Subtitled: It Isn’t That Much Easier

I’ve been working on a very self-indulgent novella for a couple of weeks now. (Hint: it’s set on Consecra, it’s angsty as anything, and it stars my favourite emotionally-repressed Bolfenni). It’s actually based on something I wrote years back – seriously – before I’d even finished Loyalty or Sacrifice.

(What can I say? I really like this character. I’m also slightly obsessed with pre-insurrection Consecra, because I’m weird. So.)

Anyway I had this ancient draft written in third-person present tense, and I needed it converted to third-person past tense, and that kinda sucks to do manually. So I just asked ChatGPT to do it for me.

It totally mostly worked. Some things I learned:

  • See how I specified “Simple Past” tense? That’s because when I just said “past tense,” ChatGPT converted into the Past Perfect, which it turned out read really, really funny.
  • I pre-specified the task (“convert to Simple Past tense”) with the hopes that I wouldn’t have to keep telling it what to do with every excerpt. This only worked for about five excerpts at a time… at which point ChatGPT would forget what it was supposed to be doing, and start making up its own story (!) šŸ˜”
What is this?! I didn’t write it
  • It also sometimes gave me lovely, unasked-for feedback when it forgot what it was supposed to be doing:
  • It can only handle about 500 words at a time, so I had to copy-and-paste multiple times. That was okay though, it was still easier than manually converting to [simple] past tense.

But in the end, it worked, and I have a couple thousand words of New & Improved Angst ready for my novella!

If you want to try this yourself, go to ChatGPT, tell it to convert to [simple] past tense, and copy about 500 words at a time into the prompt. It should spit out your newly-past-tensed story… unless it decides to write it itself. Lol.

By Jade

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