Blog: AI writing assistant further observations

Read the comparative blog post here and the stories here.

Jarahili & Maria 

Ultimately, I was re-writing the same short story many times over. So I think not only was I getting more "acquainted" with the world of the story, but I was also more "versed" in how to manage a writing assistant's temperament. One of my favorite writing experiences was the last story I wrote, one of my favorites with Shortly AI. 

One of the first thoughts that Shortly offered was – "The bar was dark, and the service was slow, but the bottles of Jarahili were cheap." I immediately thought Jarahili was a regional hard liquor from some Island (perhaps somewhere Polynesia?), but it turns out it's a 100% made-up thing.* Impressive! 

Shortly also, gave me perhaps my favorite "one-liner," even though I wound up discarding it because I thought it distracted from the final story: "Maria took care of the place with a saintly devotion as if she had once been a nun. A nun that ran away from the convent to become a fisherman's wife."


One thing that I found in the process of writing and re-writing "RONALDO BISTRO STORY" is that almost all of the AI tried to pin down the location-specific ways. There is ultimately a "trouble-shooting" slant to how all the assistants "think." Supposedly you can trigger this type of behavior by toggling between "originality" / "coherence," but this can make it more concerned with "sentence" structure than world-building per se. 

Across assistants, my prompts almost always started with this paragraph:

"Ronaldo had always loved the left-side of that small castaway beach, in the upper side of the peninsula. His friend, Izaac, had opened a convenience store there a few years back, and his friends would go together to fish and drink. Down by the swampy part of the beach, another local fisherman had opened a dive bar. They would occasionally find themselves there when they ran out of beer and wanted to see people. "

And very often, the next idea the assistants would toss up would lead to a further geographic establishment for the island. One time it set me up in St. Barthes, another time in Hawaii. And often, it would segue right into adding the type of people that lived on the island, what language they spoke, etc. In many ways, I think it aligns with the descriptive nature of the first paragraph. But I thought it was worth noting in this annex of further observations. 

* eds: please let us know if you consume Jarahili on the regular or know about of it from your travels