Meeting my own style

Winkletter  •  16 Mar 2023   •    

I have a long-running conversation with ChatGPT about writing style. I’ve had it rewrite passages in the styles of different authors, then describe the writing style, and then I’ll get it to write a new passage based on the style description it provided.

I’m trying to figure out how to create style instructions I can apply to the fiction ChatGPT writes. If its default style is plain vanilla HTML, I’m trying to create a CSS layout.

Finally today I gave it one of my favorite pieces of writing that I wrote last year and asked it to describe my style. Its answer matched exactly what I want from my own fiction.

  1. Conversational and engaging
  2. Humorous and quirky
  3. Vivid imagery and description
  4. Strong voice and characterization
  5. Fluid and natural pacing
  6. Blend of introspection and action
  7. Use of everyday details and observations

That describes my ideal writing style perfectly. I don’t always achieve it, but that list looks exactly like my target. I then asked it to write a passage about a violinist getting frustrated with her skills using those seven elements as a guide to the writing style, and I was surprised at how well ChatGPT matched my ideal style.

Perched on her favorite stool, Emma the violinist took a deep breath, mentally preparing herself for another round of practice. She glanced at her slightly chipped teacup, now a faithful witness to her daily frustrations. “Alright, Mr. Stradivarius,” she muttered to her trusty violin, “let’s try to make magic happen today without sounding like a cat on a rollercoaster.” With a smirk, she tucked the violin under her chin, took a moment to appreciate the familiar scent of rosin and old wood, and began to draw her bow across the strings. As the first notes filled the air, she couldn’t help but notice the way the sunlight streaming through the window made her little apartment feel just a bit like a stage.

This has to be my favorite piece of writing that ChatGPT produced so far. I would want to read the rest of this story.


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