ChatGPT has burst onto the internet recently, with every social media manager I know talking about it, what it means for them, and the future of social media jobs. After all, if a bot can write just as well as I can, what is left for me to do?
The thing about a tool is that skilled use can certainly create amazing results. I’ve worked with Jasper, Rytr, and now ChatGPT, and what blows me away with ChatGPT is that natural language you can use to create what you want. I’m still reading the FAQs, but ChatGPT has been the best of the bots so far, the writing fluid and easy on the eye and the ideas it generates have been useful, smart and on point.
And I’m loving it!
Prompt 1: write a short story about a princess and a pea
Once upon a time, in a far-off kingdom, there lived a prince who was searching for a true princess to be his wife. He had traveled far and wide, but he couldn’t find someone who met his high standards of grace, beauty, and refinement. So he decided to seek help from his mother, the queen, who was known for her wisdom and keen eye for spotting royalty.
The queen suggested a test to find the perfect princess. She ordered her servants to prepare a bed with twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds, and place a single pea underneath them all. Then she invited all the noblewomen in the land to stay for the night and see if they could feel the pea through the layers of bedding. The prince thought it was a strange test, but he agreed to follow his mother’s advice.
The next day, the queen asked her son if any of the women had passed the test. The prince shook his head sadly and said that all the women had claimed to sleep soundly and hadn’t felt a thing. But as they were talking, a knock came at the door, and a beautiful young woman stood before them, drenched from the storm outside.
The queen welcomed her inside and offered her a place to rest for the night. The prince was taken aback by the girl’s beauty, but he wasn’t convinced that she was a true princess. So he asked his mother to prepare the test again, this time with a twist. The queen added more mattresses and feather beds, but she also placed a sharp pea shooter underneath them all.
To the prince’s amazement, the girl woke up in the morning with dark circles under her eyes, complaining of a sore back. When the queen revealed the secret of the test, the prince knew he had found his true princess. No ordinary woman could have felt a tiny pea through so many layers of bedding, let alone a sharp pea shooter!
And so the prince married the girl, who turned out to be a real princess from a distant kingdom. They lived happily ever after, and the pea was placed in a museum as a reminder of the prince’s discerning eye and the power of a true princess’s sensitivity.
I was impressed. It’s the usual fairy tale but with a few cute twists and turns, and sure, it needs a little editing but from a writer’s point of view:
- It reads well
- The storyline is clear
- The sentence structures vary and are interesting
- There’s narrative flow and tension build
I’ve read a lot of short stories that sucked way more than this. (Ask me about the time I joined a group trying to read every short story published in English in a year. Or don’t, there were a lot of terrible short stories in that period!)
Of course, it needs some more testing.
Prompt 2: write a story about the princess and the pea but with a feminist view
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, there was a princess who had always been told that she must be delicate, quiet, and obedient to find a husband. But the princess was strong-willed and adventurous, and she dreamed of finding a partner who appreciated her for who she truly was.
One day, a prince from a neighboring kingdom arrived, looking for a bride. He was handsome and charming, but the princess sensed that there was something off about him. He seemed to be more interested in her appearance than in getting to know her as a person.
Determined to test the prince’s character, the princess decided to create a challenge that would reveal his true intentions. She asked her maids to prepare a bed with twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds, but she also added a single pea underneath them all.
The prince arrived that evening, and the princess welcomed him with grace and charm. But as they sat down to dinner, the princess couldn’t help but notice that the prince was more interested in the fine china and silverware than in her company.
After dinner, the prince retired to the bedchamber, where the princess had instructed her maids to place the bed. But the princess watched him from behind a hidden door, curious to see how he would react.
To her surprise, the prince tossed and turned all night, complaining of discomfort and pain. In the morning, he emerged from the chamber, rubbing his back and looking exhausted.
The princess revealed the pea to the prince and asked him what he thought it meant. The prince hesitated, unsure of how to respond. But the princess knew the truth. She knew that the prince was not interested in her as a person, but only as a prize to be won.
With a heavy heart, the princess bid the prince farewell and sent him back to his own kingdom. She knew that she would find a partner who would appreciate her for her strength, intelligence, and bravery, and who would not judge her based on her appearance or social status.
And so the princess lived a happy and fulfilling life, free to be herself and to pursue her dreams, knowing that she had proven herself to be more than just a delicate flower in need of protection.
We have emotions, boundaries and a new view point. Amazing! I couldn’t resist one more round…
Prompt 3: write a story about the princess and the pea but with a feminist view from the point of view of her cat
Once upon a time, in a kingdom far away, there lived a princess who was known throughout the land for her kindness, intelligence, and beauty. She had everything a young woman could want, but her life was not without its challenges.
As the princess’s cat, I had a front-row seat to her daily struggles. I watched as she defied the expectations of her society, refusing to be a mere object of beauty and desirability. I watched as she studied and read, soaking up knowledge like a sponge. And I watched as she faced the daunting task of finding a partner who would appreciate her for who she truly was.
One day, a prince arrived at the castle, looking for a wife. He was handsome and charming, but something about him rubbed the princess the wrong way. She couldn’t quite put her finger on it, but she knew that there was more to him than met the eye.
As the prince and the princess sat down to dinner, I watched from a nearby chair, perched on the edge of my seat. I could tell that the princess was sizing up the prince, trying to determine his true intentions.
After dinner, the princess instructed her maids to prepare a bed with twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds, and to place a single pea underneath them all. The prince retired to the bedchamber, and the princess watched from a hidden corner, curious to see how he would react.
As the night wore on, I watched as the prince tossed and turned, unable to find a comfortable position. He complained of discomfort and pain, and in the morning, he emerged from the chamber looking tired and disgruntled.
The princess revealed the pea to the prince and asked him what he thought it meant. He hemmed and hawed, unsure of how to respond. But I knew the truth. I knew that the princess had seen through his facade, and that she would not be taken in by his smooth words and charming smile.
With a heavy heart, the princess sent the prince back to his own kingdom, knowing that he was not the partner she was looking for. But she did not despair. She knew that she would find a partner who would appreciate her for who she truly was, and who would not judge her based on her appearance or social status.
And so the princess continued on with her life, always true to herself and always looking for ways to make the world a better place. And as her cat, I was proud to be by her side, watching as she defied the expectations of her society and blazed a trail for other young women to follow.
Obviously by now the repetition in the three versions may be annoying, but I found it an interesting exercise to understand the way ChatGPT was crafting the material. The cat POV was interesting, as ChatGPT basically just added some POV sentences to previously neutral POV paragraphs, rather than editing the sentences it had already created. It also understood that a cat is a pet, of a certain shape and behaviour, and different physicality (for example, perched on a chair). I would also draw note to the fact that while the original prompt was neutral, ChatGPT wrote in the POV of the male.
I hope you enjoyed my forays into creative writing through ChatGPT. It will be useful for people who don’t like writing (whaaaaaat? There are people who don’t like writing???) or who are strapped for time. And while I think it has some great applications, I also think that it’s just a tool that can be used well, or badly, like any other tool. I don’t think it’s all that much different from grammar or spell checkers. The author still needs to edit, understand, and update anything ChatGPT creates.
If I were to use the material I created today, I would use it as a springboard to develop the idea further, taking it out of ChatGPT while I did line and structural edits.
However, if you can’t evaluate if the output does what you need it to do, then you will always need to hire editors, copywriters, or writers. Experience, understanding human psychology, and understanding the ways human beings read and engage with text can’t be replicated by a bot. A bot can write a technically perfect essay but can’t write like a person who has lived experience, and with the advent of easy bot text, being human is going to be the most sought after aspect of online businesses. I’m just waiting for a robot that can load the dishwasher!
If you need some words rustled, text written or a website that converts, you need to talk to us.