Most of you probably aren't old enough to remember the TV series The Hardy Boys Mysteries from the mid 1970s, but I am. Ah, the 70s, when guys had feathered hair. My hair was never feathered. Instead, I looked like a scrawny Art Garfunkel on a bad hair day.
There's another reference you probably don't know.
At any rate, I've really been going to town with ChatGPT / Dall-E, creating characters for my stories. I want my Southern, teenage philosopher-sleuth Bobbylee to look like John Schneider's Bo Duke character from The Dukes of Hazzard, so I uploaded a photo of Bo Duke to ChatGPT and asked it to create a prompt in Dall-E to generate an image just like it.
Swing and a miss!
I played with the prompt and kept generating new images until, much to my delighted surprise, I got teen heartthrob Shaun Cassidy from The Hardy Boys.
Perhaps the very biggest drawback to Dall-E is that you can't replicate a character in a subsequent image. I asked it to give me that person standing in front of a dirty, rusty old pickup and I ended up with someone completely different. Argh.
Still, It's a ton of fun to see your characters. You recognize them as soon as you see them. Truth to tell, however, that one still doesn't say Bobbylee to me. I think that will be his younger brother, TJ.
I also had it generate an image of the impish Grandmama, an old woman who is constantly causing mischievous trouble in my Arthurian stories and it did really, really well with her.
You can just see the wheels turning inside that venerable head as she plots and plans ways to stir up drama just for fun at court.
Again, much to my sorrow, I can't get Dall-E to take that same character and put her in different situations and emotional states.
I'm very optimistic, however. ChatGPT's fiction efforts are miles better than they used to be. The Dall-E I'm using today will be the worst version I will use from here on out. I have no doubt that my problems with repeatable characters and complex action scenes will be solved in the future.