Can Chat GPT write a romance novel?

It’s another month, and another of our authors’ Round Robins. This month our topic is set by author Dr Bob Rich

helena fairfax, freelance editor, fiction editor

How can contemporary fiction keep up with our swiftly changing world? 

Another thought-provoking topic this month. For my take on subject, I’m asking the question

Can Chat GPT write a romance novel?

Chat GPT, launched in November 2022, is an AI ‘chatbot’ programmed to scan billions of text data online so it can answer your questions and prompts in the way a human might. A few months after release, the app gained millions of users and the number is rising.

So for my first blog post of the year, I thought I’d join these users. I signed up for the app and asked Chat GPT to write me an 800-word blog post on:

write a romance novel with chat gpt
Image by Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay
‘How should writers of contemporary romance keep up with our swiftly changing world?’

The response was immediate and mind-blowing. (If you’d like to read the full blog post – which the bot wrote in less than a minute – feel free to get in touch and I’ll send you a copy.)

It wasn’t so much the writing style that interested me. I found the style quite bland, but the ideas generated were interesting. The internet is one place that reflects a swiftly changing world.

To cut the post short, Chat GPT recommended writers should:

  • embrace diversity;
  • avoid stereotypes (something I even wrote about myself in a recent post);
  • include issues such as feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, racism and mental health;
  • write about non-traditional relationships such as polyamory and non-binary;
  • include new technology, from new social media forms to virtual reality and AI.

This was my first dealing with the Chat GPT app. I was impressed by the tremendous speed of the response. I then burned to know… can Chat GPT write a romance novel?

So, my next prompt for Chat GPT was:

‘Write a heartwarming love story about a woman who runs a bookshop and a writer who is a single dad.’

Here was the response. Hmm

Image by Agata from Pixabay

Sophie was a romantic at heart, which is why she had chosen to work in the local bookshop, “The Book Nook.” It wasn’t just a job for her; it was a passion. She loved helping customers find the perfect book that would transport them into another world. She always imagined that she would one day meet her own leading man in the pages of a book.

One afternoon, a man walked into the store, his gaze fixated on the shelves. He was tall, with dark hair that fell in a messy wave over his forehead, and his sharp jawline gave him a rugged look. Sophie was immediately drawn to him, and she couldn’t help but feel a flutter in her chest.

“Can I help you find something?” she asked with a smile.

The man turned to her, and their eyes locked. “I’m looking for a book on writing,” he said.

Haha! I won’t bore you with the rest of the story. There’s no denying it’s all amazingly clever, especially that the bot can respond so quickly, but it’s clear Chat GPT has no idea how to show emotions, or how to make a reader care about the characters they’re reading about.

After trying to get Chat GPT to write romantic fiction,  I did a little more research. This writer on Reddit talks about his attempts to prompt Chat GPT to write a sci-fi erotic horror novella (admittedly not my preferred genre). He says it took him two days of repeatedly rephrasing prompts to try and get the bot to write what he wanted.

He’s published the novella, Galactic Pimp, for a dollar on Kindle, just so people can read the results. He says Chat GPT also wrote the blurb. Hmm.

Chat GPT came up with some interesting ideas after my prompt to write a blog post (even though the writing itself was bland). What if, instead of asking Chat GPT to write a novel, I asked it to come up with some ideas for a novel?

I went back to the Chat GPT app and typed in:

Image by Agata from Pixabay

‘Could you give me the plot of a romance novel featuring a woman who owns a bookshop and a writer who is a single dad? Remember, there must be some sort of romantic conflict – that is, the couple must have a conflict of goals that keeps them emotionally apart until the end of the novel.’

Absolutely!’ replied Chat GPT. And here, to sum up, is its idea. I’ve cut a bit of waffle.

Ellie has always been passionate about books. When she inherited her grandfather’s bookstore, she knew it was her calling to keep it alive and thriving. So she’s taken great care to curate a selection of books that reflect her love of all genres, and create a cozy atmosphere that encourages people to stop and stay awhile.

Jake is a bestselling author who is used to the fast-paced world of publishing, and he thinks Ellie should expand the store’s online presence and focus on promoting new releases. But Ellie is a traditionalist who believes in the power of books as physical objects, and she’s resistant to change. She’s also been burned in the past by authors who only want to use her store for publicity purposes, so she’s hesitant to trust Jake.

Image by Agata from Pixabay

Despite their differences, Ellie and Jake find themselves drawn to each other. They share a love of literature…but Ellie worries that if she changes the store too much, she’ll lose the heart and soul of what makes it special.

As Ellie and Jake navigate their conflicting goals, they begin to realize that their differences are what make them a great team. Ellie’s passion for the store and Jake’s industry knowledge complement each other, and they both learn to compromise in order to make the store successful.

Again, I was amazed and impressed with the speed of the reply. And for my first attempt at prompting Chat GPT for a romance plot idea, I thought it threw up some things to think about. The style of the actual writing is bland again, for sure, but as the basis of an idea, well, why not? It’s got similarities with You’ve Got Mail, but a writer of commercial fiction could make something of it.

And this must surely be a big plus point for writers of commercial fiction. Say you’re contracted to write four romance novels a year. Wouldn’t it be help to bounce ideas off Chat GPT in order to come up with a new situation or setting?

Chat GPT can never replace a writer. (I follow the songwriter Nick Cave’s newsletter and he says this much more forcefully, calling Chat GPT’s song lyrics ‘a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human.’) My feeling is, though, that AI can be a great tool for writers if used in the right way and if we pick out the best of what it can offer, and disregard the rest.


What do you think about AI and creativity? Have you ever used Chat GPT? What did you think?

If you’d like to know how the other authors in the Round Robin tackled this month’s topic, please click on the links below.

And if you ever decide to write the love story of the bookseller and the bestselling writer, please do come back and let me know!

Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com

Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/

Dr Bob Rich  https://wp.me/p3Xihq-2QS

Anne Stenhouse http://wp.me/31Isq

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea

14 thoughts on “Can Chat GPT write a romance novel?

    1. What amazed me, Rosemary, was the speed of the reply. It’s only capable of regurgitating whatever is on the internet, but it’s still incredible to watch it in action.
      Thanks very much for dropping in, and for your comment!


  1. Interesting! I have no experience with ChatGPT. One thing that jumped out at me is the AI’s choice of name for the book store – the Book Nook. It’s the name of the book store in one of my mysteries that you edited. So is ChatGPT relying on the entirety of the Internet and giving an unbiased answer? Or customizing its responses to the individual questioner, and using their own info in the response? If it uses your own info to answer your question, it seems that a lot of confirmation bias would occur.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Heather, I did find its answer really interesting. The only information I gave it was the question I’ve quoted in my post, and nothing else. I did wonder, too, why it chose ‘Book Nook’ as a name. I googled Book Nook, and there are several shops with this name in the UK, and presumable in the US too. I guess it can only choose a name with ‘Book’ in it that it’s found on the internet and it can’t invent a name of its own, such as ‘Heather’s Happy Bookstore’.
      I’ve only used it for writing this blog so far, but from what I’ve heard, it will customise its response, but only if you tell it how you want it to amend its reply. It will then look again on the internet and try to answer your prompt/question accordingly.
      I can only imagine the headache this must be giving teachers in school these days when it comes to marking homework.
      Thanks for dropping in, and for your interesting comment!


    1. Marsha, the speed of the response was mind-blowing. If only I could write as fast! I’ve asked other writers and some of them have said they use AI to help structure their novel if they’re struggling, which is another interesting idea. It’s definitely worth exploring. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, and for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. A story about a writer’s conversations with a chatbot sounds a great idea, Bob. I can see it leading in all sorts of interesting directions. Thanks so much for setting the topic, and for the idea!


  2. WOW! I have to say I’m a bit afraid of AI – that it might not only put all us authors out of a job before we’re ready to retire, but that it will “dumb down” if you will, the quality of fiction/literature. Do we really want this? It’s a scary world out there.


    1. I can see it putting people out of a job now, Skye. I’m not so sure about writers and other creatives, but it may one day be clever enough to edit novels. We already have spell- and grammarcheckers, so why not?
      I’ve enjoyed this topic this month. Thanks for dropping in, and for your comment.


  3. Bravo Helena! I do not like change, am slow to embrace new technology, but have been curious about this app since I first heard of it. Thank you for sharing the brave new world but am not sure that it would be for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Victoria, I find the speed of change in technology both fascinating and frightening. I’m not especially interested in technology, but it’s part of life now. I feel I have to keep abreast of it or else be stranded in my old age!
      Thanks for dropping in, and for your comment.


  4. Sorry about the late reply (I’m a bit of a flimflamologist – bet Chat GPT couldn’t do that), but before falling into the usual sort of reply where I fearfully say this is the first step of the route to T-800 terminators and Judgment Day, I remember buying my first word processor and mainly thinking that this would help me move blocks of text around (I think the method was called Cut & Paste). The work would still be mine. That thing would just help me edit and arrange it better.

    While this chatbot could probably now write the whole story for me, and all I’d have to do would be edit the text adding my usual warped ideas, I’d probably just end up with quite a bland computerised concoction with a few human tweaks tacked on.

    I’d say writing has to be written by human writers, for all their faults and foibles, about the human condition. That’s probably the whole point of it all. An AI chatbot is not human, so what’s the point?

    I just came back from a few days debauchery in Pembrokeshire, and visited Laugharne, once home of the noted alcoholic and occasional writer, Dylan Thomas. He certainly had his foibles, but perhaps that’s what made him Dylan Thomas…

    Mind you, you know, I’m really not sure. A recent BBC article did mention that AI technology is forging ahead exponentially and Chat GPT “scripted stand-up routines in the style of the late comedian George Carlin about the Silicon Valley Bank failure. It opined on Christian theology. It wrote poetry. It explained quantum theory physics to a child as though it were rapper Snoop Dogg…” (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-64967627)

    So it’s becoming possible that if a programmer fed in everything we had about Dylan Thomas (excluding the malt whiskies), AI technology might well be able to produce Dylan-standard and Dylan-style poetry in a year or two.

    So the answer, perhaps, is that, pointless or not, it looks like this is really going to happen, and we’re just not ready for the consequences.

    Skynet might even wake up.

    Maybe we’re right to fear this first step towards T-800 terminators and Judgment Day…

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks so much for your interesting and thoughtful comment, James, and for the link. Whether AI will be able to replicate emotions is something that’s fascinated people – particularly writers – for decades. Blade Runner is my all-time favourite film. I think it could one day write a poem in the style of Dylan Thomas that might provoke emotion in the reader. Why not? As for the article on AI, and how terrified we should be – the world is run by human beings. How terrifying is that? Perhaps with the rapid development of AI we can find solutions on how to make the future a better place for us.
    As usual, I’ve really enjoyed your comment. Hope you enjoyed the debauchery in Pembrokeshire!


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