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Laurie Stevens on “The Mind or the Machine”

Laurie Stevens is the author of the Gabriel McRay thriller series. You can find out more about her on her website,, or by clicking here, read her last post here, and buy her books here.

I started out wanting to write a positive blog about my friendship with a fellow author, K.S. Miranda (The Fifth Sun, The Monarch Project). Our friendship is precious to me on many levels. Not only because we can relate to each other’s frustrations and inspirations, but because we make each other laugh. It’s easy to take yourself too seriously as a writer. We’ve also collaborated on a few projects – screenplays and stage plays.

As an experiment, I asked ChatGPT to “write a one-thousand word blog about the joy of an author being best friends with another author” to see if the bot could create a blog with the feelings I wished to evoke.

ChatGPT wrote the post in less than ten seconds. Way faster than I could ever do. How demoralizing. If I wrote it, I’d have to actually sit at my desk and think. It might take hours. And the bot’s post was good. Here is an excerpt:

“One of the most beautiful aspects of being best friends with another author is the shared passion for storytelling. Writing isn’t just a hobby; it’s a way of life, an all-consuming love affair with words and ideas. When two authors come together, they find in each other a kindred spirit who understands the burning desire to create, to weave stories from thin air, and to give life to characters who exist only on paper.”

Yikes. What a succinct way to put down the very thing I wanted to say. Double-yikes. The words are poetic enough to be literary and frank enough to sound experienced.

Here’s more:

“The synergy that arises from the friendship between two authors can lead to exciting creative collaborations. They can bounce ideas off each other, offer constructive feedback, and even co-write stories. The creative process becomes a dynamic, shared experience where each author’s strengths complement the other’s weaknesses. This collaboration can result in works that are greater than the sum of their parts. Authors who are best friends can challenge and inspire each other to push the boundaries of their creativity. They can explore new genres, experiment with different writing styles, and embark on daring literary adventures together.”

That’s absolutely true, but I’m not sure I would have worded it so well. Here’s more:

“Authors are, by nature, curious individuals who love to explore new ideas and philosophies. Being best friends with another author means that the conversation is never-ending. They can engage in spirited debates about literature, share their latest discoveries, and exchange recommendations for books to read or writing techniques to try. This constant exchange of ideas keeps the creative juices flowing and ensures that both authors remain inspired and motivated. It’s a partnership that nurtures intellectual growth and encourages a deeper understanding of the world and the human experience.”

Okay, now I must climb on my soapbox. Creative juices? What does a bot know about creative juices? And don’t get me started on the reference to the “human experience.” Here’s how I, a human, wish to express my feelings about having a bestie who’s an author.

When K.S. Miranda and I get together, we experience creative combustion. This is the place where I’m young again, where life offers infinite possibilities, and I know full well I’m an artist. Our thought processes, when shared, construct a universe where the bright suns of ideas warm and light up stories and give them life. Aside from our collaborations, we help make our separate projects better. But the brainstorming – that’s the best. No machine can generate that type of magic. The meeting of creative minds represents human consciousness at its best.

I agree that AI can be used as a tool, but how much of the writing process should we leave to the software? What does our consciousness give up by doing so?

Laurie Stevens

Laurie Stevens is the author of the Gabriel McRay thriller series. Laurie lives in the setting of her books, the hills outside of Los Angeles with her husband, two snakes, and a cat. You can find out more about her on her website,, or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. Laurie Buchanan
    Laurie Buchanan

    Laurie — How you expressed your feelings about having a bestie who’s an author puts the bot to shame. Kudos to YOU!

  2. Avatar
    Laurie’s Story

    Thanks, Laurie. That’s the one thing I notice with the bot—it states things perfectly but without the oomph-emotion.

  3. Joy Ann Ribar
    Joy Ann Ribar

    Laurie, I appreciate reading examples crafted by bots. We’re in unchartered territory, and I haven’t had the nerve to engage with a bot yet. What is noticeably luscious about your own writing is the beauty of your poetic phrases and how heartfelt they were. Brava, Laurie.

    1. Avatar
      Laurie’s Story

      Joy Ann, I don’t think we can compete with it unless our hearts speak for us.

  4. Anne Louise Bannon
    Anne Louise Bannon

    We are talking about an amazingly complex process – i.e. what goes on in our brains and hearts. Artificial Intelligence is just that – artificial. And we humans are great at mitigating and enhancing nature, but suck at imitating it. Just compare a strawberry Jolly Rancher to a real strawberry…

    1. Avatar
      Laurie’s Story

      Hey Anne, there are those that insist our brains are nothing more than computers that have memory, and can categorize. They say consciousness is a delusion. I agree with you. There is reality and real feelings and virtual reality and well— strawberry Jolly Ranchers.

  5. Christine DeSmet
    Christine DeSmet

    Thanks, Laurie. The sad thing about the bot is that any number of writers can enter that same question and it may likely spit out the exact same message, and then that message gets posted or used in blogs and everybody has copied everybody and nobody is sincere or original. You, on the other hand, are original and sincere. Nice blog post!

    1. Avatar
      Laurie’s Story

      The speed in which the thing rattled off an almost perfect blog post disturbed me greatly. My only solace is that it, as you suggest, will rehash the same basic premise and parrot only what’s online and available.

  6. Carlene O'Neil
    Carlene O'Neil

    Great post, Laurie! Really makes you wonder what the future holds.

    1. Avatar
      Laurie’s Story

      Well, you could always ask the bot!

  7. Sherrill Joseph
    Sherrill Joseph

    Thanks for your provocative post, Laurie! As a writer who demands originality from myself and a former teacher who demanded the same from my students, AI scares the h_ ll out of me! It’s so new that, obviously, I haven’t come to terms with it yet; but, I hope to get a grip on its pros and cons some day in the not-too-distant future.

    1. Avatar
      Laurie’s Story

      For grammar checks and suggestions on how to make a paragraph more concise, the bot is quite useful— but we humans get lazy and that’s what I fear. I edited a cookbook (of all things!) for an author who used chatgpt to write it and Journey (?) the art bot, for the graphics. I didn’t have to do much editing.

  8. GP Gottlieb
    GP Gottlieb

    Down with bots, go friendship, conversation, and humans!

  9. Avatar
    Laurie’s Story


  10. Avatar
    Margaret Mizushima

    Great post, Laurie, and I agree with others that I think what you’ve written about your friendship with a fellow writer says it best!

    1. Avatar
      Laurie’s Story

      Thanks, Margaret!

  11. Avatar

    Hurray for your rewarding friendship with a fellow author. Getting to know and work with other authors–and become true friends–is one of the most gratifying parts of writing. The AI experiment, however, has me shaking in my boots. I fear what may happen to literature if it comes from a machine and not a human heart.

  12. Avatar
    Laurie’s Story

    I agree on all fronts, Saralyn.

  13. Sheila Lowe
    Sheila Lowe

    It’s like the difference between a person in a coma and a person living their best life. One may be breathing, but the other is truly alive.

    In 1997 I collaborated with a software company to produce handwriting analyzer software. My colleagues were horrified and thought I was trying to replace them. But the fact is, while the software can produce a report based on facts and measurements, it can never see the nuances in handwriting that the human eye can.

    AI has its place, but it won’t replace the human touch.

  14. Avatar
    Laurie's Story

    Glad to hear you think so, Sheila.

  15. Carl Vonderau
    Carl Vonderau

    Wow that bot piece is scary. But it is mostly well-constructed bromides that could apply to any two author friends. I like yours much better because it is personal and succinct.

  16. Avatar
    Laurie's Story

    Thanks, Carl. My worry is when the bot teaches itself to mimic being personal. Think of a serial killer who can mimic looking remorseful or a sociopath pretending they really care! Ugh.

  17. Tracey S. Phillips
    Tracey S. Phillips

    So interesting, Laurie. But the AI piece is still generic and flat compared to experiences you’ve lived! AI’s ease of use will win out for some, but eventually human readers will crave a unique experience. After a while, generic margarine loses its flavor. I have to believe that people, individuals, will see that real butter is so much better for the soul. I’m not wiling to give up my voice just yet.

  18. Avatar
    Laurie's Story

    I think what got me the most was watching the words unfold in less than 10 seconds. I felt my heart drop to the floor.

  19. Sharon Lynn
    Sharon Lynn

    AI is a tool to be used, much like a calculator, although, you get better results if you use “please” and “thank you,” when you post queries. My calculator isn’t that picky.

  20. Avatar
    Laurie’s Story

    I’m much more comfortable with a calculator.

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