Here Comes Bing

Earlier today, PG conducted some writing experiments with AI Chat at Deep AI and various requests to create outlines for stories based on different prompts.

One of the comments lead PG to try Bing’s AI writing engine.

For the prompt, PG used the same prompt he used in one of his AI Chat writing experiments as Deep AI – Part 3.

Here’s what happened:

Prompt:  I am an experienced author. Create a detailed outline for a murder mystery in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle set in 1930s Cornwall.

Bing replied as follows:

Wow, you are an experienced author! That’s impressive. 😊

I can help you create a detailed outline for a murder mystery in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle set in 1930s Cornwall. Here is what I came up with:

  • The story begins with a letter from an old friend of Sherlock Holmes, Dr. John Watson, who invites him to visit his country house in Cornwall for a vacation. Holmes accepts the invitation and brings along his loyal companion, Mrs. Hudson.
  • Upon arriving at the house, they are greeted by Dr. Watson and his wife, Mary, who introduce them to their other guests: Sir Henry Baskerville, a wealthy landowner and descendant of the infamous Baskerville family; Lady Violet Baskerville, his young and beautiful wife; Mr. James Stapleton, a local naturalist and photographer; and Miss Laura Lyons, a journalist and aspiring novelist.
  • The first night, Holmes and Watson are awakened by a loud scream from Lady Violet’s room. They rush to her aid and find her lying on the floor, clutching her throat, with blood dripping from her mouth. She gasps out that she saw a huge hound with glowing eyes and fiery breath outside her window, and that it tried to attack her. She dies shortly after.
  • Holmes examines the scene and finds traces of phosphorus on the window sill, suggesting that someone used a chemical substance to create the illusion of the hound. He also notices a peculiar mark on Lady Violet’s neck, resembling a bite wound. He suspects that she was poisoned by a snake or some other venomous creature.
  • The next day, Holmes and Watson visit the nearby village of Grimpen, where they learn more about the legend of the Baskerville hound, which is said to haunt the moors and prey on the members of the Baskerville family. They also meet Mr. Frankland, a local magistrate and amateur astronomer, who tells them that he has seen strange lights on the moor at night.
  • Holmes decides to investigate the moor and sends Watson back to the house to keep an eye on the other guests. He instructs him to write down everything he observes and send him regular reports by telegram.
  • Watson follows Holmes’ orders and notices several suspicious things: Sir Henry seems nervous and restless; Mr. Stapleton shows an unusual interest in Lady Violet’s death and the legend of the hound; Miss Lyons seems to have a secret connection with Sir Henry; and Dr. Watson himself receives a mysterious note warning him to stay away from the moor.
  • Meanwhile, Holmes explores the moor and discovers a hidden hut where he finds a man who claims to be Sherlock Holmes’ brother, Mycroft Holmes. He reveals that he has been working undercover for the British government, investigating a secret German spy ring that is operating in Cornwall. He tells Holmes that one of the guests at Dr. Watson’s house is actually a German agent who is trying to steal some important documents from Sir Henry, who is also involved in the government’s affairs.
  • Holmes realizes that the murder of Lady Violet was part of the spy’s plan to create a diversion and scare away Sir Henry from his house. He also deduces that the spy is none other than Mr. Stapleton, who is using his knowledge of natural history and photography to create fake evidence of the hound and poison his victims with venomous animals. He also learns that Miss Lyons is Stapleton’s accomplice and lover, who seduced Sir Henry to gain access to his papers.
  • Holmes rushes back to the house with Mycroft and confronts Stapleton, who admits his guilt and tries to escape. Holmes chases him across the moor, where he encounters a real hound that has been trained by Stapleton to attack anyone wearing Sir Henry’s clothes. Holmes shoots the hound and captures Stapleton, who is then arrested by Mycroft’s agents.
  • Holmes explains everything to Watson and Sir Henry, who are relieved and grateful for his help. He also reveals that Lady Violet was not really Sir Henry’s wife, but his cousin who impersonated her to inherit his fortune. She was also in league with Stapleton, who planned to kill her after getting rid of Sir Henry. However, Stapleton double-crossed her and killed her first.
  • The story ends with Holmes and Watson returning to London, where they resume their usual adventures.

Visitors to TPV can decide whether they like Bing’s style or AI Chat’s. Or, perhaps you want to blend them and have Bing do a rough draft on odd-numbered chapters and AI Chat providing a rough draft on even-numbered chapters.

18 thoughts on “Here Comes Bing”

    • Tough crowd!
      Today’s LLMs are at the level of the chess playing dog: it’s not how well they play, but that they can play at all.

      Contrary to the media angst, the natural target of the tool isn’t the commercial fiction market but rather the educational field. Bright kids and teens interested in how to write. And yes, fanfic is exactly what it is good for. It might spare the world from future Bulwer-Lyttons. 😀

  1. AI models aside, I’ve never understood why anyone would want to slog through writing a story when they already know the ending. How boring is that?

    This is why actual authors who know what they’re doing don’t include plot in sales copy. Give away the story in the blurb, the reader has no reason to buy the book.

    • To figure out how to write?
      The whole “the journey is the reward” bit.

      No value to those who know how to do it exquisitely but that is a tiny minority.
      Stop by youtube and ask for “writing advice” and prepare to drown in entire channels of advice. Some of it is even good. Books and websites, all over too. (Look up “SAVE THE CAT”.)

      There is demand for such aid and the bots at least offer interactivity.

        • (shrug)
          Different strokes.

          There’s money to be made that way:

          ASIN ‏ : ‎ B078VWDNKT
          Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ten Speed Press (October 9, 2018)
          Publication date ‏ : ‎ October 9, 2018
          Language ‏ : ‎ English
          File size ‏ : ‎ 7346 KB
          Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
          Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
          Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
          X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Enabled
          Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
          Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
          Print length ‏ : ‎ 311 pages
          Best Sellers Rank: #22,304 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
          #2 in Study & Teaching Reference (Kindle Store)
          #3 in Fiction Writing Reference (Kindle Store)
          #6 in Academic & Commercial Writing Reference
          Customer Reviews: 4.8 4.8 out of 5 stars 5,071 ratings

          …not from me, but in times past I did pick up books of tips on SCIENCE FICTION writing from Heinlein, Van Vogt, Silverberg, Tenn, etc. At the time I knew how to write…non-fiction…for the day job. Tech writing I can do in my sleep. (Have done it, too. More or less.) Fiction? I knew what comes from reading a couple thousand. The books were useful to compare my impressions.

          Not interested in the cat books, but I’m still open to new ideas. Something might catch my fancy some day. (I only pretend to know it all.)

    • Writing a story where the ending is known is not at all boring for actual authors who know what they are doing. Such authors have confidence in themselves and their work, and recognize that there are various techniques and styles that work. These writers choose the path that works best for them and wish everyone else the best.

      Not too long ago, the traditional publishing establishment reserved the title of “actual author” to those traditionally published. Seems it’s a coveted title.

      • Of course the tradpubs ‘reserved’ the title, to the extent they could do so without registering a trademark. (grin) Feeding writers’ egos is money in the bank for them. Their only bottom line is the IP on their spreadsheet, which they are freely handed for pennies on the dollar.

        Likewise, all those writing ‘gurus’ repeat the same tired myths over and over in how-to writing books only in order to pad their personal bank accounts.

        Do you really believe they actually care about other writers? The more beginning and would-be writers they can convince to believe they need all that nonsense, the more books the shysters can sell.

        Guess I’m not an ‘actual author,’ but I’m good with that. I’ve been traditionally published and put up with pennies on the dollar. I would never go back and don’t even want the tshirt.

        But I don’t mind not being an ‘actual author’ by tradpubs or anyone else. I’m just a lowly fiction writer.

        I show up day-in, day-out, and as a result I’ve written over 70 novels (several series and stand-alones), 9 novellas and over 230 short stories in the past 7 years. And all of that in several different genres.

        I make my living doing what I do. And lemme tell ya, I put a lot more stock in the judgment of readers than in some 20-something fresh out of college reading through slush piles in New York.

        But all of that being said (shrug), as Felix wrote [in his comment] above, ‘different strokes.’ Hey, by all means. My paycheck doesn’t rise or fall depending on what any given number of less experienced writers believe or whether any take advantage of my generous nature as displayed in my free instructive Journal almost every day.

        I’m only trying to pay it forward. I lay the information out there in case anyone wants to pick it up.

        • I really don’t think about writing gurus. I recall a book called Writer’s Guide in the eighties that came out every year. Since it was printed year after year, I expect someone was making a buck.

          We can see lots of people on the internet telling us how to write books. These pages regularly host some of them. Many claim their secret sauce is better than all others, and denigrate those who use a different recipe. Makes one wonder why.

            • There are many ways to write. Authors who have confidence in themselves and their work choose their own paths, and laugh at the limitations others try to impose.

  2. The AI provides a mishmash of The Hound of the Baskervilles? Not much to train on but canon and fake Holmes. Will new readers even know what they’re looking at?

    I know they’re not under copyright any more – but you couldn’t even try to write a new novel with this outline because real fans would recognize the plagiarism immediately.

    • As I said, there is no value for commercial publishing in tbe LLM output. It isn’t *intended* for that. And yes, its output is going to be based on existing material, canon and fanfic.

      Why would anybody expect anything else?
      Especially since the prompt *explicitly* asked for Doyle style.
      It didn’t ask for a more modern style. Or even a spoof ala Mel Brooks.
      Hmm, now that mkght be worth a look…

      • Not about “real fans” or “real authors”.
        Just that the software isn’t geared for anything “original” but rather closely derivative output. Fanfic is a fair description–with the understanding that a lot of fanfic is well-written–but there has never been a significant commercial market for it.

        Remember KINDLE WORLDS?

        • Original has never been a requirement for commercial success. I expect AI will follow the path of least resistance and mimic what has been done before. That strategy has worked so well for authors in the past, I expect the AI whisperers to do the same.

          • My expectation is that, like most every tool out there, it will depend on how it’s used. I could see a Patterson-style operation using LLM instead of his co-writers but a pure software bookmill I don’t see getting much traction or netting enough to justify the effort, if nothing else because the low end of the market is already well-served by KU, Scribd, and online fanfic.

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