Randomly generated titles for Harlequin romance novels

You can use recurrent neural networks (RNNs) to generate text: feed one the names of death metal bands (say) and it will start creating it's own. Ditto ice-cream flavors, paint colors, Trump tweets, etc.

One popular package that allows the likes of me to play with this technology was developed by a data scientist, Max Woolf. He's got a great how-to page on his blog. Lifehacker also have an extremely simple and helpful guide that relies on Max's work.

Data

What random text should I generate? I have to feed an RNN a few thousand examples before it can start creating its own (or at least creating text that feels realistic). Fortunately I found a list of all of Harlequin's books from 1949 to 2012; about 4400 titles in total. That is large enough to give the RNN a chance to identify the patterns in the titles, small enough that the RNN will not need to run for hours before giving a result.

Code

You can find the full version of this in my git repository here. The short version is:

  • Install python3, tensorflow, and textgenrnn on your computer.
  • Create "training" and "run" scripts in python. The training script reads all the example data and discovers its underlying patterns, the run script generates new examples.
  • Enjoy!

Results

The RNN's "run" step has a temperature parameter that you can dial up or down betwen zero and one. I think this is something of a misnomer. Lifehacker describe it as a "creativity dial"; I prefer to think of it as a weirdness control. Here are some of the titles that the RNN produced, ordered by temperature.

TEMPERATURE: 0.2
The Man From The Heart
The Baby Bonding
The Wild Sister
The Man In The Bride
The Sun And The Sheikh
The Sheikh's Convenient Wife
TEMPERATURE: 0.4
The Girl At Saltbush Bay
The Bachelor And The Playboy
The Dream And The Sunrancher
The Touch Of The Single Man
The Billionaire Bride
Hunter's Daughter
TEMPERATURE: 0.6
The Wolf Of When
A Savage Sanctuary
The Rancher's Forever Drum
Only My Heart Of Hearts
The Sheikh's Daughter
The Sheriff's Mother Bride
TEMPERATURE: 0.8
Chateau Pland
The Golden Pag
Just Mother And The Candles
Reluctant Paragon
The Unexpected Islands
Expecting the Young Nurse
TEMPERATURE: 1.0
The Girl In A Whirlwind
In Village Touch (Doctor Season)
Rapture Of The Parka
Portrait Of Works!
"Trave Palagry Surrender, Baby"
Bridegroom On Her Secret

So, which of these would you read?