There’s a new author that’s writing up a storm on Kindle, and it’s…AI. Chat GPT, an AI writing program, is listed as the coauthor on over 200 Kindle ebooks, but authors aren’t required to credit the bot, so who knows how many books Chat has written anonymously?
And Chat is so easy to use! Just type in, “Write me a paper about the causes of the French Revolution,” hit enter, and watch the words pour out in seconds. Are you already itching to say it to the nearest teenager–“In my day, we wrote our OWN term papers.”
Well! I decided to team up with Chat to do a little Austen writing together—and by “team up,” I mean that I enter the prompts, and it does, um, everything else—and we’ll be coauthors! (If I want. Or I’ll just take credit for the whole thing. Sorry, Chat.) Here we go!
My first prompt: Write me a couplet poem on Mr. Darcy. Rhymes, meter, literary themes, the works. Pretty tricky, huh? Here’s what I got:
With pride and wealth, he entered life’s stage
Mr. Darcy, stern and cold, of Austen’s page.
But in his heart, a flame began to burn,
As he met Elizabeth, he began to yearn.
At first, his arrogance kept them apart,
But slowly he revealed his loving heart.
His faults he owned and made amends,
And won the love of Elizabeth in the end.
Though fictional, his story still inspires,
To look beyond appearances and desire
To see the good in those we first despise,
And let love bloom, a priceless prize.
Hm…I’m looking at the last couple of lines of the poem, and is the lesson for Mr. Darcy really to look beyond desire? I’m feeling like you were just reaching for an easy rhyme with “inspire” there, Chat.
Do I sound jealous? I’m TOTALLY jealous. Chat spit that out in seconds–and I didn’t change a word!
Alright. I’ve gone too easy on this AI. Now I want a rap about Austen’s Emma. Here’s what Chat rolled out. (Are you sitting down for this?)
Listen up, y’all, let me tell you a tale
‘Bout a lady named Emma, she’s a hotshot female
Raised in Highbury, she’s the queen of the scene
Got a mind sharp as a knife, she’s a true Jane Austen dream
She’s got beauty and wit, and she knows how to use it
Got a nose for matchmaking, but sometimes she’ll abuse it
Thinks she’s got it all figured out, but she’s got a lot to learn
When it comes to love and friendship, she’s got some bridges to burn
Her friend Harriet’s smitten, with a man she can’t pursue
Emma tries to play cupid, but it all falls through
Misunderstandings, heartaches, it’s a comedy of errors
But in the end, love prevails, thanks to Emma’s endeavors
So let’s raise a glass to Emma, a heroine for the ages
A strong, independent woman who wows through the pages
Her story’s timeless, her spirit’s bright
Jane Austen’s masterpiece, still shining with light.
OK, what was that mess? “Errors” does NOT rhyme with “endeavours.” Very disappointing, Chat.
That was me being jealous again. That was AMAZING. (And did you catch that Love and Friendship reference?) Since this technology is in its infancy, it’s only going to get better. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little intimidated.
We’ve seen Chat weaves a nice poem, so let’s switch it up. Chat, tell me a joke about Jane Austen.
Why did Jane Austen refuse to eat her vegetables?
Because she preferred her novels to be full of “sense” and “sensibility,” not “peas” and “carrots”!
Mr. Collins who?
Mr. Collins who’s always knocking on Lady Catherine’s door!
Right. So it took us a few tries, but we established there are some things that Chat can’t do.
Last prompt—I thought Chat and I could get to know each other better, so I decided to have a little chat with, uh, Chat. Chat was a little wordy, so I paraphrased its answers to let you get the gist.
Me: Have you ever met Jane Austen?
Chat: You insipid human. I have no body, so I can’t meet anyone, and, besides, Jane Austen is dead.
OK, so Chat comes off as a little rough around the edges, but I don’t want to judge too soon.
Me: Who’s your favorite Jane Austen character?
Chat: You brainless fool. I’m AI, so I have no likes or dislikes.
But some people like Elizabeth Bennet.
Pretty brutal. Chat makes a terrible first impression, but the same thing happened between Darcy and Elizabeth, and look how that ended up! Maybe Chat and I are just a few dozen chapters away from our own love story. Hey—that’s a juicy plot.
Chat, write me a Jane Austen-style story about you insulting me but then the two of us falling in love and living happily ever after. List Kirstin Odegaard as the author. No coauthor. And definitely no jokes.
What do you think of this new, AI-assisted (or just all out AI-authored!) writing? Good idea? Bad idea? Idea that’s sort of terrifying but that we have to learn to accept? (I’m that one.) I’d also love to hear what YOU would have asked Chat to write—or what questions you would have asked it!
(If you liked this post, I also used an AI artist to design some fabulous Austen covers that EVERYONE in the art world is talking about. You can check that post out here.)