In my last post I mentioned how I like to doodle cartoons of my characters to inspire my writing. Since then I’ve gone a step further and tried to create images with NightCafe, an AI art generator.
First I made images of the monstrous Vegetable People in Book Two of my Bad Boy Wizard series. This was pretty easy, and fun.
I was less successful with Charlie Busby, the Bad Boy Wizard of the title. The words ‘boy with cheeky face, tawny hair and hazel eyes’ generated an image of a Disney-style elf with pointy ears and old-fashioned clothes, which was not what I wanted at all; Charlie is a modern schoolboy and I’ve always pictured him as being quite stockily built. So I entered the words ‘plump schoolboy with cheeky face, tawny hair and hazel eyes’. This didn’t work at all, and a message came up saying I’d used ‘prohibited words’.
Alarm bells rang then, so I googled ‘prohibited words on NightCafe’ and looked at the list of possible triggers. Since I hadn’t sworn, referred to drugs or used racist language, I had to conclude that the issue was ‘sexualisation of children’. The alarm bells got louder. I thought maybe I shouldn’t have described Charlie as ‘plump’, so I tried the same sentence without that word. Again, I got the ‘prohibited words’ warning. Seriously rattled now, I tried once more, using ‘boy’ instead of ‘schoolboy’. This time it worked, so clearly ‘schoolboy’ was the problem.
This is the image I ended up with:
It’s close-ish, but not quite how Charlie looks in my mind. However, I was afraid to refine it any more in case I used another prohibited word. As it was, I half expected a visit from the police.
Next I generated an image of Charlie’s mother, a tyrannical woman who makes his life hell. The words ‘modern woman with short shiny red hair who looks like Henry VIII’ produced this…
In both cases she doesn’t look nasty enough, and I’m not sure why she doesn’t appear to be wearing clothes in the second one.
I got better results for Charlie’s dad, and his best friend.
I haven’t made any further experiments, as it’s a lot of fiddling about and I’ve got enough on my hands with the stories themselves.
I’ve completed the final book in the series now, and I’m in the process of tweaking and polishing all seven of them. My WIP page only mentions four books, but I’ve been unable to update that page. I suspect I’ll have to switch to the block editor to do it.
That’s a headache for another day!