Science Fiction Romance and AI Tools with Keri Kruspe
Science Fiction Romance and AI Tools with Keri Kruspe – How To Write the Future podcast, episode 62
“To me, when you’re writing anything with science fiction, the best way to present that is remembering your human foundation.”
In “Episode 62. Science Fiction Romance and AI Tools with Keri Kruspe,” host Beth Barany, creativity coach and teacher, and science fiction and fantasy novelist, talks to science fiction romance author Keri Kruspe about both the positives and negatives of using Chat GPT and about how Keri uses it and other AI tools inside her creative process. They also discuss Keri’s writing, her upcoming books, and how she found her brand with Beth.
Chat GPT: https://openai.com/chatgpt
How AI Can Help Strengthen Your Writing by Keri Kruspe: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/05/30/how-ai-can-help-strengthen-your-writing-by-keri-kruspe/
ChatGPT and Creating Fiction: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/01/23/chatgpt-and-creating-fiction/
Use Chat GPT to Experiment with Fiction Style, part 1: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/04/17/use-chat-gpt-to-experiment-with-fiction-style-part-1/
Use Chat GPT to Experiment with Fiction Style, Part 2: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/2023/04/27/use-chat-gpt-to-experiment-with-fiction-style-part-2/
Free World Building Workbook for Fiction Writers: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/world-building-resources/
ABOUT KERI KRUSPE
Keri Kruspe, “Author of Otherworldly Romantic Adventures” loves nothing more than to write about romances that feature “feisty heroines who aren’t afraid to take a chance on life… or love”. Her writing career started when she became irritated that most SciFi romances had women kidnapped before they could find love. Determined to create something different, she turned “the alien kidnapping trope upside down” (Vine Voice) and the ALIEN EXCHANGE trilogy was born.
Keri’s latest SciFi Romance series, ANCIENT ALIEN DESCENDANTS, is taking the Ancient Alien motif and mixes it with a sensual, romantic twist. A native Nevadan, Keri is a lifelong avid reader who lives in Northwestern Michigan with her hubby and the newest member of the family, a Jack Russell Terrier named Hestia. When not immersed in her made-up worlds, she enjoys discovering the fascinating landscape of her new home and pairing red wine with healthy ways to cook. Most of all, she loves finding her next favorite author.
If you want to know when Keri’s next book will come out, please visit her website at http://kerikruspe.com, where you can sign up for her mailing list. You’ll get a FREE copy of the novella, The Day Behind Tomorrow that is a prologue to the ALIEN LEGACY series. Not to mention being kept updated on the life of a dedicated, obsessed author.
ABOUT THE HOW TO WRITE THE FUTURE PODCAST
The How To Write The Future podcast is for science fiction and fantasy writers who want to write positive futures and successfully bring those stories out into the marketplace. Hosted by Beth Barany, science fiction novelist and creativity coach for writers.
Tips for fiction writers! This podcast is for you if you have questions like:
- How do I create a believable world for my science fiction story?
- How do I figure out what’s not working if my story feels flat?
- How do I make my story more interesting and alive?
This podcast is for readers too if you’re at all curious about the future of humanity.
Transcript for episode 62 Science Fiction Romance and AI Tools with Keri Kruspe
Welcome to How To Write the Future podcast
Hey everyone. Welcome back to another episode of How to Write the Future. I’m very excited to bring this interview to you today.
A little bit about our podcast. This is a podcast for science fiction and fantasy writers who want to write positive, optimistic futures and for anyone who cares about the future because when we envision what is possible, we help make it so.
I’m Beth Barany, your host, and with me today is a special guest, Keri Kruspe, a science fiction author, science fiction romance author.
And today we’re gonna dig into science fiction writing AI, and learning how to write fiction and who knows where else this conversation will take us.
So welcome, Keri.
You and I have known each other for a long time, and please tell us about yourself and anything else you’d like to do to introduce yourself.
Yeah, I’m so excited to be here with you today, Beth, I cannot tell you. Like Beth mentioned, we’ve known each other for a little while. As a matter of fact, without Beth, I would not be a published author today. I started doing this later in my life, which is fine. I started in my fifties to write and I’d always known I was gonna be a writer.
I wrote my first Star Trek episode when I was 11. And I still have it, believe it or not. It’s something that I just had always known in the back of my mind that I was gonna become a writer. I am an avid reader. My first love was science fiction. I got my first books when I was in my mid-teens.
You know, everything from Isaac Asimov to Heinlein to, okay, I’m gonna throw a Piers Anthony in there. I know he’s not really science fiction, but he’s so weird. I love him anyway.
And then I found my second love in my early twenties, and that’s romance. And I loved romance. I read romance all the time. I even read romance when I was on my honeymoon, my poor husband, which we’ve been married for over 40 years, so it’s fine.
And then when Paranormal Romance came along, I started reading a lot of that with vampires and werewolves and whatever.
Then science fiction romance was born. Oh my god. I thought, whew, life is wonderful. And so I started reading a lot of those.
Some of my favorites is an author called Tracy St. John. Another one is Susan Grant’s.
There’s a couple things that I kind of don’t like. I, I don’t like some of the shorter stories that are just, and I apologize if this is gonna sound snooty, but it’s like just an erotic fest.
Well, I like erotica too, but when I’m reading a story, I wanna read a story, not just the sex scenes, which I do enjoy those as well.
My first book is called An Alien Exchange and what it was is I got tired of all these earth women being kidnapped and finding aliens and immediately, they all just bond and have sex everywhere and blah, blah blah.
So I’m like, well, that’s just kind of silly. I’m gonna make it so that these women who read science fiction romance get offered to join an Alien exchange program to where they can meet the alien mate of their dreams because everything they read about was actual in real life. And so that some of the aliens in the exchange program- if you read Science Fiction romance and she would’ve recognized them.
But I have to tell you though, even though I was an avid reader for decades when I first started writing, no offense, it was crap. And without Beth and the school that I was a part of for at least a couple of years, I would never have been able to get off the ground because you get arrogant and you think, well, I read all this and I know exactly what I’m doing.
No, you don’t. You don’t know anything what you’re doing. You have to take it seriously. And I love the way that her and the group were able to not only, give criticism, but it was constructive criticism given with love. So that it was crouched in ways to help and to give an ability to find your way and to find your own voice.
I mean, I found my brand with Beth. My brand is: I’m a writer of other worldly romantic adventures, cuz I want adventures in my stories too. So I wanna give a shout-out to Beth for that. And I want to say thank you very much from the bottom of my heart.
You’re so, so welcome, Keri, and love hearing your story and your trajectory and how now, here you are, a science fiction romance writer who you’ve combined two of your favorite loves, science, fiction and romance. And I love too how this subgenre within romance has really blossomed. I’ve watched it blossom over the last 20 years and also have tried my hand at it.
Now I’m writing science fiction mysteries with a strong romantic subplot. I love pulling romance in. I have some steamy scenes in there. But I’ve chosen and realized that I’m really a mystery writer. I’m really an adventure writer, but I also love mystery.
So we’re using that as our plot trajectory.
now I’ve done a few episodes on Chat GPT and I will definitely link those in our show notes.
How Keri has been using with AI inside her creative process
And you have been playing with AI. That’s one of the reasons why I instigated this interview because I saw what you were doing and I thought, This is awesome. I wanna show other writers the ways that we can use AI as a tool, or I should say Chat GPT and the other large language models and the image modeling tools that are out there.
And so if you could tell us, walk us through a little bit of the ways that you use these tools inside of your creative process so that readers, and who are mostly writers actually, I should say listeners or mostly writers, can get a sense of how these tools, and I hate to call them AI because it’s not intelligence, it’s really just really really smart tools.
It’s like the way we use Microsoft Word, but like on steroids.
I am very excited to talk about this. I call it the stool, the three-legged stool of AI right now. I use, Chat GPT and I use Midjourney for pictures, and I use Sudowrite.
Sudowrite is similar to Chat GPT. What I like best about it, it was created by science fiction writers, and it’s mostly for science fiction writers.
But let me go back and let me tell you how I do this. I initially when I’m writing, which I am in the middle of creating a new series right now. And I use Scrivener. And what I like about Scrivener is every scene that I put in, I can put a picture there. Well, I can’t draw a straight line to save my life, but I discovered Midjourney.
Woohoo. I love Midjourney. It’s so awesome, except for it doesn’t take all my prompts very well, so I’m still learning how to do it. I also use that for a couple of reasons other than just for my own pleasure. I use it for my marketing. And in the way that I use it for my marketing is in when I’m sending something out on social media if I’ve created an image in Midjourney about my characters or an alien planet or whatever it is, I can put that out on social media and say, This is what I’m writing, or in my newsletter. Or whatever it is.
It gives me another tool to utilize that I just love to do and I wanna get into going back into Pinterest, but I haven’t had a chance to yet cuz I have tons of stuff that I want to do there. And what that does, because a visual person, is it gives me. I don’t know. It lifts me up and says, oh yeah, that looks cool.
Now, Midjourney isn’t perfect and I’m still learning how to do the proper prompts and there is a cost for Midjourney. Just so everybody knows that. I think it’s 10 or $20 a month. I can’t remember now. Sudowrite is the same thing.
I’ll tell you why I use all three.
I use Chat GPT too, but right now I don’t pay for it. I just use the freebie. I probably will eventually go and pay for it. But let me tell you the reason.
The Difference between Sudowrite and Chat GPT
The difference between Sudowrite and Chat GPT for me.
Sudowrite– they have a new program in there that can create a whole new plot line for you. I haven’t been able to utilize that yet. So what I use it for is when I am in the middle of a scene, for instance, and I’m not exactly sure where I want it to go or what I want it to look like, I will put in there, “Describe for me…” and I’ll type in what the scene is gonna look like and it comes up with stuff.
Now is everything perfect? No. And I would never, ever tell somebody to use either Chat GPT or Sudowrite for a book because if you ever read some of this stuff. It’s like a very foundation of something that you’re gonna have to fix because you wanna put your own voice into it. You want to put your own inflections into it.
It can’t do that.
Now, what I use Chat GPT for mostly when I’m cheating, I do it a lot for marketing. ” Here’s my blurb. Give me five tweets for this blurb,” or I’ll give it something else that I’ve written and I’ll say, “What should my email subject line be for this?”
You can use Chat GPT. Like sometimes I will say, okay, I have to come up with an alien creature, which I did have them do this and I love what they came up with.
That is: what would their motive be if they had a human woman? And it gave me five different types of what they would do with humans. What I’m going with right now in the current book that I’m writing is a very logical species that wants to see how a woman would react in certain situations.
And it gave me five different situations. So I picked three of them and I said, how would she react in this? And it gives me more ideas.
The best thing about having Chat GPT or Sudowrite is like I have an assistant next to me.
I can say something like, well, how does this sound? Or If I wanted it to look like this, what should I do? Or whatever. It’s like having somebody helping you. It’s like having a Beth. Beth read this. Don’t you think you could make it better for me?
And the tool will give you a version, right? And then it sounds like you take what it offers you, either Sudowrite or Chat GPT, you take it, you massage it, it gives you ideas, it inspires you, it gives you direction or some things to try. Is that right?
That’s correct. Yeah. And I would never, like if I said, and I know I’ve heard people say this, well, I want you to write me a science fiction romance book of 50,000 words and go for it. No, if you read the stuff that this thing gives you back. No.
Yeah. It’s so boring. It lacks a lot. It lacks a lot.
Yes, it does. It does. I mean, I know it’s gonna be more sophisticated as time goes on. I’m still excited about that too because eventually you’re gonna be able to say, well, here’s my voice in this particular book. Write this scene in my voice.
And see what it comes up with.
I’ve played with that and that’s what one of my previous episodes is about– taking an action and writing it. I played with writing it in different voices or having Chat GPT write it in the voice of Lewis Carroll or in the voice of Arthur C. Clark or different voices, although I didn’t choose him.
Or, you know, rhyme this like Dr. Seuss or write Jim Butcher. And then I had it write it like me cuz I had in a previous time had it analyze my style and I said, “write it in the style of Beth ” and I quoted how it described my style and it did a pretty decent job. Not full on, but it was helpful because I was also investigating it as a tool maybe for editing.
Like, here’s a clunky scene, rewrite it in the style of, you know, and trying to replicate my voice just to help me, give me ideas. And not that I would use the final version of what it spits out, obviously.
Right. And unfortunately I don’t have the knowledge to recommend anything under copyright. Everything that I’ve heard say, try to avoid. even when I’m in Midjourney, I can’t say, Make so and so look like Sean Connery or whatever it is that I want them to do but there’s a way around that, that you would just describe things in a better atmosphere rather than you using somebody’s name.
So I don’t wanna get into the habit of saying I want to write like Beth Barany when I’m not Beth Branny, cuz I want my own voice.
But some people out there are going to do that. And I think we have to be aware as writers that there’s always bad actors out there, no matter what we do.
I don’t wanna be afraid of it. My goal this year is to keep on top of what’s termed the AI. I’m taking classes, I’m watching podcasts. I, I do whatever I can to learn more about the situation.
There is, when I do, Midjourney- I found a gentleman by the name of- I don’t know if you want somebody’s name-
His name is- he does a lot of podcasts and he’s just now starting to do classes and I’m considering taking his– His name is Christian Harden or something like that.
We’ll put resources in the show notes, on how to access Midjourney. Any resource you wanna recommend. You also wrote an article for our blog, Writer’s Fun Zone. We’ll include a link to that link of course to Chat GPT and to Sudowrite.
I love that you also touched on some of the challenges or issues that could come up, and to be aware of with these tools.
What, for you, have you noticed besides wanting to stay away from copyrighted references when you ask it to do images, is there anything that you’re trying to stay away from, or any pitfalls that you might have fallen into?
I just know that some of the expectations that folks may have could be unrealistic, like you and I discussed. We want it to be like a tool. I look at it as a tool just like I do Pro Writing Aid, you know, when we do Grammarly or something to that effect, cuz those are all AIs. When you go into Google search, you’re using an AI, whether you realize it or not.
So you just have to be cautious about what it is that your expectations are. I’m experimenting more. Like I told you before, I’ll go in and say, well this is what I want this scene to do. And sometimes it’ll give me something really good, but I still have to go and correct everything.
Or it’ll give me an idea that I never thought of, which it did for me this morning, and now I’m gonna go in that little direction, more so than I thought.
I’m just open-minded about the AI. I just have to keep track of everything that’s going on too.
You don’t wanna just fall into some kind of, I dunno, rabbit hole, I guess.
I wanna underscore how cool it is that you’re using Chat GPT for, you know, “take this blurb and now write some tweets.” It really can give us a leg up in our marketing. And then do you massage those tweets, change ’em a little bit?
Yeah, I’ve done that. Very rarely do I take. Exactly what it says. One of the things I noticed though, like when I was asking for titles for my blogs, for instance, it gives me a long blog. But when I put that blog on my website, for instance, and I put the same title on there, it likes it. But if I take some of the words off, my website tells me that it’s too short.
So I guess that’s just something I recently learned. I didn’t know that my blog title should be so long.
Yeah, I mean that’s SEO, a search engine optimization thing.
Those rules are always changing too. Yeah.
Yep. Yep. Like the one article that you’re talking about is “How AI can help strengthen your writing. That was given to me by Chat GPT. I did massage to touch, but I liked it that way and it, even though my website said it was too short, but I didn’t care cuz I liked it.
Yeah. Yeah, and there’s something to be aware of about the copyright issues with Chat GPT specifically in that anything it spits out technically doesn’t belong to us.
Have you heard that?
I have heard that, but I’ve also heard that would never have been created such as even the images in Midjourney, for instance, unless you had given it that prompt. So because we prompt that, that’s the other part of the argument, we’ve really created that or helped to create it or bring it into being, because it never would’ve happened if we wouldn’t have done that. So that’s why there’s two thoughts about that.
Yeah, I’ll have to do some more research and also bring on, I have a literary lawyer who writes for the blog. I might see if she wants to be a part of the conversation too about this. Cuz I’m very curious and that’s why I also always counsel people to change it a little bit. Never take it verbatim, always tweak it just a little, or a lot.
Well, and the other concern is just because it works in America, does that mean it’s gonna work in Europe or Asia? Or South America. Don’t know. That’s why the copyright situation is fluid right now. America has no idea what they’re gonna do just yet.
Right, right. Yeah. Keep an eye on that. Yeah, we’ll have to, we’ll have to check in about that later.
Cool. Is there anything else, that you’d like to share with us about these tools or even a wishlist for what kind of tools you wish– how would you like them to evolve to help you better?
Well, I would love if Midjourney would know when I ask for a green lady with pink hair and four arms that they would give me that. It has the hard — I have aliens for gosh sakes, and I’ll even put like an alien in there. And I’ll say, well, okay, you can’t give me a realistic picture, so I’ll try a comic book picture.
Well, that doesn’t work either. It has yet to gimme four arms. I’m really upset about that.
I have a couple of- they’re called the Alliance of Assassins, and they’re two women that run it. And I say that they have four arms and two legs. One of them is violet and has purple hair, and she’s a real badass.
Her name is Suzuki. And then there’s her sister who looks like an anime character. She’s still got the four arms, but she’s all pink. She wears a schoolgirl dress and she looks like a Japanese animation, but it won’t do that. It has a really hard time with different types of skin tone.
You’d think with all of the romance novels out there cuz we all have buff aliens on the covers that if I say I want a green alien, it gives me a green –no, it doesn’t do that.
And you have to be really careful on how you word certain things. Like, I can’t use the word breasts. I have a thing called a sex bot. Well, they have three breasts. It didn’t like that. So my pictures of my sex bots only have two.
So Midjourney, get better. Yeah, I haven’t played with it at all, so I can’t speak to that, but I’m glad that you can bring that knowhow to everyone. Cool. And I understand you’re working on a new series. Do you wanna tell the readers a little bit about that?
What I’ve done right now, I’ve actually published my 10th book in July.
I’m very excited. So, for the first time, I did something different with this one. First of all, it’s really a novella. It’s a short story, and it’s taking three characters that were introduced in my last series, and it’s a spinoff to them. And it’s my first writing of a male, male, and female, and they’re all aliens. There’s not a human in sight in this book. So that one’s called Qhasheik’s Pod, and I’m just very excited about that.
And you know, of course, Midjourney didn’t want to make Qhasheik for me who is purple and has horns.
What I’ve done with my series- like the first series that I wrote, there was four books in it. The next series I wrote, which had now has the six. I ended that series by tying it into the first series. So what I’ve done now, the new series is called Alien Legacy Brotherhood, and I’m taking some of the characters from the last series and I’m mixing it with the people from the first series and the second series.
Great. I love how you’re saying that in this current series, you’re working on, you’ve got characters that you’re mixing, that you’re taking from the first and the second series are now showing up in the third series.
Your current series sounds wonderful and I’m so glad to hear that your 10th just came out this July. That’s awesome. So congratulations with that. Yeah. And I love how you are creating these standalone series, but then they’re also tied in, sounds like globally it’s in the same world.
Right. And that’s the main thing that I want to do, is I wanna keep it in the same galaxy, so I don’t have to reinvent everything all the time. And with my genre, I know that people like series. I don’t want to do a forever series, like a lot of series are like 19, 20 books. I don’t want to do that.
Like I said, my first series really ended in a trilogy, but then I had another book that was attached to it and this last series had five books and I actually had that short story that just released. I have two more short stories that are pertaining to the same thing, and they will be released. I’m spacing them out so that I can have more bang for my buck cuz they’re completed.
And, then I’ll hopefully be able to release the new first book on the first series in March.
So I have a year schedule that I’m working on.
That’s awesome. So, as we wrap up how can people find your books and how can they learn more about the other worldly romantic adventures that you’re writing?
Well, I appreciate that. I just recently went wide. I was in Kindle Unlimited for several years, and I would suggest that to anybody who’s starting out so that you can get a feel for how things go. But, I wanted to go wide. And, the best place to look for me is on my website, which is kerikruspe.com.
I’m not selling direct yet. I’m thinking about it.
So am I. Actually, I have a portal. So for people who are just thinking about publishing, when Keri talks about going wide what she means is her books are available on all the vendors, not just Amazon, but Barnes and Noble, Apple, Kobo, Books a Million, all the vendors.
Great. And also libraries?
Yes, yes, because I went on to draft2digital for everything that’s not on Amazon. Of course, you can always find me on Amazon. The other thing I want to crow about really, cuz I I know you’ll be excited. I’m actually in a bookstore now. It’s a local bookstore called the Owl Bookstore. I’m so excited. I just went there last week and gave her my book.
So we’re gonna see how that goes. And that’s gonna be on a commission-like basis because she’s local and I live in a very small town, so we’ll see. Stepping my foot in there.
Yeah. That’s great. Yeah. So, so great. Well, Keri thank you so much being a guest on my podcast on How to Write The Future.
And just one more question I’d like to ask everybody: if you had any advice for anybody who wants to write futuristic stories, what is the one piece of advice that you would give folks?
Keri’s Advice on writing futuristic stories
To me, when you’re writing anything with science fiction, the best way to present that is remembering your human foundation.
And I wanna give you just three areas that I think are better to create a believable alien society.
Know the nature of that alien civilization. Like are they hunter-gatherers? Are they a developed culture?
Also, know the psychology of those aliens. What type of folks are they? I mean, there’s a big difference between Vulcans and Klingons.
And then lastly, understand how do they use their technology and culture?
Let’s look at Avatar. They’re technically don’t appear to be advanced, but they really are, but in a different way.
So just keep in mind when you’re creating these alien societies that you want it to be something that looks at our society as a whole and how we handle things. And to me, those are the best science fiction stories ever.
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. I love that.
Well, I just wanna say thank you again Keri.
Appreciate the opportunity. Like I said, this is my first podcast and you’ve been so good to me. Thank you.
You’re so welcome. You did great. You did great.
And everybody please check out Keri’s work at kerikruspe.com. And thank you so much, Keri I look forward to having you back.
Thanks for listening!
Thanks for listening everyone.
Please like, subscribe. And you know please share with the writers in your life where writing science fiction and fantasy, and want to create positive, optimistic futures, because when we vision what is possible, we help make it so.
Questions for future episodes?
If you have any questions you would like me to feature on an upcoming episode of How To Write the Future, please write me. Let me know. I’m on all the socials. I have a contact form on my website, how to write the future.com. Your question can be featured on an upcoming episode.
You Inspire me!
Thank you so much, everyone for listening to my podcast. Your interest and feedback is so inspiring to me and helps me know that I’m helping you in some small way.
So, write long and prosper.
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ABOUT BETH BARANY
Beth Barany teaches science fiction and fantasy novelists how to write, edit, and publish their books as a coach, teacher, consultant, and developmental editor. She’s an award-winning fantasy and science fiction novelist and runs the podcast, “How To Write The Future.”
Learn more about Beth Barany at these sites:
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