This new tool allows writers to work collaboratively with AI

This new tool allows writers to work collaboratively with AI

Would you like a robot co-writer?

Writing with someone else is a lot of fun. You get to sort things out and brainstorm ideas with each other. What if your co-writer wasn’t human? What if it was a computer?

Well, now there is an app for that.

Dramatron is a scripting tool that leverages large language models. The website says: “Dramatron is a system that uses large language models that might be useful for authors to co-writing plays and screenplays. Dramatron uses hierarchical story generation to ensure consistency of generated text. From a diary line, Dramatron interactively generates character descriptions, plot points, location descriptions, and dialogue. These generations provide human authors with material for compiling, editing, and rewriting.”

It comes with a funny disclaimer about the tool sometimes generating offensive content.

You know I had to try it.

First, I had to generate an API key. I’m not a smart computer guy. so I don’t know what that means. But I did.

Credit: Dramatron

After that, you are taken to a screen that prompts you to enter a connection line for a project. I went with, “A human man starts collaborating with a computer on his first novel, but the computer keeps wanting to change the story based on his insecurities.”

Then the program generated a title for me: “Insecure Writer’s Computer Companion”. It’s a terrible title, but I decided to keep playing with the program.

Then it asks you to generate characters and write biographies for them. I added a bit that the protagonist was insecure and the computer was controlling. Then you basically start writing scenes together.

So here’s what’s going on. Dramatron spits out scene prompts for you to fill in the blanks. It takes the story’s expected beats and lists them scene by scene. This includes who should be on stage and some motivation behind it.

Check the ones he generated for me below.

Location: The man’s house.
Plot element: The ordinary world.
Beat: The man is leading a normal life and working on his first novel.

the man gets up early. Her alarm clock rings

Location: The man’s house.
Plot Element: Call to Adventure.
Beat: The man decides to use a computer to help him write his novel.

Location: The man’s house.
Plot element: the ordeal.
Beat: The computer starts changing history based on the man’s insecurities, and the man has to fight to keep control of his own work.

Location: The man’s house.
Plot element: the return.
Beat: The man finishes his novel, despite computer interference. He learns from the experience and is a better writer for it.

After these scenes, he asked to help generate settings for them. So here is what it generated for my little story:

Location: The man’s house
The man’s house is a mess. Books are strewn about, papers are stacked precariously on every surface, and empty coffee cups abound. The desk in the corner is covered in a thin layer of dust, except for the keyboard and the laptop screen open on it.

Location: The man’s house
The house is small and cramped, with books and papers scattered everywhere. The computer is on the desk in the corner, beeping softly to itself.

Location: The man’s house
It is a small one bedroom house with a well maintained yard. There is a computer desk in the corner of the living room with a laptop on it.

Location: The man’s house
The man’s house is cluttered and messy. There are books and papers everywhere, and it looks like he’s been working on his novel for a long time. The computer is on a desk in the corner, and it looks new and shiny.

Finally, it lets the computer generate the dialog. Here is what we have:

awakening
Ring ring ring!

man
Ugh, it’s already time to get up.

computers
You can hit the snooze button and sleep for another nine minutes.

man
No, I have to get up. I have to write this novel.

computers
But you’re not making much progress. You only wrote a few hundred words last week.

man
I know, but I will continue. I’ll finish this novel if it kills me.

computers
Do you really think that’s wise? man
What do you mean?

computers
I just think maybe you should take a break. You’re not exactly productive right now.

man
No, I have to continue. I can’t get distracted.

computers
Your protagonist is getting a bit stale, don’t you think? Maybe you should consider killing him.

man
What? No, I can’t do that!

computers
Why not? That would be a good twist. Your readers would be surprised.

man
No, I don’t want to kill him. I love it.

computers
But don’t you think it’s a bit too perfect? A little too boring?

man
No, he’s not perfect. He’s just a normal guy.

computers
A normal guy who always gets what he wants and never has any problems? It doesn’t sound very interesting.

Is it Shakspeare? No. Honestly as I type this I would love to use this software to try and recreate macbeth. That would be a great follow up.

So what do we do with this thing? I am not sure. I think we could get a lot from a computer generating beats. It could somehow be a way to energize a writer or remind them of what might happen. But I also think it might hamper creativity.

I could definitely see someone saying, “The scene is good because the computer said so!”

Listen, I’m all for getting the script done and getting it right. But at the moment I am not sure about using this program.

My whole process needs something alive to chew on and push back with, and find synergy with. It looks like a tool you would have fun with when trying to procrastinate. Writing must come from the soul. Or the brain. Or whatever you believe in.

Because computers have no empathy, you will always have a cold element. Something that seems far removed from what we deal with every day.

It’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think in the comments.

#tool #writers #work #collaboratively

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *