Would you still love me if my story was a worm?
The cat is out of the bag! I was part of a group of 13 author to write with Google’s Wordcraft (one of the latest generation of large language models). Wordcraft is one of the largest language models, trained with a massive amount of text into predicting the words that will follow or perform a series of tasks the author instructs it to do using prompts with specific parameters.
The story I wrote is called “Worm-Mothers” and it’s as weird as it sounds. 😆 It’s about a world with strange creatures, demanding strange sacrifices.
Each author created a diverse array of stories and engaged with Wordcraft in their own unique ways. For me, the process was more or less having fun and playing around with the tool while I familiarized myself with its interface and what it could do. It turns out in my particular case Wordcraft was used in two ways: 1) For brainstorming purposes, giving me the initial seed of an idea. The weirder the better. 2) For worldbuilding and honing details on the nature of the creatures in my story.
For other writers it was a poetry generator or a research tool, for others is was a problem-solving companion. It was, of course, not perfect as it needs the user to guide it and select the fitting parts to incorporate in a story, but it was still a fascinating experiment with a machine learning writer.
The “Worm-Mothers” got a shout-out at CNET which is pretty cool! I hope you will read and enjoy that little story.
You can read the stories and learn more about Wordcraft here.
So stocked to announce that my first publication in Beneath Ceaseless Skies is out! “Of the Body” is a fantasy story set in a world where animals carry and give birth to human babies. Sali and Osarah are going to have a baby together, but first they have to hunt and kill the animal that is pregnant with it.
It’s a story about a family’s persistence, the symbiotic relationship of human and nature, community, and adaptation. It’s in the wonderful company of Adam R. Shannon‘s story “Five Aspects of River and Sky”, a story that also deals with themes of human vs nature, adaptation and moving forward. I couldn’t have asked for a better story-match.
I wrote this story at the beginning of 2021. I stumbled upon a prompt about a dead deer and a human baby on Codex Writers’ Forum and things just clicked in my mind. I wanted a world where things where so interconnected to each other that humans would be born of animals. And I wanted people to still be stubborn and still make mistakes when it came to their relationship with nature. Because humans don’t learn easy.
Many questions were born from this idea. What would happen to the humans then? Would they find their way to each other despite being born of a different species? And if they did, how would they then view their animal mothers? Who did the babies really belong to? A considerable amount of denial would have to exist for them to not recognize that in fact they were part of both worlds. And so this story with one of the wildest premises I’ve written was born.
We arrived to this world, fresh and ignorant, and stood separate from it. All living things shared one single breath. It was the Body revealing itself to our ancestors. We stood on top of the Body, walked around it, dove into its guts, yet we did not see it.
This story was a bit out of my comfort zone and I enjoyed stretching my writer’s muscles. If you want to listen to the story here is the Podcast version of it. I hope you like it!