Time and Talent

Heaven hath no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned

AdobeStock_130629499 pngThat’s the full quote, from William Congreve, a popular playwright from the late 17th-early 18th centuries. Specifically, it’s from his 1697 play, The Mourning Bride. (It’s also the play with the quote “Music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” frequently misquoted as “beast.”) Suffice to say, Mr. Congreve knew a little about human nature. “No rage like love to hatred turned” is well understood by every divorce lawyer in this country, if not the world.

We count on playwrights and fiction authors of every genre to tell us tales we can relate to, even if they’re set in some sort of alternate reality. It takes time and talent to develop those skills. Each author has his or her voice, or a collective voice when there are multiple authors. It’s not something AI can duplicate, as I’ve discovered through my writing group.

We did some experimenting with AI, and the results surprised–and pleased–me. While the same story might have been told, it wasn’t with the same voice. It was flat and, frankly, sounded like a mass market novel, not something original. Now, I know AI can be tweaked to come closer to that reality. But there is still room for the talented writer.

I understand, however, why the screenwriters are so concerned. So much of their voice is subject to interpretation by actors anyway. AI may come closer to mimicking their work with some skill. But it can’t truly do the job. Not yet. After all, AI pulls from work that’s already been created. Can it create plot twists? Political satire? I don’t know, and to a great extent, I don’t care.

As a writer myself, I sympathize with the screenwriters and wish them well in their negotiations. It’s more than just AI, of course, and I believe they’re trying to get ahead of the game with that one. The other issues they’re dealing with are apparently numerous, including fair pay.

AdobeStock_284900920 [Converted] smThe next time you watch TV, send a silent thanks to the writers and recognize their worth in the world of entertainment. The good ones will be quoted for a long time, because they know what makes us tick. And like I said, that takes time and talent.

Image Credits: Broken Heart © Galyna_P–stock.adobe.com; Television © Irene–stock.adobe.com

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