Wanted to continue expanding on ideas from this post about the act of reading & writing becoming merged through the experience of generative AI tools.

While poking around on the topic, I discovered that dialogic reading is a term that is used (under the larger umbrella of dialogic learning) around a style of reading with children, where while looking through a book, you ask them questions and make observations about what’s happening in the narrative.

From the site linked above:

When most adults share a book with a preschooler, they read and the child listens. In dialogic reading, the adult helps the child become the teller of the story. The adult becomes the listener, the questioner, the audience for the child.

It’s interesting that they even use the word “prompts” in this context, where you prompt the child to say something about the book. Then you talk through together evaluating and expanding the response.

I’ve definitely used this method with developing storylines with AI partners; Character AI in particular springs to mind here, since it is literally a dialogue with a character. Each participant asks questions, adds, corrects, etc.

I was polling ChatGPT to see if it could come up with other possible names or correlated concepts to apply here.

It brought up both interactive fiction and choose your own adventure. But neither of those really captures for me the merging of reading & writing that happens with generative AI tools. Interactive fiction, at least in my mind, is still bound by the constraints set up by the original creator of the work or the narrative space or environment in which the action takes place. It might be that the reader/player can navigate in the order that they choose (also seen in open world games), but they don’t necessarily have the ability to invent whole cloth, and to determine (curate) if a generated element should be included as ‘canon’ in that world.

As Wikipedia states more plainly on the interactive storytelling page:

The author creates the setting, characters, and situation which the narrative must address, but the user (also reader or player) experiences a unique story based on their interactions with the story world.

That to me suggests there is a need for a new set of terms & concepts around these ideas being applied in a much more open-ended generative storytelling landscape.