I want to take you on a little journey with me and ChatGPT.
It all started with me pasting the contents of a short story and asking it to evaluate the grammar. It responded that the grammar was fine, but offered a few suggestions.
Then things took an interesting turn. The following exchange shows my attempts at getting ChatGPT to write a passage of prose in differing styles. We’ll skip the first few steps to the point where the passage no longer resembles what I had originally written. I asked ChatGPT to rewrite the passage in a “dark” style. We’ll use the following result as a starting point.
Here it is:
As I stepped into the dimly lit house, my eyes struggled to adjust to the darkness. The elderly woman, still gripping my shoulder, led me through the foyer and into the larger room. The smell of dampness and decay grew stronger as we moved deeper into the house. The room was sparsely furnished, with an old couch, a couple of chairs, and a few dusty shelves along the walls. In the center of the room stood a large wooden chest, its lid half-open, revealing a pile of papers and what looked like old photographs.
The woman gestured for me to sit on one of the chairs while she shuffled over to the chest. She began to rummage through the papers, muttering to herself under her breath. I couldn’t make out what she was saying, but her tone was anxious, almost fearful.
I was starting to feel uneasy myself. I wondered if I should just leave and forget this strange encounter, but something about the woman’s demeanor made me hesitate. She seemed so desperate for my help, and I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more to her story than I could see.
Finally, she pulled out a worn envelope and thrust it towards me. “Please,” she said, her voice trembling. “You must help me. You’re the only one who can.”
I took the envelope and examined it. The handwriting was elegant and precise, but the ink had faded with age. The name on the front was unfamiliar to me: “Maryanne Sinclair.”
“I don’t understand,” I said, looking up at the woman. “Who is Maryanne Sinclair?”
The woman’s eyes widened, and a look of horror crossed her face. “You don’t know?” she whispered. “Oh, God, they’ve really done it. They’ve erased her from everyone’s memory except mine.”
I was thoroughly confused now, but the woman was in no condition to explain. She seemed to be on the verge of tears. “Please,” she said again, her voice pleading. “Take the envelope. Find Maryanne Sinclair. You’re the only one who can bring her back.”
I didn’t know what to make of this, but I felt a sudden surge of empathy for the woman. She seemed so lost and alone, and if there was anything I could do to help, I knew I had to try.
“I’ll take the envelope,” I said, tucking it into my pocket. “But can you tell me more? Who is Maryanne Sinclair? Why do you think I can help?”
The woman shook her head, her eyes flickering with fear. “I can’t say more,” she whispered. “They’re listening. They’ll find out. Just promise me you’ll try.”
I nodded, feeling more bewildered than ever. As I stood up to leave, the woman gripped my arm with surprising strength. “Be careful,” she hissed. “They’re watching you now.”
With that, she released me and shuffled back into the shadows of the house. I made my way back outside, feeling a chill run down my spine. What had I gotten myself into? And who was Maryanne Sinclair, and why was she so important?
Note that none of the above text looked anything like my original passage except for an old lady with secrets. My text had no reference to a “Maryanne Sinclair.” More in the next post. I promise that the further we go, the less wordy they become.