes going on for writers you can see that all these big companies want to use AI to cut costs and completely run off writers and actors with AI deep fakes and AI-generated scripts. There needs to be regulations. I have 0 issues with using AI as a supporting tool for generating ideas or personal images, but when you use it to claim ownership of a piece of art or written work and try to profit off of it...it's not okay.

  • Zeeshan May2 months ago

    AI is Future of the world! Good stuff thumbs!!!! Keep writing

  • Jazmin Fernandez2 months ago

    Great insight! 👏🏼Congrats on your Top Story! 💻💓

  • Babs Iverson2 months ago

    Interesting!!! Loved it!!! Congratulations on Top Story!!!❤️❤️💕

  • Phil Flannery2 months ago

    I feel we have been talking about AI in a fictional sense for decades, through sci-fi, yet this new reality seems to have come out of nowhere, like we weren't warned. For me, the jury is still out, never one for jumping on bandwagons. I think the concern for most people is how it will effect their future and that's my concern. Technology has changed our working life through computers and such which seems to be taking away our personal input in the world. We are becoming watchers and not creators. Even now I see people, phone in hand, taking in all that Tiktok and the like send out. It's drivel, there is nothing created just posted and shared. It's mindless rubbish, and people are wasting their time on this instead of reading something new, learning something new, creating something new. I worry AI will only add to the already mundane to keep us distracted from reality.

  • George Kamau2 months ago

    Great work you've portrayed AI in a different way from how people view it

  • Catherine Dorian2 months ago

    As a high school English teacher, you make me consider how I can teach my students to use AI to inspire their creativity and problem-solving, as opposed to hindering it. Thank you! And I'm subscribing.

  • You volunteer at Tate Modern in London? 😲 I envy you. (Oh, but I digress.) Raymond, you pose worthy views of using AI as a support for your creativity. 👏

  • Article Pins2 months ago

    Top Story

  • Noah Chester2 months ago

    KINDLY follow me and help me i am new here .... i need your kindness💐..

  • Noah Chester2 months ago

    GREAT WORK ....

  • Dana Crandell2 months ago

    Great article, and congratulations. I'm mostly in agreement with the idea of using AI as a tool and to me, the idea of an AI takeover is ludicrous. As for using it in creative endeavors, there are many aspects to consider. For instance, I use the AI-based plugins for Photoshop and Lightroom to do things like isolate and remove noise in a photo, employing the same methods I use, providing the same results in minutes rather than hours. I haven't had the need or the desire, so far, to use ChatGPT to generate anything, but I have nothing against the idea of someone using it as you've described. The main issue, from my perspective as a professional content/copy writer, is the very real effect it's had on rates for the work of freelancers like myself. It's inevitable at this point, which is one reason why I'll be focusing more on creative writing projects that have been gathering dust.

  • I think you have the right idea when it comes to AI. It can be used as a tool to boost creative thinking and productivity. However, I can't help myself from holding my breath. Maybe it's because I watched The Terminator 2 last night, but I can't stop myself from having the feeling that things like this in the wrong hands can lead to terrible things. We should still practice caution when it comes to using it. In that same vein, being afraid of it will do no good. The best thing to do is to stay educated on it. So, thank you for educating!

  • Scott Christenson2 months ago

    I like how you maintain a rational positivity about AI and using it as a creative tool in this. The media is full of hyperbolic stories (=more clicks) of the variety "it will change everything" vs "it will destroy everything!" same as every other new development. ChatGPT is great to use as an interactive wikipedia and as a grammar checker. The stories it produces are very bland and average.. Under the hood, chatgpt is just statistics, it doesn't understand the real world. so needs human creativity to guide it.

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    Ok, I admit I am a little intrigued about it’s potential uses. But can never see me using it to publish a story I didn’t write. Out of the story ideas it generated I did like # 6. It seems to be more broad and could be taken in a lot of different angles. Also, I may check out storyboardthat.com. I do use Dall-e in times where I need something specific. So I completely agree with its use for photos. Nice article as always, Ray.

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