I was bored and perhaps struggling with a bit of writers’ block, and I decided to see if the AI Overlords might give me something to spark the muse. I won’t use AI to do my writing for me (as if!) but I’m not too proud to look for a prompt to get my own creative juices flowing.

I’m writing a contemporary romance, loosely based on Emma. In Austen’s novel, Philip Elton thinks he’s wooing Emma, while she thinks he’s really interested in her friend, Harriet. Emma has convinced Harriet that Elton is sweet on her, and Harriet expecting him to speak to her soon. It all comes to a head when, unexpectedly confined to the same carriage after a Christmas party, Mr Elton proposes to Emma. Emma is shocked and angry that Elton would presume! Elton is furious that Emma could imagine that he would be interested in a nothing like Harriet. And Harriet is heartbroken.

This is what I asked.

Write a scene of dialogue between three characters. Emma thinks Phil is interested in Harriet but Phil is really interested in Emma.

That is the drama I was hoping for. This is what the Bot gave me.


Emma, Phil, and Harriet are sitting at a table in a coffee shop, sipping their drinks.

Emma: “So, Phil, I couldn’t help but notice you’ve been paying a lot of attention to Harriet lately.”

Phil: “Oh, really? I didn’t realize it was that obvious.”

Harriet: “What are you talking about, Emma? Phil’s just being friendly.”

Emma: “I don’t know, Harriet. It seems like he’s been going out of his way to talk to you and make you laugh.”

Phil: “Well, Harriet is a great conversationalist. I always enjoy our chats.”

Emma: “Hmm, maybe I’m just reading too much into it.”

Phil: “Actually, Emma, I was hoping to talk to you about something.”

Harriet: “Ooh, what is it?”

Phil: “Well, Emma, I’ve been meaning to tell you for a while now that I really like you. I think you’re smart, funny, and beautiful.”

Emma: “Oh, Phil, I had no idea.”

Harriet: “Wait, what’s going on? Phil, you like Emma?”

Phil: “Yes, Harriet. I’m sorry if I gave you the wrong impression, but I’ve had feelings for Emma for a long time now.”

Harriet: “Oh, I see.”

Emma: “I’m flattered, Phil. I really am. But I’m not sure I’m ready for a relationship right now.”

Phil: “That’s okay, Emma. I just wanted to be honest with you.”

Harriet: “Well, this is awkward.”

Emma: “Harriet, don’t worry about it. It’s not your fault. Phil, I appreciate you telling me how you feel. Maybe we can talk more about this later.”

Phil: “Sure, Emma. I’d like that.”

Harriet: “I’m happy for you, Emma. I think you and Phil would make a great couple.”

Emma: “Thanks, Harriet. Who knows what the future holds?”

~ ~ ~

Once again, AI proves interesting, but not for the reasons one might imagine. If its version was the one Austen used, a lot of the fuss and bother and mistaken impressions in Emma would have been avoided. But it would have been a very boring novel.

And so, the results are clear:



And the human wins. This time.

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