Elizabeth: Learning by Reading

robot_reading_a_bookWhile surfing around the internet recently I came across this article talking about how Google engineers have been feeding their Artificial Intelligence (AI) engine romance novels in an effort to improve its conversational skills.

I have to admit I was intrigued, though I could have done without the references to “bodice-ripping romance novels” and comments like “the plots are all essentially the same, the story is just being told with new words each time” that appeared in a majority of the reporting on the subject.

Anyway, engineers fed Google’s AI engine over 2,500 romance novels and then tasked the engine with writing sentences of its own, based on what it had learned.  The goal of the exercise was for the AI engine to learn how to craft sentences that were conversational and included nuances of tone and style not normally associated with computer-generated language. Continue reading

Jilly: Creative Re-Writing

Creative Re-writingHave you ever read or watched a story that frustrated you so much you re-wrote it in your head the way you wanted it?

I was still at school the first time it happened to me. A friend lent me Gone With The Wind, and since even then I was a committed lover of the happy ending, she assured me that everything turned out okay in the end. I sobbed through the final chapters waiting for the reversal that never came. I dealt with it by imagining my own version of the story, and I’ve never re-read the original since. I’m still on speaking terms with the ‘friend’ who caused my book trauma, but it was touch and go for a while.

I’ve been revisiting the question this week Continue reading

Elizabeth: That’s My Story

A fan of happily-ever-after from an early age.

A fan of happily-ever-after from an early age.

In her post on Sunday, Jilly talked about the kinds of things that would be an immediate turn off when considering a new book. Judging by the comments, we all have pretty strong ideas about what doesn’t work for us when it comes to our choice of reading material. The discussion got me to thinking about the flip side: what would get me to take a chance on a new book?

In the McDaniel program we talked about how an interesting cover can be a great way to catch a reader’s attention (harder for eBooks, but still possible). At the recent RWA conference I noticed that I was drawn to a number of book covers featuring cupcakes or cake (it’s possible I was hungry at the time) while other covers caught my attention with interesting titles and artwork. Regardless of what caught my eye initially, it was the story teaser on the back cover and the first few pages of the story that helped me decide what books I put back down and which ones I was willing to schlep all the way back home. Continue reading

Elizabeth: What Did You Read Wednesday?

Girls laying on the grass with booksThe Memorial Day festivities are done, students are graduating from schools around the country, and baseball season is in full swing. That should mean long, sunny days, perfect for any number of outdoor activities, but the weather in my neck of the woods has apparently not gotten the memo. The holiday weekend was cool and windy and there was definite moisture on the windows on my way to work this morning. Hardly conducive to barbeques or yard work, but perfect for curling up with some espresso, a cuddly cat, and a random draw from the To Be Read pile.

Here’s how my reading went: Continue reading

Michaeline: More Thoughts on Creativity

"What has brought me forth?" (1823, actor T.P. Cooke as Frankenstein, via Wikimedia Commons)

“What has brought me forth?” (1823, actor T.P. Cooke as Frankenstein, via Wikimedia Commons)

The Atlantic Online is doing a lot of interesting writing about writing. Here’s another article from them about creativity, and how it happens. The gist is some people are better wired for creativity than others, but without formative experiences, that creativity isn’t triggered.

In a lot of ways, theories about magic systems in fantasy seem to echo how we think about creativity. Continue reading