A Redhead Walks into a Bar: Experiences of Writing Fiction with Artificial Intelligence

Maliheh Ghajargar, Jeffrey Bardzell, Love Lagerkvist

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

13 Scopus citations


Human creativity has been often aided and supported by artificial tools, spanning traditional tools such as ideation cards, pens, and paper, to computed and software. Tools for creativity are increasingly using artificial intelligence to not only support the creative process, but also to act upon the creation with a higher level of agency. This paper focuses on writing fiction as a creative activity and explores human-AI co-writing through a research product, which employs a natural language processing model, the Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3 (GPT-3), to assist the co-authoring of narrative fiction. We report on two progressive - not comparative - autoethnographic studies to attain our own creative practices in light of our engagement with the research product: (1) a co-writing activity initiated by basic textual prompts using basic elements of narrative and (2) a co-writing activity initiated by more advanced textual prompts using elements of narrative, including dialects and metaphors undertaken by one of the authors of this paper who has doctoral training in literature. In both studies, we quickly came up against the limitations of the system; then, we repositioned our goals and practices to maximize our chances of success. As a result, we discovered not only limitations but also hidden capabilities, which not only altered our creative practices and outcomes, but which began to change the ways we were relating to the AI as collaborator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAcademic Mindtrek 2022 - Proceedings of the 25th International Academic Mindtrek Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781450399555
StatePublished - Nov 16 2022
Event25th International Academic Mindtrek Conference, Academic Mindtrek 2022 - Tampere, Finland
Duration: Nov 16 2022Nov 18 2022

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference25th International Academic Mindtrek Conference, Academic Mindtrek 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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