I first had the idea for a writing machine many years ago, while watching an episode of the Avengers. Not the Marvel Avengers, but the John Steed and Emma Peel Avengers. There was a scene in which an elderly lady was creating romance novels by playing a piano: the angst/happiness balance was entirely determined by the ferocity or gentleness with which her hands tumbled over the keys.
I write a lot, and I love writing, but it takes time. So one afternoon, whilst lying on the bed suffering from the incessant heat, I decided to invent the Writing Machine.
As you can see from the picture, it looks complicated. That’s because it is complicated. I should prefer not to try to explain how it works, because I don’t see the point. Suffice it to say that the Writing Machine has enabled me to churn out many articles simultaneously. I merely select the type of article I wish to write (eg a rant, a list, a philosophical discourse), tell the WM how many words it needs to be, and press a button. It has a built-in libel checker (very handy for the rant articles), spellchecker etc etc.
I can set the WM to emulate any writer or any style. (I am delighted that many people have contacted me to say how useful they found my article “How to understand Facebook’s privacy settings”, written in the style of Geoffrey Chaucer.) If necessary, I can instruct it to write an article in rhyming couplets, a much under-used approach in my opinion.
It is fun to select a subject, and couple it with a completely inappropriate genre, as perhaps I have already hinted. For example, my seminal work entitled “The development of computational thinking in the Middle Ages” is written in Rhyming Slang. In contrast, my essay on “How to make anyone fall instantly in love with you before they have even met you” was written in the style of Raymond Chandler. This may strike some readers as oxymoronic, but I prefer to think of it as more of a creative clash of inconsistencies. (That phrase was created by the WM, by the way, when I couldn’t think of a suitable expression. At last, writer’s block has been obliterated by an algorithm.)
While the WM is churning out articles, thereby saving me time and labour, hours and hours of my time have been freed up. You may wonder what I am doing in my new-found leisure time. Why, writing articles, of course.
I wrote this article for the #blimage creative writing activity. All is explained in The #Blimage List, where you will find lists of other people’s writings under the auspices of #blimage. I have also written a #blimage article on the ICT and Computing in Education website, and my My Writes website. If you wish to try it out for yourself, all you have to do is write a blog post inspired by an image. Feel free to use the one I’ve employed here.