Robots and Authors

Not long ago, I saw a show about how a car plant was training its robots to make a new model of car (hey, I’m a geek; I like that sort of thing). It got me thinking about producing a car vs. producing a book.

The robots can do each operation identically each time; there are very few variations, so each car is more or less identical, aside from options like paint and interior fabrics. But imagine how boring a world it would be if every book was more or less identical, except for a few things like character names.

I’ve opined before about those that advocate rules, rules, rules for authors. The way the robots assembled the car reminds me somewhat of those seemingly endless rules. Do we want identical books, or do we want a wide variety of stories, with different styles depending on author?

I think the latter is far preferable, but in order to get that we have to understand that lists of rules aren’t going to produce that. Only individual talent, practice, and the freedom to create as we see fit will generate those varying books.

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