Friday Firesmith – Write the Great American Novel Hal

When I started writing in 1992, my use of word-processing software and a keyboard led to discussions with other writers. As they had never, not once, ever used a typewriter to write their work but laboriously put actual ink to paper, I could not possibly understand what they went through to produce a sentence which had to be pristine in every way in order to be preserved. 

Indeed, they went on to say handwritten writing was the only real and true writing, for it cost in ink and in paper, so the very process was expensive. The time it took was more dear to the writer than a file that could be deleted or modified willy-nilly. 

Even with a typewriter, speed was the only true advantage. Typing gave editors the ability to read the writing easily, so those with great handwriting had spent time honing their penmanship for no good reason, which was a crime. 

Computers, with word processing, was akin to eating out of a can, the Luddites informed me. 

We should have seen AI coming and with it, how writing would change just as surely as music and movies have changed. Music was once played on instruments, singers sang, and people listened or they did not. But with autotune, computers cleaning up the music, and tracks being made to play at other times, two people can sing a number one record and never meet. They may never know who played the instruments. Movies with computer-generated content may have actors that never existed at all in the form we see them on the screen. 

I thought writing would be immune to all this when I started writing, but I had been wrong about technology before. Educators are now trying to decide if the information contained in an essay is enough, or if the student ought to have done the actual writing, and trying to tell if it’s written by AI or human is getting harder. Movie writers went on strike to keep AI from writing movie scripts, but I think in the end, they will fail. 

Why would anyone pay a writer for a book when they can get a book written by AI for free? Paint artists will die out, for AI can produce art with stunning vistas and realistic portraits at little or no cost. 

And I am guilty of using the computer for spell-checking and grammar. The AI authors are taking it a step, a big step, further, but I can see the Luddites laughing at me now. I was writing this morning before the sun came up, and as I wrote, I wondered if this was akin to a blacksmith hammering away at a horseshoe while listening to the sound of a car engine as it drove by. Is the very device I use to write the same one someone will use to write the Great American Novel using AI? 

In the end, I doubt the ink slingers will fare any better than any other medium which can be taken over by computers. We live in a world where consumers expect to be fed their entertainment and content by computers. 

They will be, even if I am sitting on the sidelines, typing away for an audience of the cat. 

Take Care,


Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

Playing with AI

I’ve been doing some playing around with AI generated artwork for a project I’m working on. I’m using It’s pretty neat – and with good prompts you can really get an amazing result. Here are a few I’ve made.. well… a few that I had generated with the prompts I’ve supplied.

But this one below gave me a real chuckle – what is going on down in front there???

The prompt I used was: “Tournament Winners Trophy Celebration Champagne Confetti”

Feel free to check out starryai – this is not an ad – you’ll have to log in with your google or apple account, and you get 5 free prompts every day, or you can of course buy more.