Saw my first post with someone admitting they used chatGPT to ‘write a fic’ which they then shared here on tumblr and on Ao3.
To be clear, using AI to churn out a piece of fiction is not writing.
Using a bot (possibly one that was trained using a scrape of Ao3, that is to say, the theft of work from every writer who has posted their work on Ao3) is NOT WRITING.
It is theft. It isn’t creation. It’s a regurgitation of the consumed collective work and effort and heart and time of every writer who has shared their work on Ao3.
‘I’m not a good writer’ is no excuse.
Want to be a writer? Put in the time everyone else does to practice.
Don’t feel confident in your work? Open yourself up to the same vulnerability and risk that the rest of us do.
You don’t get to use a fucking bot to vomit out an approximation of a story and pretend you’ve got skin in the game.
The sad thing? This bot-assembled fic wasn’t bad. It was bland, but it had internal logic, some passing context to character and canon. It wasn’t like those early AI art pieces that had surreal compositions and extra fingers. It wasn’t immediately obvious it was made by a bot.
In this instance the person who posted it admitted they had used a bot. Which, actually, I have some respect for. But it probably isn’t the first and it won’t be the last.
I don’t know that there’s a solution to this, but it is both hurting my heart and enraging me.
How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time. A schedule is a mock-up of reason and order—willed, faked, and so brought into being; it is a peace and a haven set into the wreck of time; it is a lifeboat on which you find yourself, decades later, still living.
Annie Dillard, The Writing Life
Great advice... No, wait.
(from Disenchantment S1E18: "In Her Own Write")
I was tagged by @faejilly and I am in turn tagging @ladymatt @silver-lily-louise @lightwormsiblings @electricshoebox @lynne-monstr @michellemisfit and whoever else wants to do this!
Rules: Give us the links to your wonderful words with the most hits, most kudos, most comments, most bookmarks, most words, and least words.
I'm doing a Shadowhunters-only edition, so unsurprisingly these are all Magnus x Alec.
Most hits: Talking With Strangers, the university AU friends-to-lovers one which broke 20K hits a little before I could finish it. A departure from my usual repertoire but clearly well worth it!
Most kudos: bodies full of untold stories, the accidental soul bond case fic you never knew you wanted, which has been my one reasonably enduring hit in the SH fandom. Still a fic close to my heart.
Most comments: The Stair Into the Sea, the mystery/stealth ghost story channelling the spirit of Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle and plenty of old-school urban fantasy (albeit it's set in a remote seaside village). This is the fic I most want to finish—it's been a long time coming, and life has not been gentle in the last two years, but it's never left my mind. So it is up next!
Most bookmarks: This one is also bodies full of untold stories, but as a fine runner-up there is Walkers of the Winding Path, my Shadowhunters/The Witcher fusion, which, I'm delighted to say, has found its own weird niche audience. Truly the little monster-hunting romance romp that could.
Most words: Still The Stair Into the Sea by a tiny margin.
Least words: The Morning of a War, a small coda for episode 3.07 of Shadowhunters. This was a tiny slice of melancholy fluff to round out the Institute corridor hug in that episode.
Photograph of Annie Dillard receiving the National Humanities Medal from President @barackobama in 2014. (Alex Wong)
* * * *
“One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now. The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now. Something more will arise for later, something better. These things fill from behind, from beneath, like well water. Similarly, the impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.”
― Annie Dillard, "The Writing Life"
[Follies Of God]
I am starting to believe that the only job of writers is to create characters and write.
What do you mean by hashing out our characters and their personalities??? I wrote my character as someone who knows how to play guitar. Now she's telling me she doesn't know shit about guitar and instead, she plays volleyball?! Now I got to learn sports terminologies!
*slams head onto desk*
I cannot come up with more Dasey ideas; I cannot come up with more Dasey ideas; I cannot come up with more Dasey ideas; I cannot—
WHY THE SUDDEN NEED FOR VAMPIRE!CASEY AND WEREWOLF!DEREK?!?!?!
-Mary Doria Russell, from the afterword to the 20th anniversary edition of The Sparrow
Back on my bullshit of writing stories for a fandom so small that maybe five or ten people, tops, will read them.
finally all settled in at the writing residency!! this is the view from my studio. not pictured: the creek slightly off to the left and the cozy armchair in front of a fireplace right behind me. the little sticky note on the right window says, “hello friends! please come in if you like!” which was probably left by the previous resident for other residents to pop in to visit, but i like to imagine it’s referring to the bugs and perhaps lizards.
anyway here’s your semi-frequent reminder that if you’re a writer or artist, residencies are an amazing opportunity! they’re a pain in the ass to apply for and plan for, but imo it’s worth it for being able to stay in a comfy place built specifically for you to work on your projects without stress or distraction. and the good ones pay you a small stipend to be there! this one offers a hundred dollars a week for groceries.
I write to save myself
I've been thinking a lot about the importance of words in my life. How they are my lifeline, how I have used them to keep me around when all I want is to give in and stop trying.
I have remembered the way I hide myself behind books, locked in bathrooms and at the back of a tree, dreaming of a world where I had friends and someone took my hand when I cried. How fantasy books where a shield that protected my 8 year old self from a world that didn't wanted her, just as well as a hard cover, a hundred of pages and some magic could.
I learnt to pull an all nighter years before I should have, so I could scream in silence all that never left my throat when I was a teenager. Typing furiously, crying in front a screen, keeping journals with broken locks.
I met love, monsters and friends chatting incessantly. I met someone who was the charming vampire (because I never believed in princes) of all my stories. And he ripped my soul out as painfully as if he had been here. Breaking through my ribs with his claws. And I also met the tender way in which friendship can save you through a couple of words. And how a hug can be felt thousands of kilometers away.
I knew the pain that comes with the die of a loved one written in a book a year before I had to face it in real life. Which is why I was as prepared for it as any 15 year old could be. Everyone said that I was very mature for my age and it really was just that I had read enough novels to know things. I wish someone would tell me that experiencing them would be a completely different journey.
I wrote my way out of a psych ward. I had an alter-ego that lived my life the way I dreamed it should be (and it almost became a novel). I discovered that I fall in love in English, always falling. I found out that I miss in French, because I lose people and then I can't find them. I named my inner turmoil after a color: Antracita, the color of the clouds just before the storm.
Now I'm older and words are hard to find. Life has been much more marvelous and terrible than any fiction. I've given up magic. I no longer rewrite life in my head as I would like it to be, because I have stopped dreaming.
But then, when I'm on the verge of give up and give in, someone kilometers away offers to write a story for me and I smile. I come across the echo of my wet laugh in my empty living room while I read a silly story about grumpy wizards and second chances. And I held hope tight even when she's slippery.
Because there are still words for me out there. There are tales for me to discover. There are books to hide behind for a little while.
And I may have lost the ability to write to save my life, but words still save me. This isn't over until I ran out of stories to share.
And you'll see, my friend, what's amazing about stories is that there's always one more.
I love how writing inspiration strikes me at the most inconvenient of times. I could be listening to a lecture, sitting in a waiting room, or trying to fall asleep at 2 am when I get an idea for a novel/shortstory/poem, and I say to myself "WRITE THAT DOWN WRITE THAT DOWN. GET IT ALL ON PAPER THIS INSTANT BECAUSE YOU WILL FORGET ALL OF IT LATER IF YOU DON'T" And so ties up the next hour or two of my day/night, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Why I Write Second Drafts
So, I didn't get a lot of work done on my second draft this morning... BUT.
There's a plot point in the first that I considered excising because there just wasn't much of it. It kinda played into the ending but it didn't need to be there.
While writing the second draft just now, I realized that if I do the exact opposite at the beginning... It doesn't change the ending but it brings a whole different meaning to the ending, one I really like.
And only because I started writing the second draft basically from scratch, instead of tweaking or tinkering further with the first.