In 1953, Roald Dahl wrote a short story about an AI Writing tool called The Great Automatic Grammatizator. It used to be the stuff of impossible fiction, but in AI writing tools are here for real, and they’re probably already better than you expect.
Dahl’s story is dystopian, and ends with creative writers signing away there names and styles, so that they can retire and have robots do all the writing for them. It ends with the forced choice, to either sign away their creativity or let their family go hungry:
The time the screw turns tighter for those who hesitate to sign their names. This very moment, as I sit here listening to the howling of my nine starving children in the other room, I can feel my own hand creeping closer and closer to that golden contract that lies over on the other side of the desk. Give us strength, Oh Lord, to let our children starve.
It’s a stark and dire warning against this kind of technology, and many people are raising warnings and ethical concerns about new AI writing tools like chatGPT3.
But not because the writing is bad. Because it’s too good.
In all the controversy, however, one thing that is only starting to become recognized is how powerful AI writing tools can be for proofreading and editing. The argument for or against editing usually goes like this: new authors ask whether they need it. Some people say “absolutely: do not publish until you’ve hired an editor!” and other people say “it’s a scam: get beta readers.”
It kind of depends on whether you’re pitching trad publishers and literary agents, or planning to self-publish. Of course it should be as clean as possible and as good as possible. In the past, I’ve made the argument that book cover design matters more than editing; because they have to start reading it before the typos matter.
And also that proofreading isn’t really necessary because you can use Grammarly to find typos and grammar mistakes. But it takes a long time, even when using something like Grammarly or spellcheck, and it’s hard to proof your own work. So it’s fine to outsource, but expensive – even basic line editing or proofreading for a book may cost $500~$1000 (money better spent on covers); and fixing the small stuff will make your book clean but not good.
What you really need is a developmental editor from a professional who can point out all the critical story structure problems or weak writing and help you significantly improve the dramatic narrative: but that will cost thousands of dollars. As an editor, I’m really good at this stuff, but I hate doing it. It’s a huge *waste* of time and skills to fix thousands of grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes that anybody could have found; and even if I’m just doing a passive developmental edit or manuscript critique, it takes me a long time to read the whole book carefully and I charge a lot: and most authors make common, predictable mistakes that they could learn to avoid by going through my (mostly free) writing resources.
BUT: it takes a ton of time and experience to learn everything, and I get that for most authors, it’s faster and easier to pay for help rather than learn how to self-edit. Most authors get help to make their story clean, but it still won’t necessarily be successful, which is the hidden tragedy of all self-published books – that they are made for personal expression and not deliberately as a product to be enjoyed, and that most authors lose money they’ll never earn back (although, those that stick with it, will gradually learn to do better and it IS possible to be successful and make a living.
So I’ve spent the last year experimenting with AI writing tools to see whether or not they might help authors write books… and the good news is they absolutely can!
Down below I’ve listed some of the more interesting ones, but here’s a quick summary of my favorites:
- Sudowrite for fiction (and nonfiction)
- Jasper (used in the following examples)
- GhosttheWriter or Quillbot for paraphrasing or rewriting
Sudowrite is the best, but if you just need proofreading or light editing, chatGPT does a pretty great job. I’ve been building my own tool, GhosttheWriter, which is experimental but also pretty powerful.
Best AI writers, software and online tools
Ps this is rough, work in progress that’s not quite done yet….
check out my other post on best writing apps & software.
Hey there fellow writers! Are you tired of staring at your blank screen, unsure of where to begin? Do you find yourself stuck in a creative rut, unable to come up with fresh ideas for your writing? As someone who’s spent countless hours honing their craft, I know just how frustrating it can be to get stuck on a plot point or find yourself staring at a blank page. Fear not, my friends, for the answer to all your writing woes may lie in the wonderful world of AI writing tools and software.
That’s right, you heard me correctly. With the help of these advanced programs, you can take your writing to the next level and beyond. From generating ideas and outlines to editing and revising your work, these tools are here to make your life as a writer easier and more productive. They can even help you improve your writing skills by providing personalized feedback and suggestions. And let me tell you, once you start using them, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without them.
But why are they so important, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Writing can be a lonely and challenging process, and it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. With AI writing tools, you can take the pressure off yourself and let the software do the heavy lifting. Not only can these tools help you generate new ideas, but they can also help you organize your thoughts and streamline your writing process.
One of the greatest benefits of using AI writing tools is their ability to help you edit and revise your work. We all know that editing can be a tedious and time-consuming process, but with the help of software like Grammarly or ProWritingAid, you can catch grammar and spelling errors with ease. These tools can also help you improve your writing by suggesting alternative words and phrasing to enhance your prose.
And let’s not forget about the power of AI in generating content. Need a character name or a plot twist? Look no further than AI writing tools like Plot Generator or Character Name Generator. These tools can help you get unstuck and give you the inspiration you need to keep writing.
Now, I know some of you might be skeptical about using AI for something as personal and creative as writing. But trust me, these tools aren’t here to replace you or your unique voice. Instead, they’re here to support and enhance your writing, making it even better than before.
In short, AI writing tools and software are the future of writing. They can help you generate ideas, organize your thoughts, improve your writing, and save you time and effort in the process. So, if you’re ready to take your writing to the next level, I highly recommend checking out some of the best AI writing tools and software available today. Why not give them a try? Your writing (and sanity) will thank you.
AI editing and writing tools
So with all that out of the way, here’s what I’m excited about: it’s possible to use chatGPT3 or GPT3(davinci) to edit your manuscript, and it does a pretty good job. I could put in the text chapter by chapter and the tools will fix all the typos, grammar and punctuation. It may make some mistakes, it may miss some things, but it’ll catch a LOT of the banal, minor punctuation issues that I would have to manually fix a thousand times until I hate my life… and then I can focus on real issues that actually employ and require my expertise.
Proofreading AI tools
These are only starting to become available and it’s early days, but within a year I think they’ll be a lot better. The main advantage is, rather than having Grammarly mark potential issues and needing to click to approve each change, an AI tool will just fix everything and give you some options.
Rewrite or Paraphrase AI tools
These are a little more robust, and not always suited for fiction, but they work miracles for something that has been translated or was written by a non-native speaker. They basically offer other ways of structuring sentences that sound smoother and flow better. If you write fiction, that’s probably overkill, and you don’t want a machine rewriting everything. But for nonfiction it works pretty well (and for fiction it CAN work well, with more precise prompts and instructions.)
You can also take your chapter and just *improve* it: make it longer, add more detailed description, add more drama and conflict and suspense. Write in the style of a bestselling (genre) book. You can’t be precious with the output so this is more of an an early days, rough draft rather than a final polish.
Developmental editing tools
This is the most interesting one: you can add in a chapter and prompt AI to give you a critical literary review of the chapter, focusing on the style, writing, descriptions, everything. It *works* right now but isn’t perfect. In a year I think it will be.
AI Writing Generation
People are really having fun with having AI tools generate long-form articles and short stories based on a simple writing prompt, because it can do just about anything and is really very decent. But right now it’s more of a gimmick. However, for drafting a book (or pumping out 100 SEO articles that are probably already better than what you’re paying writers for and cost so much less) these tools are becoming very popular… but mostly in the tech industries.
Artists and writers, are very often unenthused or even actively hostile to AI generative tools on principle. And that’s fine; but most authors also struggle with writing and editing books, because it’s hard.
So I made this list to feature some of my favorite writing softwares, and some new AI writing tools that I think could be very useful, either right now or in the near future.
I’m still updating and adding to this list, so it’s meant as just a quick introduction and you can continue doing your own research to see which tool you need.
GPT-4 / ChatGPT
Almost all new AI tools are built on GPT3. “ChatGPT” is a version of GPT3, but not exactly the same. You an access GPT3 directly in OpenAI’s playground, and it’s ridiculously cheap (about 2 cents/1000 words). The problem is, it’s not super user-friendly.
ChatGPT is a cleaner interface, and it’s responsive: so you can keep asking questions and it will remember the history. This is what I was playing with, on this post and video. Because, in theory, you could put in a chapter and it could continue the next chapter. It’s not quite there yet, but it is super impressive, which is why it got a million users its first week. It was free at first, but they’ve just started adding pricing plans and offering them to some users, but I’m not sure if it’ll stay this price or whether you can upgrade.
Update: the previous versions were GPT3.5.
GPT4 just launched, if you’re paying for the chatGPT pro ($20 a month) you’ll have access to GPT4. It’s kind of amazing. Right now it’s the best thing, because other tools can’t build on its API yet, but that will change soon.
Jasper – AI for business
Jasper (formerly Jarvis) is one of the first AI writing tools I used. It’s meant for copy writing and sales, using psychological sales formula and persuasion. It works well for long blog posts but is pretty great for sales pages or sales copy: which means you can use it for blurbs to boost book sales. It works great, and as first-mover is probably one of the most powerful options.
$49/m for 50,000 words
Wepik’s AI Writer
Wepik’s AI Writer is more than just a tool; it’s like having an expert writer by your side. Whether you’re penning a blog, a book, or business stuff, this AI doesn’t just help with ideas—it’s fantastic at editing and fixing mistakes too. It spots typos, grammar slips, and even suggests ways to make your sentences sound better. And it’s not just for factual stuff—it can help with stories too, given the right prompts. Sure, there are debates about using AI for writing, but when paired with human touch, tools like Wepik’s AI Writer can be a writer’s best friend.
This is something I’ve been working on, mostly for educational/entertainment purposes. You can type what you want it to write, and (optional) choose a writing style by “summoning” the ghost of a famous writer. I’ve been building in some really advanced editing and rewriting tools.
It was meant to be a fun novelty project, but actually it’s got some insane features, everything I wanted, using variations of chatgpt3 prompts. You can already rewrite your content in certain styles. But it will soon have: edit this, give me constructive critical feedback, rewrite in active tense (show don’t tell), rewrite in present/past or first person POV / third person POV.
It’s especially great for fiction, because I did a lot of research and have very long and detailed prompts. It’ll also have “keep writing this” so you could put in one scene and it would write the next. It’s still in the works, but it’s fun to play with and some of the features are going to be pretty amazing.
Sudowrite – AI for fiction
Currently, Sudowrite is the leading recommendation among fiction writers. It does a lot of things well, and I was impressed enough with it that I’ll probably use it a lot. With some practice, you can get it to geenrate a scene and keep it going; but you can go back and rewrite with different settings, for a scene that needs more action or romance or mystery. It has a built in name/place/everything generator, and I haven’t tested the limits yet but they seem to be long enough that *maybe* I could continue a long-form story or novel and it would keep track of everything that happened earlier (this is the “holy grail” of AI writing – writing full novels and keeping track of personalities, characters, plot events, world-building background and history, etc… we aren’t there yet but I’ll bet some of these AI writing tools will be capable by the end of 2023 or soon after).
$20/m for 90,000 words.
I never really got a handle on Claude, but authors swear by it – it’s great for feedback and has a 100K model. It’s mostly good for brainstorming, developing ideas, or improving your writing. People love it because it’s so supportive and friendly.
I’m in some writing groups and apparently NovelAI got a new upgrade that makes it as good as SudoWrite or Claude… you be the judge.
Also for marketing copy, sales pages and things like that: “Artificial intelligence makes it fast & easy to create content for your blog, social media, website, and more! “
Canva Magic Write
Canva is an online graphic design tool, so I was surprised to see they’d added an AI writing tool called “Magic Write.” I tested it a little, and I like the smooth interface (it’s like google docs, but with AI). I asked it to brainstorm an outline for an article on how to write a book, and then filled in some gaps.
I even used an AI detection tool and it said it was mostly written by a human, which is great – because it definitely wasn’t. (Those tools have about a 50% hit or miss rate, but it’s still a good idea to test out tools to see what their default AI written content looks like. Technically, they’re all using GPT3 probably, but different internal prompts and settings can make a huge difference.
I think this is included with Canva pro, so you might have access to it already, and if you don’t it’s a cheaper option, but still great to play around with. They have some nice features, like brainstorm, continue writing, long-form articles, and (soon) summarize and paraphrase.
$12.99/m … unlimited?
I’ve also been using this one a fair bit. It’s a rephraser/rewriting tool and it’s hugely popular right now, with 700K search traffic. You can paste in your writing and it’ll rewrite it for you in different styles. Super useful for nonnative speakers or some nonfiction, but not great for fiction or literary stuff. I’ve used it to clean up translations, and sometimes it does blurbs well.
PS I have my own rephraser tool for fiction, that’s a bit bettter.
Grammarly & ProwritingAid
Grammarly and ProwritingAid are two of the older tools that help check writing and find typos. I did a deep comparison a few years ago (here) and found that Grammarly finds more actual typos. Prowritingaid is useful to go a bit deeper on writing style, but still pretty basic. I don’t love that you have to go through and click each instance a thousand times and fix everything manually. But my guess is, both tools will adapt quickly and upgrade with more AI features to stay competitive.
It’s astonishing that people will pay me thousands of dollars for a basic edit and proofread, when they could find all the typos, punctuation and grammar mistakes themselves with grammarly… but, also, it takes dozens of hours of work and is a pain (tedious, boring) so I understand why it’s easier to outsource. Plus, grammarly will flag lots of things that aren’t actually issues (it doesn’t like how I use commas)… but I ignore all that and look for actual typos. You really only need the “correctness” feature, which I think might be free.
Also, they both have Word plugins, which is useful.
I wasn’t going to include this one, but even though it’s ancient and buggy, it’s still primarily what I use to write books and novels. And since Microsoft is investing in chatgpt3 there’s a lot of rumors that it will start including AI tools into its existing “Office” writing software.
DeepL – Write
Here’s something I am excited about; I believe you can just upload you text and it will fix all the issues for you. Just the issues (typos, punctuation, etc). To be honest it’s nothing groundbreaking, you can already do this with any GPT3 tool with the right prompts. Use something like “act as a professional editor and proofreader: fix any typos, spelling issues, grammar issues or punctuation problems. Edit this and remove problems.”
But anyway, it’s a simple interface and I love the idea of uploading content and just having it fix everything immediately. The only thing is, it probably isn’t flawless, so you may need to proofread it all again yourself or use grammarly to hunt for typos. Still worth it, if it fixes 300 punctuation or formatting issues you’d need to fix yourself manually.
DeepL is also really good at translations.
I haven’t had a chance to play around with Dabble yet but it comes highly recommended by and author friend. I believe it’s kind of like Scrivener, in that you can write and organize all your ideas. I don’t think it has actual AI features yet but if you’re looking for a place to organize your book, keep track of writing goals and word count, etc, it could be useful.
Cold Turkey Writer
Cold Turkey Writer is basically a productivity app; it makes a distraction free workspace and won’t let you exit until you hit your worcount goals.
Most Dangerous Writing App
Something similar is Squibler’s “most dangerous writing app” which forces you to write and has a minimal workspace and countdown timer so you’re pressured to do the work. I like the design and it’s useful, but just to write the words during a quick sprint; you’ll still need to move them to wherever you do your whole manuscript compiling.
Write every day
If you want to establish a writing habit, this one works pretty well – it offers merit badge awards to keep
you motivated and productive.
GoogleDocs (AI plugins)
Lots of people like to write in Google docs because they can access it from any device and it’s always saved and updated. There are already some AI plugins I’ll review soon; but I wouldn’t be surprised if Google docs responds to Canva and Microsoft with their own AI writing tools and features.
The best AI writing software (2023)
The best writing software of 2023, in my opinion, is one I’m not allowed to share yet. It’s based off my 24 chapter plot outlines, but helps keep everything together like Scrivener. And there’s an AI feature, to generate images for your characters and scenes; keep track of your daily writing habits and word count goals, use a “brainstorm” feature to research anything without getting lost down a google rabbit hole, and a lot of other things. It’s pretty great, and when it’s ready I’ll add a link here. But sign up to my email list if you want first/early access and probably a discount.
Coming soon, haven’t had time to research yet!
Here are some more writing tools I haven’t had a chance to play with yet; I’ll write a quick review soon as I go test them out…
- CELX script writing
- Final Draft
WordPress AI writing app plugins…
What I really need, is a way to bulk-generate hundreds of wordpress posts and auto-schedule them, to build up new blogs quickly and keep them active with new content. So none of these tools are great for that. For really high-quality posts, I’d just use chatgpt3 (however, it’s older and not connected to the internet. Bing’s new version seems like it is connected to the internet, which is more useful for news, events or recent product reviews, and it looks great).
BUT here’s the thing, right now I’m using AI to write blog posts, to build up content and try to rank in Google so I get traffic that might earn some money. The problem with all that is, search is changing in a big way. Bing and chatgpt3 can just answer questions. Soon every app and program will have some easy version of this feature. So who is going to google or search for stuff and try to find answers when these new tools are easier, more useful, faster? Nobody.
Maybe blogging really is dead this time, it’s hard to say for sure. But I still want to build blogs that get some authority, to backlink to my main stuff that *won’t* get replaced easily or quickly, like unique templates I can make and people can use. So this is basically a very long casestudy/experiment to see if it works at all, but I won’t be bothered if it doesn’t.
I’m going to write about 1000 AI generated blog posts and put them up quickly, start linkbuilding between them, and see what happens. I’ll spend more time on the big, long, major posts and less time on all the dumb simple posts. All the content will be unique, none of it will be particularly fabulous.
What is the best AI creative writing software?
Right now the best is chatGpt4 – but soon a lot of programs will have that built in, so it depends on the use case. The best AI writing tools will have a built in process that steers you towards the right results, so it’s not all prompt engineering and experimentation. It’s going to get way too easy to plug in a few factors on a form and get brilliant content delivered instantly – that’s *better* than a thousand-dollar content or sales copywriter.
Are AI writers any good?
Yes. With Gpt4, they’re uncanny. You can adopt any authors writing style. You can instantly rephrase your own writing to make it much better. Humans will not be able to tell the difference. Click here for writing examples of GPT4.
Objection! AI writing is crap…
So real quick, most “real” writers are hating on AI or saying it will never be as good as real writers. Often they say things like it has no soul or creativity, or it can only write crappy popular books. So, keep in mind, most authors are writing creative, passion-fueled books that actually have no plot or pacing, with purple prose and flourishes and fancy words. Most writers are writing creative books that won’t sell because they aren’t enjoyable to read. I teach authors how to write popular, commercial books – because there are rules and you can learn them.
Also, the writing is crap, unless you give it a very specific, very long and detailed prompt to make it not crap. Then it’s actually pretty impressive… and in a year it will be terrifying. But it won’t really “replace” all the artists who are writing for themselves or their own enjoyment. It will be a threat to commercial authors, who are already writing quickly, writing to market, and making money – but those writers are already seeing the potential of AI.
Is AI writing plagiarism?
A lot of people are accusing chatGPT3 and other AI tools as “theft” – and I get the impulse. This is all crazy stuff. But currently, styles can’t be copyrighted, so it’s only (legal) plagiarism if you use the exact same copyrighted content and actually hurt the copyright holder’s income, and they can prove that.
It’s true, AI writing software trained off all the stuff on the internet, even without permission; for artists, this has been a call to arms because they didn’t give permission for their art to be used in AI text to image generators. CNET was accused of using AI to write articles for months, and is now accused of plagiarism: but there’s ethical/moral plagiarism that might get you in trouble in university (“cheating”) and actual criminal plagiarism or copyright infringement.
Currently, neither these tools (nor the manner in which they were developed) is illegal, and it probably won’t be (since all big companies are on board already, with both text to image, and AI writing generators.) Amazon just added this checkbox, which shows they are adapting, not refusing to embrace AI tools.
There’s a lot to be said about how these AI tools will destroy humanity and creativity, and it’s a big discussion. I’ve said a lot on this already, so I won’t repeat everything here. But basically:
- Is it legal? YES
- Could that change in the future? Maybe, but doubtful.
- Can you use it without getting in trouble? YES
- Is it “ethical” to use AI tools for your writing?
That last question doesn’t really have an answer. Most people will say, using AI tools at all is revulting, and only a talentless hack would use them. But writing books is hard; most people already hire book coaches, or editors at least, and often someone to write their blurbs, or even a heavy developmental editor, or ghostwriter/cowriter.
There are lots of ways to write books, and rarely is one person excellent at every different skillset. But outsourcing is expensive and doing it all yourself is brutal torture. For the first time, AI tools are going to make it easy to quickly sketch out plotting outlines, quick rough draft scenes and chapters, improve and polish the writing, and even proofread and edit it (I constantly see readers complain about indie books and typos or grammar mistakes; but that’s because editing is so expensive and even an editor probably won’t catch everything.
Many people, myself included, see these tools as useful programs that will allow us to do what we’re already doing, but with much less sweat and work. If you’ve been following this platform (creativindie) you’ll know it’s all about how to make more great creative work without suffering or sacrificing for your art. So while I’m hesitant and careful, for both legal and moral reasons, I’m also trying to stay hyper-aware of developments in AI writing tools, because very soon they will be a normal part of life.
What does this mean for book editors?
Obviously, it’s a problem. If it’s easy and super cheap to get critical feedback, or skip all that and just rewrite and revise your writing to make it clean and better, that’ll save you thousands of dollars (not to mention years of struggle, procrastination, fear and doubt, so you can finish better books faster).
But it will put editors out of work: especially those who only offer proofreading or line-edits. Most authors don’t want an editor to rewrite their story anyway, they just want it clean and fixed, with some broad tips on how to improve it (which I’ve always had frustrations about: because most books are not well constructed and need significant, major rewrites, and as an editor there’s only so much I can do).
For my part, I’ll probably close down my book editing services completely and just recommend AI tools instead; or focus on high-level critique or revisions. Proofreading is not high-skill intensive, and it can be outsource or replaced by authors seeking cheaper options.
Editors are going to have to get better at the high level stuff, understanding what makes excellent book writing, flagging weaknesses, pointing out consistency issues, all the real things that only a human can do (for now) and in my opinion, a lot of editors – even if they have the skills – are not working hard enough to make sure they do a good job (machines are better than humans in terms of attention and work ethic).
There are some things only humans can do, and there are some editors that will continue to be valuable. I imagine editors will start saying things like “AI has no soul and can never replace us!” but it obviously can, just like it will replace book cover artists, book narrators, and many other things.
Yes including writers! Most writers will be *replaced* in that AI can write well enough to be better than most inexperienced, human writer’s messy first drafts. Writers who say AI has no soul or they won’t enjoy AI written books often believe that passion and creativity create better books: they’re often the ones who don’t sell books because they treat it as art (self-expression) rather than entertainment (user experience).
This article “AI is the end of writing” is pessimistic but fair: most commercial (successful/beloved) books that sell and are enjoyed, are written to formula and can absolutely be recreated and churned out with enough skill and experience.
I’ve been told (recently) I’m a soulless demon for talking about AI at all; and there’s always an assumption that I’m “pro-AI”. But I’m not – I absolutely agree that AI is potentially the death of creativity and human inspiration; I get why it’s terrifying and demoralizing.
But I’ve always focused on supporting authors on a budget, to write and publish the best books they can without wasting way too much money on unnecessary expenses. In most cases, AI is not a replacement at all; it’s just a cheap alternative. Maybe it’ll never be as good (though really, it’s often better). But it is cheaper. It allows people to do more with less money, time or experience. It lets creative people make more progress at a higher quality output than they can currently.
Some people may choose a boutique, fully human service and be happy to pay for it, but not everyone can afford that luxury: previously they were SOL (shit out of luck) and had no way to compete at all. These tools level the playing field. All people are creative. All people have desires and goals.
Some can afford to outsource the tricky (or boring) stuff, saving hundreds of hours of effort. Other people can’t. In my opinion, it’s never really been about the “war on art” – it’s a culture clash between people who will take the better deal at the price they can afford, rather than simply being extinguished by competition and rising service costs.
Best writing Apps and software
I’ve had trouble with this list because things are progressing SO quickly and AI is now everywhere. This is a list of some writing apps and software I use and recommend, there are a few I didn’t feature here but they’re super useful so check them out! (PS I keep it updated with AI writing tools as well.)
I’m a philosophy dropout with a PhD in Literature. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write fantasy novels to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles.