by Brian Andrews

Something extraordinary and terrifying happened this year, an outfit called Open AI released a large language model artificial intelligence named Chat GPt4 that has human like information and language processing skills. After seeing what GPT4 is capable of, the publishing industry is freaking out (and rightly so). Give GPT4 a prompt and it generates articulate, well-reasoned content in exponentially less time than it takes even an experienced, knowledgeable human being to. To see if GPT4 lived up to the hype, I decided to interview the AI and ask it “Career Authors” type questions. The answers it gave will probably surprise you.

In 75 words or less explain how Large Language Models, like yourself, work?

GPT4’s ANSWER: Large Language Models, like myself, use complex neural networks to analyze and generate human-like language. These models are trained on vast amounts of text data, allowing them to learn the patterns and structures of language. They are then able to generate responses to prompts by predicting the most likely words or phrases to follow. This process involves a combination of language understanding, generation, and context awareness, all of which enable us to produce responses that are both fluent and relevant.

If you had to pick a single theme that ties together the body of American author Stephen King’s work, what would it be and why?

GPT4’s ANSWER: If I had to pick a single theme that ties together the body of American author Stephen King’s work, it would be the exploration of the human psyche in the face of terror and horror. Throughout his writing, King has delved deeply into the fears, desires, and vulnerabilities of his characters, often placing them in terrifying and supernatural situations that force them to confront their deepest fears and inner demons. King’s work often examines the human condition and our responses to trauma, loss, and the unknown, ultimately revealing the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

What are the three central tenants of using subtext in storytelling?

GPT4’s ANSWER: The use of subtext in storytelling involves conveying a message or meaning indirectly, often through dialogue, actions, or imagery. Here are three central tenets of using subtext in storytelling:

  1. Show, don’t tell: Rather than stating the intended meaning outright, subtext is about conveying the message through subtle hints, implications, and inferences. This allows the audience to actively engage with the story and interpret the subtext for themselves.
  2. Context is key: Subtext relies heavily on the context of the scene or story, as it is the context that gives meaning to the subtext. It is important to consider the setting, characters, relationships, and overall themes when crafting subtextual elements.
  3. Consistency is crucial: Subtext should be consistent throughout the story, and it should support the themes and messages of the narrative. When used effectively, subtext can deepen characterization, build tension, and add layers of meaning to a story. However, if used inconsistently or in a confusing manner, it can detract from the overall impact of the storytelling.

What is the single greatest obstacle to discovery an author faces when publishing a novel?

GPT4’s ANSWER: One of the greatest obstacles to discovery that an author faces when publishing a novel is breaking through the noise and getting noticed in a crowded market. With so many books being published each year, it can be challenging for an author to attract the attention of readers, reviewers, and publishers. There are numerous factors that can contribute to a book’s success, such as its quality, genre, marketing, timing, and luck. However, even if a book is well-written and has a compelling story, it can still go unnoticed if it fails to gain visibility in a saturated market. Therefore, building a strong author platform, networking with other writers and industry professionals, and engaging with readers can all be important strategies for overcoming this obstacle and increasing the chances of discovery.

What are 5 cost effective ways for an author to grow their mailing list?

GPT4’s ANSWER: There are several cost-effective ways to grow your author mailing list. Here are five strategies to consider:

  1. Offer a lead magnet: A lead magnet is a free resource, such as an e-book or sample chapters, that you offer in exchange for a reader’s email address. By providing value upfront, you can incentivize readers to join your mailing list.
  2. Host a giveaway or contest: Running a giveaway or contest on social media can be an effective way to attract new subscribers to your mailing list. Encourage entrants to sign up for your mailing list as a requirement for entering the contest.
  3. Participate in author swaps: Partnering with other authors in your genre to offer joint giveaways or cross-promotions can help you reach new audiences and grow your mailing list.
  4. Optimize your website for conversions: Make sure your website has clear calls to action and prominent sign-up forms that encourage visitors to join your mailing list.
  5. Attend events and speaking engagements: Speaking at events or participating in book signings can be a great way to meet new readers and collect email addresses from interested attendees. Be sure to have a sign-up sheet or offer a lead magnet to encourage sign-ups.

What is the difference between a thriller and mystery novel?

GPT4’s ANSWER: Thriller and mystery novels are both popular genres of fiction that often involve suspense, intrigue, and plot twists. However, there are some key differences between the two.

Mystery novels typically involve a crime or puzzle that the protagonist must solve. The focus is on the detective work, clues, and red herrings that lead to the revelation of the culprit or resolution of the mystery. The pacing is often slower than a thriller, with an emphasis on methodical investigation and deduction. Examples of famous mystery novels include Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” series.

In contrast, thriller novels are usually faster-paced and more action-oriented. The protagonist is often in imminent danger, and the tension builds as the story progresses. Thrillers typically involve high stakes, such as a threat to national security or a serial killer on the loose, and the protagonist must race against the clock to stop the threat. Examples of famous thriller novels include Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” and Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt for Red October.”

In summary, while both mystery and thriller novels share elements of suspense and intrigue, mystery novels focus on solving a puzzle or crime, while thriller novels focus on high-stakes danger and action.

In Conclusion…

The questions above are only a small subset of the questions I asked GPT4. I asked it medical questions, science questions, and other random queries based based on my background as a nuclear engineer and military officer that I thought it might have trouble with. It performed at a level of the what I would equate to how the most intelligent people I’ve met and worked with might respond. How is this possible you ask? Because this AI has the ability to read the collective published knowledge of educated humans who are the most accomplished and successful in their fields.

Is Artificial Intelligence like Chat GPT4 a threat to writers, reporters, and novelists? The jury is still out, but in my opinion the answer is unequivocally yes. In the front matter of my next novel which will be published in July, I’ve added a disclaimer that the book was conceived, written and edited by humans and only humans. I predict within the next five years there will be thousands of titles written entirely by AI. Readers will soon have to decide whether the want to read novels about humans written by humans or written by machines.

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