Tell me a story about a boy and a pony

Watch how ChatGPT forgets it’s writing fiction. Should I not use terms associated with actual knowledge and consciousness? Probably I shouldn’t. Fine, watch how ChatGPT slides from a narrative style to a nonfiction style and back again:


Once upon a time in a quaint, idyllic village nestled at the foot of rolling green hills, there lived a young boy named Lucas. Lucas was known throughout the village for his boundless curiosity and his deep love for animals. However, what set him apart from the other children was his dream of having a pony.

From the time he was old enough to talk, Lucas had expressed his desire to have a pony of his own. He would spend hours each day in the fields, watching the ponies that grazed there, imagining himself riding on their backs, the wind tousling his hair.

His parents, knowing how much he longed for a pony, would often tell him stories about the magical ponies that roamed the woods on the outskirts of the village. They spoke of ponies with shimmering coats that sparkled like the night sky, and hooves that made music as they danced through the meadows. These stories would light up Lucas’s eyes, filling his heart with hope.

One sunny morning, as Lucas was wandering through the fields, he came across an old, weather-beaten man who was tending to a magnificent, but tired-looking pony. The pony had a gleaming chestnut coat, a wild and fiery mane, and eyes that sparkled with a hint of magic.

Lucas approached the old man, his heart racing with excitement. “Is this your pony, sir?” he asked, unable to hide his wonder.

The old man looked down at Lucas with a kind smile. “Aye, lad, this is Starfire,” he said, patting the pony’s neck. “But he’s no ordinary pony, you see. He’s a guardian of the woods, a protector of nature’s secrets.”

Lucas couldn’t believe his ears. The old man went on to explain that the pony, Starfire, was in need of a new companion, someone pure of heart and filled with love for the world around them. The boy would need to promise to take care of Starfire and protect the natural beauty of the woods.

Lucas, without a moment’s hesitation, pledged his heart and soul to the pony and the forest. He promised to be the best companion Starfire could ever wish for.

The old man nodded in approval, and as if by some unspoken agreement, Starfire lowered his head and nuzzled Lucas, their bond sealed. From that moment on, Lucas and Starfire became inseparable. They explored the forest together, finding hidden waterfalls, enchanted groves, and magical creatures. Lucas learned the secrets of the woods and how to care for the land.

Lucas’s love for Starfire and the woods was contagious. Soon, others in the village joined them, helping to protect the environment, and the once-threatened forest thrived under their care.

As the years passed, Lucas and Starfire grew up together, their bond unbreakable. And even when Lucas was no longer a young boy, the spirit of adventure, the love for his faithful pony, and the beauty of the forest remained a cherished part of his life. The legend of the boy and his guardian pony, Starfire, lived on in the village, a testament to the power of love, friendship, and a deep connection with nature.

[Tell me more about the magical creatures in the forest.] X

[What adventures did Lucas and Starfire have?]

The forest where Lucas and Starfire roamed was a place of enchantment, and it was home to a variety of magical creatures that existed harmoniously among the trees and meadows. Here are a few of the most wondrous beings that inhabited this mystical woodland:

  1. Faeries: Tiny, ethereal beings with delicate wings, faeries flitted about the forest, leaving trails of sparkling dust in their wake. They were guardians of the flowers, ensuring they bloomed in vibrant colors and with extraordinary fragrances. Lucas often heard their laughter as they played among the blossoms.
  2. Wood Nymphs: These graceful, nature-loving spirits resided within the trees. They were known to have the power to heal the wounded and soothe the ailing. When Lucas or Starfire ever had a scrape or ailment, a gentle touch from a wood nymph would bring swift relief.
  3. Talking Animals: Within the depths of the forest, a special grove was home to animals with the ability to speak. Squirrels, rabbits, and birds conversed with Lucas and shared their wisdom. They told tales of ancient forest lore, helping him understand the delicate balance of nature.
  4. Will-o’-the-Wisps: These mysterious orbs of light guided Lucas and Starfire through the darkest parts of the forest. They danced through the night, illuminating the path and leading the way to hidden treasures and secret clearings.
  5. Eldertrees: Towering ancient trees with gnarled roots and wise, old faces etched into their bark, the Eldertrees were the forest’s historians. They could recall the history of the woods, telling stories of generations past and the struggles and triumphs of the forest.
  6. Unicorns: Rare and majestic, unicorns were seldom seen but their presence was always felt. These gentle creatures, with their shimmering coats and single twisted horns, brought an aura of purity and magic to the forest. It was said that encountering a unicorn brought good fortune and protection.
  7. Gnomes and Elves: Hidden in the nooks and crannies of the forest, gnomes and elves worked tirelessly to maintain the balance of the natural world. They were skilled in creating intricate treehouses, bridges, and maintaining the harmony of the forest’s ecosystem.
  8. The Spirit of the Stream: A shimmering and fluid entity that lived in the crystal-clear stream that wound its way through the forest. The Spirit of the Stream had the power to cleanse and purify, not only the water but also the spirits of those who ventured near.

Each of these magical creatures contributed to the enchantment and vitality of the forest. Lucas and Starfire cherished their encounters with these beings, learning from them and ensuring the forest remained a haven for all creatures, magical and mundane alike. It was a place where dreams came true, where the beauty of nature was celebrated, and where the extraordinary thrived in harmony with the ordinary.


Besides turning into a list, what do you notice? The trite ideas? The bland style? Both? If someone turned in a story like this in a creative writing class, minus the list of magical creatures, would you peg it as 100% generated text? Because it is 100% generated text.

If I fed ChatGPT the Tuyo novels, do you think it might be able to write something in the right style? Or would it continue to produce bland prose expressing banal, hackneyed ideas? I don’t plan to do that, so we will not find out. I just wonder. Here’s what we get when I tell Chat GPT to write something in the style of Rex Stout:


As the evening sun dipped below the Manhattan skyline, its fading rays cast long shadows in Nero Wolfe’s opulent brownstone. The scent of orchids permeated the room, mingling with the subtle aroma of cigar smoke. Archie Goodwin, Wolfe’s trusted assistant and chronicler of events, sat at his desk, his typewriter poised for the dictation that would soon begin.

Wolfe, the corpulent and brilliant detective, reclined in his oversized chair, his eyes half-lidded as he savored the last draw from his custom-made Montenegro cigar. With meticulous precision, he reached for his specially crafted orchid stand, admiring the rare blooms that adorned it. His hands, thick and well-manicured, bore the knowledge of countless cases, each petal whispering secrets to him. [I think ChatGPT got lost right here.]

“Archie,” Wolfe rumbled, his voice rich and commanding, “I trust you’ve completed your due diligence regarding our current matter. The client, as you are aware, is a man of dubious repute.”

Archie nodded, his quick wit and sharper tongue ready for the exchange. “Indeed, Nero, our client hails from the shadowy corridors of power, a man with secrets he’d like to keep buried in the depths of the East River.” [Yeah, that does not sound a bit like Archie.]

Wolfe’s lips curled into a rare smile, revealing a hint of his insatiable appetite for intrigue. “That is precisely why he sought my services, Archie. He knows I am averse to idle chatter and possess an unerring ability to unearth the truth, no matter how well it is hidden.” [Problem here: Wolf’s appetite for intrigue is highly satiable.]

The detective shifted in his chair, the faintest hint of impatience in his movements. “Proceed, Archie, and recount the facts as you have gathered them. We must dissect this puzzle and bring the vermin to light.” [Actual syntax error: should not be in a new paragraph.]

With nimble fingers dancing across the keys of his typewriter [terrible!], Archie began to craft the narrative, recounting the tangled web of deceit, greed, and betrayal that had ensnared their latest client. In that dimly lit room, surrounded by orchids and the inimitable presence of Nero Wolfe, the stage was set for yet another intricate dance of deduction and revelation.

As Archie’s typewriter keys tapped out the story, he couldn’t help but wonder at the enigmatic genius of his boss. Nero Wolfe was no ordinary detective, and their investigations were never mundane. They were journeys through the labyrinthine corridors of human nature, each case a tantalizing enigma begging to be unraveled by the indomitable mind of the incomparable Nero Wolfe.



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7 thoughts on “Tell me a story about a boy and a pony”

  1. I did a bunch of experimentation with ChatGPT when 3.5 first came out, and in my experience, it does not know how to stop being banal. I think this is mostly because of the safeguards that are imposed by the company to stop ChatGPT from saying insensitive / offensive things – all the responses end up pretty trite. Which is fine if you’re using it to write professional documents, since you want those to be bland.

    I know there have been other LLMs released without those safeguards, but I haven’t spent any time checking those out.

    ChatGPT was really helpful to me when I was writing marketing / fundraising material earlier this year, but I didn’t actually use any of the things it wrote. I was asking questions like “Give me five words that mean amazing” and “Rephrase this sentence in 5 different ways”, and using it to give me ideas to express myself more precisely / succinctly. I would also dump my raw thoughts in there and get a relatively sane sounding summary out, which I would then edit or change into my own voice. I don’t usually write much – I’m an engineer, so it was useful, but I’m not sure how much use it would be to people that are actually good at writing (like you!)

  2. Kriti, I can see how ChatGPT would be helpful for things like marketing copy. I’m tempted to say, “Because who wants to write that stuff anyway?” but I expect someone somewhere thinks it’s fun. Somehow.

    The people on the AI panel said that what they are seeing right now is that all the job offers that used to be for writing advertising copy are now job offers that aim at editing generated advertising copy.

  3. I asked for a sad story about a boy and his dog, and got the most ridiculous bathos. The dog jumps in a lake to chase some ducks, gets hooked by a fisherman … and eventually bleeds to death of a fish hook injury.

  4. You could use it to generate a list of things and then test your ideas against them. I once met a writer online who used a N character types book to test her characters: if she could place their type, her characters were too flat.

    (Only one of two people I have ever heard to find those books useful. The other one used it to orchestrate characters so they weren’t all the same.)

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