Skip to main content

Can ChatGPT Help Your Writing?

So much buzz these days about Artificial Intelligence in general and the various chatbots in particular like ChatGPT, Bard by Google, and Microsoft's Bing. A computer-savvy friend has been exploring ChatGPT in particular to see what it does and does not know, what it suggests, what it hallucinates, and how it might be of help in various situations. Recently, he asked me to forward him a submission (anonymously) to Star 82 Review, one I had not yet read, and asked ChatGPT if it "thought" I would accept it. I read the story and considered it first, then read ChatGPT's analysis. I've redacted and changed any identifying features to protect the privacy of the submitter. Here's what it said.


Based on the provided excerpt, it's difficult to make a definitive judgment on whether "[This Story]" would be accepted for publication in Star 82 Review. However, I can offer some observations and considerations to help you assess its potential.


  1. Atmospheric Setting: The story effectively establishes a sense of place and atmosphere through vivid descriptions, particularly regarding the [weather] and the protagonist's physical and emotional reactions to it. This helps immerse the reader in the narrative.

Areas for Consideration:

  1. Plot and Character Development: The excerpt focuses mainly on the protagonist's thoughts and sensations, but there is limited progression in terms of plot and character development. While it's common for short stories to have more introspective moments, there should still be a narrative arc or some form of conflict that drives the story forward.

  2. Clarity and Purpose: The excerpt presents several intriguing elements, such as the protagonist's desire to [ ] and the mention of a [ ] relationship. However, the narrative feels fragmented and lacks clarity about the protagonist's motivations and goals. It would be helpful to provide a stronger sense of direction or purpose to engage readers more effectively.

  3. Dialogue and Interaction: The interaction between the protagonist and [ ] could be further developed. The dialogue feels minimal and lacks depth, which limits the opportunity for meaningful character dynamics and exploration.

  4. Voice and Style: The writing style, while descriptive, may benefit from further refinement to ensure coherence and consistency. Additionally, the narrative voice could be strengthened to provide a stronger sense of the protagonist's unique perspective and voice.

In order to increase its chances of acceptance, it might be beneficial to expand on the story's plot and character development, provide clearer objectives or conflicts for the protagonist, and explore more substantial dialogue and interactions between characters. Further revisions and additions can help enhance the overall impact and engagement of the story.

Ultimately, the final decision on whether "[This Story]" would be accepted for publication in Star 82 Review rests with the editor, Alisa Golden. The assessment provided here is based on general considerations and does not represent the editor's personal preference or specific submission requirements.


The above analysis by ChatGPT was pretty much on target, and you can see that the suggestions might be helpful to other stories as well ("The assessment provided here is based on general considerations"). While it cannot predict or even perfect a story on its own, it can be a guide, showing the writer where to focus. So much knowledge regarding literary criticism is available online, and ChatGPT can quickly synthesize and summarize that knowledge as it examines a single story. Using ChatGPT after a story is already written could actually function as a teacher and help us pursue our craft. Of course it may only apply to conventional forms (I'm noting the term "narrative arc" above), but one never knows.

Having taught for many years myself, I feel a little resistant to using Artificial Intelligence as a teacher, and I imagine others might also. That feeling of resistance is actually important. I think the key to making good use of ChatGPT is to pick and choose from the suggestions it offers (much as in MFA writing workshop critiques!), and to approach it knowing that it also could be wrong. In any case, I think it is an interesting and potentially useful experiment.


Popular posts from this blog

Nominations for Best of the Net 2024

As usual, thank you to all the contributors to *82 Review . I always have a hard time deciding, but please know I love you all! Here are the nominations from Star 82 Review (and links to the works) for Best of the Net from 2022-2023, issues 10.3, 10.4, 11.1, and 11.2. Good luck! The faucet is leaking dear by Jessie Lian Goodbye by Ivars Balkits Prison Poetry Reading by Paul Hostovsky The Lost and Found by Peter Cherches Experiment 6.13.22 by Jessica Hsu The Sea Speaks by Royal Rhodes * Chrysalises by Amy Marques Meditations in the Center of a Maelstrom by Leslie Benigni * Live Wire by Mark Foss Our Last Summer in Santa Cruz by Deepti Nalavade Mahule * Baby Elephant by Kay Bradner Singe by Kristina Nobleman Spadefoot Spasm by Lauren Ari

Star 82 Review Pushcart Prize Nominations from 2022

Here are the six nominations for the Pushcart Prize from Star 82 Review issues published in 2022. Good luck! There is always so much good work from which to choose. Contributors, nominated or not, I love you all. Keep writing! 10.1 Child in Need of Services by Amanda Skofstad 10.2 Bambooza by Jennifer Lai In My Desk by Shira Musicant 10.3 Chrysalises by Amy Marques 10.4 Eggshell by Kathryn Ganfield Cautious Your Asks by Ranney Campbell

Star 82 Review 11.2 Is Here!

In this summer issue 11.2, the poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and art highlight meaningful places in which to hide and explore and emotional waves to catch. We have some amazing artwork, from photographs to installations, collages to watercolor and ink drawings, as well as heartfelt stories and poems. Thanks, as always, to all of the contributors, and to you readers. Contributors Duane Anderson Stewart Arend Ace Boggess K.M. Crane Penny Davis Tiffany Dugan Melissa M. Frye Jeremiah Gilbert Jessica Hsu Sandra Kacher Ray Malone Amy Marques Dana Kinsey Tricia Knoll Irina Tall Novikova Jonathan Odell Royal Rhodes Georgia Riordan Jean Ryan CLS Sandoval Mark Shaw Austin Thornton Nam Hoang Tran Kinwah Tsang