AI, the Elephant in the Room

Many writers are terrified of artificial intelligence (AI) because they think it’s going to replace them. When ​I talked about ChatGPT​ last year, I said I am a techno optimist (coined by ​Joanna Penn​.) Writing AI will not replace writers. Currently, you can’t press a button and generate a screenplay or novel. That day may come, but it is not where we are now. And even when it does, I don’t believe that computers will ever be as creative as human beings. In fact, books that are created by humans may sell at a premium in the near future. Tickets for movies written by humans may cost more. Even as we use these tools, as creators, we must double down on our humanity.

Generative AI relies on the creativity of the person asking the questions (which are called prompts.) If you don’t ask creative questions, you do not get creative answers. It is a tool to level up your creativity and writing. You can use it to brainstorm, analyze, and help you over writers’ block. And often the prose that you get needs editing.

If you haven’t tried AI, I strongly urge you to experiment with it. Play is the operative word here because it is fun. Brainstorming and storytelling, creating new worlds and characters is a blast! That is why we do it.

Here are two recent podcasts that do a fantastic job explaining how AI works and how writers can use it to their advantage.

Best Description of How AI Works

From The Author Wheel Podcast hosted by Greta Boris and Megan Haskell with guest Cameron Sutter

Cameron is a writer and software developer who created ​Plottr ​so he understands both the technical and the creative.

You can listen or read the show notes ​here​.

The Take Aways

1. What Plottr Is: Plottr is a visual tool designed to assist writers in planning and organizing their stories.

2. What LLM (Large Language Model) Is: LLMs are AI systems capable of understanding and generating human-like text. These models are trained on vast datasets of language, allowing them to grasp nuances in language, context, and even style. Their predictive capabilities enable them to complete sentences, paragraphs, or entire stories based on the instructions they receive. LLMs do not plagiarize other people’s writing. They are outputting original material based on what they learned about language from everything they have “read.”

3. Using Generative AI in Writing: The episode explores how writers can leverage AI tools like LLMs to enhance their creativity and productivity. This includes aspects like overcoming writer’s block, generating ideas, and refining their storytelling techniques.

What Authors Need to Know About AI

From Thomas Umstattd Jr. on The Novel Marketing Podcast.

You can listen or read the blog post ​here​.

The Take Aways

1. From the printing press to the word processor to digital books, writers have always been terrified that technology will ruin writing.

2. Writers can use AI tools to brainstorm, plot and outline, edit, analyze, and transcribe.

3. AI is not evil; people are. Tools can be used for good or bad.

The AI Writing Summit

This week (April 8 -12) is the online ​AI Writing Summit​ with workshops teaching how to supercharge your writing with AI. It is free to watch live but since the week is almost over, you can purchase the videos for $97.

AI Writing Tools

Here are the most popular writing tools. While some offer free versions, the paid ones are significantly better and worth the money. Most are monthly subscriptions, so it is easy to try for a month or two and then sample another one. Don’t forget that all of these tools count as business expenses for your taxes.

Both ChatGPT4 and Claude.ai can significantly aid a creative writer by offering real-time suggestions, helping to overcome writer’s block, generating ideas for plots or characters, and providing feedback on written content. These tools can enhance a writer’s creativity and productivity.

​ChatGPT4 ​– $20 a month

​Claude Pro​ – $20 a month

The benefit of Claude is that you can upload your entire novel or screenplay. Then you can ask Claude to perform a variety of tasks, such as generating ideas for plot development, creating character dialogues, suggesting improvements, or offering feedback on different aspects of your story. Claude can write loglines, book blurbs, podcast pitches and other marketing materials.

​Plottr​ – $149/$299 lifetime

Helps you visually outline your story using common story structures like the Hero’s Journey and Save the Cat. Plottr helps you keep track of all the details, writing a story bible as you go. It has tools to plan a series.

​Subtxt ​– $25/$45/$95 a month

Helps writers build a solid narrative framework, ensuring story elements are well-connected. Assists in creating detailed and consistent character arcs. Offers insights into the thematic underpinnings of a story. Generates plot ideas to help overcome writer’s block. Checks for narrative and character consistency throughout the story.

​Sudowrite ​– $10/$22/$44

Sudowrite is an AI assistant for creative writers. Think of it as a sparring partner who helps you edit your book, create new scenes, and generate plot ideas. Sudowrite can help you write your next sentence or plot point, and it can give you language to describe elements of your story. The describe feature, which creates descriptions using all five senses. It also has a shrink feature, which writes a synopsis.

​ProWriting Aid​ – $90/$108 a year

For proofreading and copy editing.

​Marlowe​ (Authors.ai) – free/$29.95 a month

For novelists, Marlowe generates a 30-page report about your book. It analyzes: emotions, pacing, overused phrases, frequency of adverbs and adjectives, clichés, similar books, dialogue to narrative ratio.

AI Image Tools

​Dalle​ & ​Midjourney​

As a writer, it is fun to create images of your characters, worlds, or climatic scenes for inspiration and marketing. These tools are much easier to use now because you can use regular words instead of prompts full of lingo. Dalle is now connected to ChatGPT, ​Bing’s CoPilot​ (powered by ChatGPT & Dalle), and ​Canva ​(has loads of AI tools).

I generated in Canva the picture for this blog. I used the prompt happy cartoon elephant typing on a computer.


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