What’s the next level for writing?

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photo courtesy http://writingexercises.co.uk/random-image-generator.php

 

Writers and readers, would you like your books to be written at the next level? That is, written not by a human, but by an artificial intelligence?

Yes?

Good, because it’s coming. It’s here.

No?

Too bad, because soon robots will take writer’s jobs (everybody’s jobs).

In the meantime, here’s a website that lets you ease into a world without human fiction writers:

WritingExercises.co.uk

This site has a list of links (on the left side) which lets you generate “random” story elements, such as story titles, character descriptions, and dialogue.

I played around a bit, and here’s what I got:

Title: Poisoned Forest

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Town Name: Tombminster

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Character Name #1: Elaine Barnes (mixed and matched first / last names with Janice Wilkinson)

Character Description: A selfish 60 year-old woman

Traits: shy, unkind, materialistic

Job Title: Lighthouse Keeper

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Character Name #2: Janice Wilkinson (mixed and matched first / last names with Elaine Barnes)

Character Description: A helpful 33 year-old woman

Traits:  idealistic, decisive, compassionate

Job Title: Surveyor

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Quickie Plot:

The story begins in a church crypt
Someone mistakenly believes s/he has killed someone
It’s a story about learning from mistakes
Your character offers to lend a helping hand

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Random Dialogue (hacked this a bit):

“You came back!”

“Please don’t argue. You have to leave right now, you aren’t safe here.”

“This isn’t just about you. It’s about what’s best for all of us.”

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List of 3 Random Words:

education ghost coffin

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List of 8 Random Words (more=merrier):

queen
dominate
rotten
hamburger
confound
mad
pancake
shun

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More intriguing random stuff (I forget which links I clicked):

The old house, with its wildly overgrown garden, was silent, secretive

An imaginative 66 year-old woman, who comes from a poor background, lives in a terraced house and tends to be a little clumsy.

A generous 33 year-old woman, who comes from a poor background, lives in a caravan and tends to drink too much.

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So if you’re looking for story prompts, check it out. I’m going to put the above in a back burner folder and use it as a springboard for a future story, robots be damned. But in the meantime, feel free to jump on any of the random elements I found for your own stories.

Writer and multi-leveled castle-dweller Tom Merriman provided the theme for this post; thanks, Tom!

For a comprehensive list of partial and full stories, click here.

She, He, Other

 

The English language (and most other languages) reflects a superfluous focus on gender through gender-specific personal pronouns. This is one reason so many people fixate on gender, and are unsure of how to relate to a person whose gender is unknown. Some people go so far as to assign a gender to a person regardless of mixed gender identification or non-gender identification. This obsessive gender-assignment also applies to non-living objects such as vehicles and weather phenomena. Planes, trains, automobiles, and ships are often feminized with the personal pronouns “she,” “her,” and “hers.” Tornadoes, tsunamis, and the like are either feminized or masculinized depending on their assigned anthropomorphizing personal names. Perhaps most nonsensical gender-philic habit is using “he,” “him,” and “his” as default personal pronouns. Part of the solution would be using gender-neutral pronouns

Consider the following scenario-

Pat asks Robin. Robin answers Pat.

Now we have personal pronoun combinations to consider-

She thinks her answer is good.

He thinks his answer is good.

He thinks her answer is good.

She thinks his answer is good.

Assuming the “answer” in the sentences could either belong the the answerer or the answeree:

“She” and “her” could both refer to Pat, or could both refer to Robin. Likewise, “he” and “his” could both refer to Pat, or could both refer to Robin. Or the feminine and masculine pronoun groups could be bisected between Pat and Robin.

Without additional information about Pat and Robin, it is impossible to assign gender-specific pronouns without possibly getting it wrong. And this isn’t even considering Chris, who is intersexed, and Bobbie, who is genderqueer, and Tracy, who is a genderless AI.

So what the heck do we do? If we use gender-neutral pronouns to refer to Pat, Robin, Chris, and Morgan, we eliminate the risk of getting their genders- or lack of genders- wrong. Without context, we still don’t who is doing the asking and who is doing the thinking, but we won’t miss-assign genders. Using gender-neutral language will eliminate gender faux pas.

South Asian hijras.

Why is this so important? People tend to be influenced by their environments, and language is a specific environment of the mind. If an environment you are experiencing and using is supporting faulty gender assignments, you will tend to adapt the faulty assignments as valid within your environment. This linguistic relativity may perpetuate sexism

Obviously, the use of gender-neutral language is not yet widely accepted. People find gender-neutral pronouns clumsy and dismissible because they aren’t taught in enough schools with enough consistency.

So in the meantime, I see nothing wrong with “they” as an all-inclusive personal pronoun, though assigning a plural pronoun to a singular noun may seem awkward at first. I also see nothing wrong with “it” as an all-inclusive personal pronoun, but most people, including transhuman Zinnia Jones, do:

  

 

What is your opinion of gender-neutral language?