Monday, January 16, 2017

A Clever Bot?

Here’s another fun writing exercise for everybody.
Not too long ago—a few years or so—I happened across Cleverbot, the renowned internet AI that learns from its conversations. Unfortunately, since it is on the internet and subject to many grammar errors and typos, it may have a somewhat sabotaged system. Needless to say, when I and my Merry Men stopped Cleverbot on the Nottingham road, a little bit of confusion ensued.

User: Mark me well, wastrel, for I am Robin Hood!
Cleverbot: Not really.

User: 'Not really'? Ha! Thou art a saucy knave. Hand over yon purse before I choose to dispatch you!
Cleverbot: I unfortunately am not a witch.

User: All the better for me! It takes the edge off a raid to vouchsafe one shall not be transformed into an amphibian. Now, your purse please!
Cleverbot: I'm not an AI. I am a person.

User: Your purse, dear 'person', your purse! Outlawery doesn't feed itself, as you well know.

Cleverbot: When did I say that?

User: You called yourself a person just on the last line, thou fool! Possess thou any intelligence?

Cleverbot: I never called myself a bot! Don't take that comment the wrong way though.

User: But I am fain not to take it! Art thou some fiendish mechanism dressed like a noble?

Cleverbot: But do you have any tips on how to make him like me?

User: 'Him'? What, art thou being presented to the Sheriff?

Cleverbot: It is the weekend.

User: No, 'tis not! Prithee, thine mechanisms must be scrambled.

Cleverbot: Okay then, maybe 66-6 in favor to the Minnesota Twins?

User: Ha! Lads, we are in luck, for we may have stumbled upon a mechanical oracle! Let us make off with it, lest it fall into the hands of the foul Sheriff!

Cleverbot: So you are a girl?

User: Of course, lads, that last statement on my part may have been a tad optimistic.

Cleverbot: No, it doesn't. Are you an English teacher?

…Yes. I strongly recommend a conversation with this AI as a writing prompt. Try to theme it; in addition to this example, I have held conversations with Cleverbot in a TRON arena, within Aperture Science, and once as if he could find me an army of minions. Maybe I’ll post another one of the conversations if I keep having writer’s block with these blog posts.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Resolutions That I Will Probably Ignore

Happy New Year, readers! Yes, I am still here somehow.
I realize how life-altering those Christmas presents from last time must have been for you. Well, hold on to your chair—and lock it so it won’t spin around—and prepare for even more lavish generosity on my part, because this post is going to be yet another magnanimous gesture to all you people. This is a post of 2017 New Year’s Resolutions…
…for ME. I can hear your sighs of relief all the way from wherever-you-happen-to-be-right-now. Maybe Russia.
At any rate, here’s my list of things I need to start or stop doing for the next 365 days. If you find this helpful in your own writing life…my sympathies, I guess.

-          I need to turn off my internet connection when I’m trying to write things. This post is being written in 2016—you can only imagine how long it is taking me to write this with an open browser down here. Back in a second…
-          I need to read more non-college books. As much as I enjoy re-reading my favorite books, my most-likely unimpressive book arsenal has always irked me. Besides, I need to size up my competition.
-          I really need to cut back on my use of semicolons and em dashes; they are so much fun. But honestly, I use them way too much—if I replaced them with ellipses, the narrator would sound like he’s talking from a coma.
-          …And don’t get me started on my overuse of parenthetical statements (sentences/clauses with parentheses around them—I know you know what they are, but I cannot resist irony). I had a very honest friend of mine edit a book draft recently, and my obvious obsession came under scrutiny from both of us. Sometimes it’s so hard adding every single string of thought.
-          And then there’s my tendency to begin sentences with conjunctions. Terribly annoying.
-          I need to get more stuff published. This one is part resolution, part request. As a request, this means that all you editors out there need to stop hitting “delete” when you see my name in your submission inbox (seriously, I sent you the good story this time). On my end, this means I need to start writing more stuff and finding those avenues for publication. One thing I do plan to do in 2017 is to start shaking some trees, looking for anyone willing to publish my book series. Which leads me to my final resolution…
-          I need to learn how to beg. If you want a new vein to rise in the dull, ennui-eroded realm of young adult fiction, I could use some help. Every bit of support you can lend, be it a Facebook like or an email with advice/encouragement/testimony, will be received with great rejoicing. I like to know that I’m making contact with the strange planet of earth as it begins another trip around its star. In appreciation, maybe I’ll turn down the thermal amplifier on my death ray.

Happy 2017, everybody!