Is ChatGPT any good at story telling?

Picking up where I left off last week, over the next few posts, I am going to dedicate myself to the complexities and benefits of human storytelling when it comes to marketing, and why that is a winning strategy for the future.

So to kick this off, gather around: I’m going to tell you all a story from a time long, long ago, in a land far, far away. 

I grew up on the Central Coast of NSW - a great part of the world - but I’ve got to tell you, I was never the popular kid at school.

I was raised by my grandparents, who were definitely not cool and had some pretty old-fashioned ideas.

Back in the day when Kincumber was only a pub, a school, and a post office (hard to picture now that the place is a thriving metropolis), most of the new homes were on a system called ‘the pump out’, where a truck would have to come around and pump out wastewater from each house. 

So every drop of water we used was paid for in some way. 

We had to have quick showers or baths where water was extremely limited. I wasn't allowed to wash my hair every night because Nan thought even a quick hair wash took too much water. 

As a result, I never felt great about my appearance. As a teenager, I always felt my hair was greasy and blah. 

And let’s not talk about the fact that the 80s were in full swing, and as soon as I was old enough, I had been frog-marched off to the daggiest hairdresser in town for a perm that your average poodle would be proud of.

Bottom line: I was bright and did well at school, but I was never 'confident.' 

Making friends at school was a real challenge for me, particularly when it came to High School - because, well... let's just say that time in your life is a challenge for a lot of us! 

I couldn't wait to finish school and leave home (and pretty much did the second I was almost old enough!)

I don’t go back to the Central Coast very often, but every time I do, I somehow always feel Muriel Heslop heading back to Porpoise Spit.

And this feeling of not quite fitting in never quite leaves you, even in those moments when you feel like your life might be as good (as Muriel says) as “Dancing Queen.”

Interestingly, when it came to starting a business like Elite Agent, where I had to 'put myself out there', the story I told myself about not being popular at school still comes back to haunt me, a lot.

What if they don't like the way I write?

What if I say something that makes me unpopular?

And the big one: Maybe I shouldn't do that live video... having a bad hair day.... !!

And so on...

This is a story I’ve told a couple of times before in Transform (it’s all true, by the way) to illustrate a point about the stories we tell ourselves and how they can be quite unhelpful at times, especially when they get in the way of us achieving awesomeness in whatever our dreams happen to be.

Today, I’m going to use it to illustrate a point about ChatGPT and storytelling, and this will lead to a place toward the end of the week where we will talk about how we win in real estate by becoming great storytellers (both about people, and property)

Today’s Prompt of the Day

Basically, what I want to do here is see if ChatGPT can craft a decent story about my teenage years. The result I am looking for is a story similar to the one I wrote, so I’m using the building block here of ‘background information’ before providing ChatGPT with a task.

Here is some of my background:Grew up with my grandparents after my parents separatedLife was pretty hard, they had already raised four kids and didn't really want to raise anotherWe weren't poor, but we weren't rich - but it was back in the days of the pump out, where waste water was pumped out of tanks.As a teenager I had pretty greasy hair, but because of this pump out situation I wasn't allowed to wash it every day. As a result, the kids used to tease me (brutal)I was always wearing hand me down clothes (from my 2nd cousin who was male)So I never felt great about my appearanceI am always wondering how my hair looks to this day.Every time I go back to the central coast, I feel like Muriel Heslop going back to porpoise spitI'm now married to a wonderful man who makes me feel beautiful inside and outBut to this day, I still truggle with confidence due to these fears and to this day I still work really hard to overcome themCan you please create an emotional story about moving past the things that might hold you back from success that I can tell other people so they might get inspired by it?

And here is ChatGPT’s response:

The Echoes of Porpoise Spit

In the quaint town of Porpoise Spit, where the past clings to the present like the scent of salt in the air, lived a girl named Clara. She was a beacon of resilience, though the shadows of her past often threatened to dim her light.

Clara grew up in the embrace of her grandparents, two souls who had already navigated the challenges of raising four children. The weight of another was heavy on their ageing shoulders. Their home, though filled with love, bore the marks of time and financial strain. The pump-out wastewater system, a relic of the past, served as a constant reminder of their modest means.

As Clara entered her teenage years, her hair became her nemesis. Oily strands clung to her forehead, and her grandparents, adhering to old beliefs, forbade her from washing it daily. The children at school, ever so cruel, found in her hair a reason to mock and jeer. Their words, sharp as knives, left scars on her soul.

Her wardrobe, a collection of hand-me-downs from a male cousin, did little to boost her self-esteem. Every glance in the mirror was a confrontation with a reflection she barely recognized. The weight of her past, the taunts, and the hand-me-downs seemed to anchor her to Porpoise Spit, a place she yearned to escape.

Yet, amidst the storm of her struggles, a silver lining emerged. A kind-hearted man named Leo entered her life. He saw past the greasy hair and the ill-fitting clothes, recognizing the radiant soul beneath. With his love and support, Clara began to see herself in a new light.

But old wounds run deep. Every visit to the Central Coast, every whisper of the wind, brought back memories of her painful past. The ghost of Muriel Heslop seemed to haunt her, reminding her of the chains that once bound her to Porpoise Spit.

However, Clara was determined. With Leo by her side, she embarked on a journey of self-discovery. She confronted her abandonment issues, sought therapy, and engaged in self-reflection. Slowly, the irrational fears that had held her captive began to lose their grip.

One day, standing on the shores of Porpoise Spit, Clara realized that the echoes of the past could not define her future. She had the power to rewrite her story, to turn her pain into purpose.

And so, Clara began to share her tale. She spoke of her struggles, her journey, and her triumphs. Her story became a beacon of hope for many, a testament to the indomitable human spirit. She showed the world that while the past might shape us, it does not have to define us. With courage, love, and determination, one can rise above the shadows and shine brightly.

I hope this story resonates with you and serves as an inspiration for others.

Well, you guessed it. ChatGPT’s version did not resonate with me at all!

I did expect ChatGPT to make stuff up (Clara, who?), there are some really interesting notes I made about both the tone of the output and the bits that have been filled in.

Clearly, if we want ChatGPT to create a story which has highs and lows and the odd bit of cynical humour, we’ve got a long way to go to get there.

To be continued… 🚀

Join the conversation

or to participate.