Using ChatGPT as a Beta Reader

Most of this post is the conversation between me and GPT regarding my writing. I"m using it as a casual evaluator and advisor. The PROMPT is what I've written to GPT and what follows unless I mark it otherwise, is what GPT responded to me. I found the exchange very helpful, and the ability to get feedback on the prose so quickly (minutes instead of days or weeks for friends and beta readers to get back to me) amazing.


:PROMPT:: Analyze for ease of reading, style, character voices and meaning: 

The ash falls in the fog
covering cars on sidewalks
drifting slowly still 
to lay across the dead
like snow, sans clean
sans crisp, sans closure

 GPT: This is a haiku-like poem with an evocative image of ash falling in the fog and covering cars and the dead like snow. The use of the word "sans" (meaning without) adds an interesting touch of ambiguity and hints at the idea of something missing or incomplete.


GPT: The poem captures a sense of loss and decay, as the ash symbolizes destruction and death, and the image of the dead being covered in ash creates a powerful sense of mourning and finality. The slow drift of the ash also emphasizes the sense of stillness and quiet that often accompanies grief.

GPT: The language is simple and direct, with a clear focus on the image of the falling ash. However, some may find the lack of punctuation and capitalization to be distracting or confusing, as it makes the poem feel disjointed and difficult to follow.

GPT: Overall, this is a strong and effective poem that uses vivid imagery and language to create a powerful sense of loss and finality. The lack of punctuation may be a matter of personal preference, but it does add to the poem's overall sense of ambiguity and open-endedness.

PROMPT: Analyze And Critique: 

The ash falls thru fog
covering cars on sidewalks and 
drifting down slowly still 
drifting like down to lay
like snow across the dead,
sans clean, sans crisp, sans closure

GPT: This poem is similar to the previous one, but with slightly different line breaks and punctuation. The use of "thru" instead of "in" in the first line creates a sense of movement and urgency, as if the ash is actively falling and not just passively settling.

GPT: The repeated use of "drifting" in the second and third lines also emphasizes the slow, gentle descent of the ash, and creates a sense of peace or calm in contrast to the chaos and destruction that the ash represents.

GPT: The use of "like down" in the fourth line is an interesting choice, as it creates a parallel between the ash and feathers or other light, fluffy materials. This creates a sense of fragility and vulnerability, as if the dead are being covered by something soft and delicate rather than something harsh and destructive.

GPT: Overall, the poem is effective in its use of imagery and language to create a powerful sense of loss and finality. The repeated use of "sans" in the final line adds a touch of ambiguity and open-endedness, hinting at the idea that closure may not be possible in the face of such devastation.

GPT: The punctuation and capitalization in this version of the poem are clearer and more conventional than in the previous version, which may make it easier for some readers to follow. However, the use of "thru" instead of "in" may be a matter of personal preference and could be seen as slightly jarring or informal.

PROMPT: Analyze And Critique: 

Take this
with a clenched fist
squeeze your knuckles ivory.
no don't stop
don't cower
no hour to be sour.
don't let go
pour your four
and savour.
Yalp! I cry I'm free.

GPT: This poem is a call to action, urging the reader to take hold of something with determination and strength. The use of the imperative "Take this" in the first line creates a sense of urgency and commands attention.

GPT: The metaphor of squeezing with a clenched fist is extended in the second line with the phrase "squeeze your knuckles ivory," which creates a visceral image of intense pressure and determination. The repetition of "don't" in the third and fourth lines emphasizes the need to keep going and not give up, and the use of the phrase "no hour to be sour" creates a sense of positivity and optimism.

GPT: The fourth and fifth lines introduce a new image of pouring and savoring, which creates a sense of pleasure and enjoyment in the midst of struggle. The use of "four" instead of "pour" is an interesting choice, as it creates a playful sense of wordplay and ambiguity.

GPT: The final line, "Yalp! I cry I'm free," is a powerful conclusion to the poem, as it suggests that the act of taking hold of something with determination and strength can lead to a sense of liberation or release. The use of "Yalp!" is a bold and unconventional choice, which adds to the overall sense of energy and vitality in the poem.

GPT: Overall, this poem is effective in its use of imagery and language to create a sense of determination and strength. The repetition of "don't" may be a bit heavy-handed for some readers, but it does add to the poem's sense of urgency and focus. The use of unconventional language and wordplay also adds to the poem's energy and playfulness, making it a compelling and engaging read.


GLENN: It is a simple Prompt: (Analyze And Critique:) and it works well with chapters too. What was surprisingly liberating was the realization that GPT is a computer program, so it is not going to get bored or complain about going though these evaluations over and over, to provide feedback on minor changes. I can do it as often as I need, and GPT simply responds again and again. 

GLENN:  It is not a replacement for Beta readers or editors. It doesn't always parse and 'understand' the passages correctly. But between it and nothing, it is an amazing upgrade.

































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