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Why AI Does Not Understand My Work

The AI suggestions for my posts for this blog were: Italian Destination Weddings and Diversity in Romance.

It's a good thing none of these damn things auto-generate, because there is nothing usable in those suggestions for a website whose theme is: 'I have mystery-adventure stories. Want some?'

While I am thinking of genre, I will take you on a small side trip because I feel vindicated. I read far too many Victorian style melodramas in my younger years, including Wilkie Collins 'The Moonstone.' I think I reviewed that here. Anyway, I bought 'The Floating Admiral' recently, which is a Golden Age detective story written as a fun little group project that the famous Detection Club threw together as a lark.

When I had read 'The Moonstone' I had thought it was more melodramatic than Golden Age detective stories. When I read the tongue-in-cheek oath the Detection Club took, forbidding secret twins and limiting secret passages to one, I thought that was a direct fling at the type of melodrama 'The Moonstone' partook in.

And then the introduction to 'The Floating Admiral' put a cap on it: Dorothy L. Sayers distinctly says that thriller and adventure writers need not apply, and that one of the club's objectives is 'to free it (the detective story) from the bad legacy off sensationalism, clap-trap, and jargon with which it was unhappily burdened in the past.'

In other words, they are gatekeeping. They are aware that mysteries like Sherlock Holmes and 'The Moonstone' came out of melodrama, and they are rejecting part of that past. They are also aware that mysteries frequently can be sensationalist, going back to their melodramatic roots in their far-fetched plots.

Honestly, good for them. They had the proper attitude of acknowledging that their gatekeeping wasn't that important, but also that, especially as far as marketing goes, it is good to know what you are calling your book.

So, to get back to the first paragraph: I wouldn't fit in the Detection Club. The Wolfsburg Adventures, while often mysteries at their core, frequently indulge in other genre tropes- stuff like family drama and historical info dumping- and fit more into adventure genres. They are too slow to be thrillers and spend too little time on romantic relationships to be romance anything. The just finished story veers close to thriller territory, with a ticking clock and a sneaking killer on the loose, but I still think it would probably to call it an adventure involving spies. An AI autogenerated text could only produce a blog post 'Top 10 Historical Mysteries' or '10 Medieval Spies.' It's kind of a category, not exactly on its own, but a blend. Especially the made-up country and geography, which could land it in fantasy, even though none of the other plot elements are fantastical. Hell, I know of at least two historical mysteries who keep their time-period and country real but give their main characters special powers- mind reading and such. I'm not really a fan of this, though I understand the impulse. I just think the mystery genre tends to hand talents verging on superpowers to their detectives already and relies heavily on the fantasy that you are the smartest one in the room anyway.

So, listen, I'm going to keep categorizing my stories by main plot, which is mostly mystery, though the current mystery is whether the current government will stand. Just know that Wolfsburg would probably not fit in the algorithm.


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