Short answer: Yes, for now.
Content respinners, rewording tools and sentence rephrasers have been around for a long time. It was a way for black-hat SEO gurus to steal content and make it unique enough to still rank in google
So why is Quillbot blowing up right now?
AI Writing Tools are brand new and amazing
They were already becoming good, in the summer of 2022, but not so easy to access. First moves had a big advantage and a handful of tools are making tons of money, basically providing a friendly user interface to access much cheaper AI writing services.
And that has some value: the latest version of GTP-3 (davinci) which just came out late 2022, is WAY better than anything that’s ever existed before, but it takes careful prompting to get the results you want. So some tools have built-in prompts that generate cleaner results.
Who even needs this stuff?
That’s a good question. These tools seem to be designed mostly for bloggers and online businesses, to generate content, and it works great. Tools like Jasper AI or WriteSonic (my two favorites) are built to “1-click” long form article content.
It’s true that Google doesn’t like AI generated content, however, and some sites took a big hit over the last few months – but it’s an easy way to make lots of content and fill out a new blog or website quickly; you should definitely edit and add some human sounding stuff too.
AI paraphrase generator & paragraph rewriter?
But we are entering a phase when these super powerful AI writing tools are starting to be noticed by normal people, for normal things. Consider the *billions* of people who write in English as a second language and need a quick content editor, to smooth things out.
Or all the *native speakers* who want to tighten up their resume, job application, grant proposal, or even a romantic letter. Not to mention the fierce, desperate writers who want to get published and make their first draft good enough to share.
Writing tools like prowritingaid and grammarly have held the spotlight for long enough, but they are very limited and nowhere near as useful as something like Quillbot.
What does Quillbot actually do?
Here’s the main dashboad, which is clean and simple. Other AI writing tools have a ton of use-case stuff for generating specific types of text (a lot of sales copy/persuasion stuff). Quillbot just takes your content and makes it better. It has a built-in grammar check, and plagiarism checker.
It also connects straight to Ms Word or Google Docs (via a chrome plugin).
Why is it so freaking popular right now, with 700K search volume?
Because the first two options, “standard” and “fluency” are free.
- Standard will just rewrite your text and make it better. You can keep hitting “paraphrase” until you get what you like.
- Fluency ensures the text is readable and free of errors.
So, it’s basically like a free version of grammarly?
No, it’s better. Because it uses AI, which is much smarter. So it does a lot more than highlight typos or weak writing, and suggest banal fixes and useless notes about incorrect commas.
And if you upgrade, you get some even more powerful tools.
Formal, Simple & Creative settings will give a wider range of results.
You can simplify academic jargon or tech-speak or medical research into simpler content people can understand. Or you can make your simple writing sound formal and distant, like for a dissertation or business document.
The Shorten and Expand options are useful too.
So it’s just an editing tool?
Yes, basically. But one that works really well, and can instantly improve your writing without a lot of complex settings. I’ve used it for work that was translated into English but just didn’t sound smooth. I’ve used it to update my book blurbs and descriptions, even my first or last chapters (*I haven’t published anything written with AI yet, but I do think I’ll start using tools like this to rephrase and polish, to see if I can tighten my writing as much as possible*).
I’ll probably start using it to proofread and edit my books before I publish. Rephrasing and rewriting is a lot different from just getting AI to write whole books for you, but I’ll talk about that later.
What can’t it do?
It’s a paraphrase tool that rewrites your content, but it’s not a content-generating tool. And honestly, while it’s pretty amazing as a replacement for older tools and even human proofreaders and editors (not sure it’s *quite* there yet but it will be soon) – there’s also the option to just write the content with other AI tools, that is clean the first time, instead of struggling with trying to express yourself.
So it depends on what you’re writing and why.
It’s popular right now because most people aren’t aware yet that AI writing tools like openAI’s GPT-3 exist, outside of expensive and SEO-focused programs that aren’t necessary for most people.
But soon, very soon, there will be a ton of new apps and websites where you can just generate content, almost for free, for almost anything, that is almost certainly better than you could write yourself. (Unless you’re a professional writer/author, and even then I’d pay attention to AI writing tools because they’re probably better than you think, even for writing stories and fiction).
It’s also not a developmental editor: if you’re writing long-form stories, it can’t tell you what’s wrong or how to fix it. It can improve the style and fluency of a few paragraphs, but not a ton of text. EDIT: I had to check this, and pasted in 10,000 words, which was fine… apparently it’s unlimited on the pro plan, which seems crazy, though the free plan is limited to only 125 words.
Here’s the pricing details:
How much does Quillbot cost/is it worth it?
You can choose your kind of English, so it doesn’t flag the wrong stuff… and there’s even a dark mode. You can import a document or paste text, or add it into Chrome so you can rewrite/paraphrase/check or edit google docs, emails or blog posts.
I don’t know if these figures are accurate, but I think ProWritingAid costs $20 per month, and Grammarly Premium starts at $30 per month. I went for the $100/year option. For unlimited text-improvement/editing, that’s a pretty good deal… though I haven’t actually tested it out much on typos and grammar, like I did before with Grammarly and Prowritingaid. Grammarly caught more actual typos, prowritingaid had some suggestions for improved style.
I *think* Quillbot does both, and better… but let’s put it to the text!
Or try the alternatives: Grammarly | ProWritingAid
Cheaper/free paraphrase tool options
So here’s the interesting thing: openAI’s GPT3 is really cheap for developers. Right now, about $0.02 cents for about 700 words. So take that $20 a month… if my math is right, for $20 bucks a month you could generate 700K words. That’s why they can afford to offer it as an unlimited service, most people couldn’t revise that much text if they tried.
But there are, or there will be, tools that connect directly into OpenAI’s system. There are already some GPT wordpress plugins. So you could (I think) add your text into wordpress and revise it. It’s a little more complicated than that, but it won’t be soon.
That’s why, I’m planning to build a bunch of tools now, because I can make very light programs tapping straight into the source and charge 90% less.
People have always searched for solutions and free tools; usually they need to hire a service to get the results they want. But the tools are catching up.
UPDATE: I made an AI paraphrase and rewriter tool that’s probably better than Quillbot, for fiction at least. It’s free until I figure out what to do with it, but it does some really cool stuff already.
Quillbot paraphrase examples
Coming soon! I’ll test a bunch of stuff and show examples of the different options, and see how it fares with fiction and nonfiction writing.
In the meantime if you want to try it out, you can get the Quillbot Paraphrase tool here.
Is this good for authors and writers?
Alright, this is a much bigger can of worms. I wrote some thoughts on the AI art controversy, and you may already have opinions. Right now, GPT-3’s newest version and openai chatbot is the most advanced AI writing we’ve ever seen, and the quality is really good. I tested it on poems, scene prompts, writing a full pilot episode script or novel outline, and even continuing a chapter from my own writing.
But it can’t yet pull it altogether.
Also I’m not sure that Jasper, WriteSonic and Quillbot are using the latest (davinci) version or not, or whether that’s an option. I’m building a few simple tools of my own just so you can start playing around to see how powerful it is, and my tools will use the best version and be stupid cheap.
But there are content limits. Basically, you’d have to write a good plot outline, write a detailed prompt for what you want to have happen in each scene, and then keep prompting or respinning until you got some good stuff. Also you need accurate prompts, there’s a huge difference between “write a thrilling first chapter for a YA urban fantasy novel” and “write a story” – and a lot of the big AI tools don’t let you create any prompt you want (mine will).
I *love* the idea of building my own writing software, that has my chapter templates all laid out with some productivity tools, as well as easy access to ChatGPT. So instead of going to google for research, when you need a prompt idea or facts or info, and don’t want to wade through ads or waste time on social media… you could just ask a question and get an instant response. Or you could skip all the description and generate it later.
You can fill in the weakspots with text generation and then edit and polish (right now, it’s content aware, like I mentioned, so it will look at what came before and keep the style of your writing, even know your character’s names and the story conflict and everything). It’s not perfect… but it’s pretty damn good and it’s getting better far too fast.
I think I could feasibly write a whole novel, by next year, in a few days, in my writing style. Of course it will take a lot of polishing and revision, but since I’m a procrastinator who can’t self-motivate, writing first drafts is the hardest thing for me (I know I *can* do it, but I don’t… if I could use a tool to get started faster and have something to edit…. I’d get so much more done and could actually finish all my series).
Of course, everyone else can do this too. But: most people don’t know what it takes to tell a good story. You could make captivating content for a run-on serialized fiction series or something, but if you want a tight, powerful novel/book, you probably need a developmental editor or at least to consume knowledge about the craft of writing. You’ll need experience with writing and editing to see the problems and resolve them. I don’t think someone unskilled and unfamiliar with book writing (ie most new authors who are *great* at writing but can’t tell a story), will be able to write great books with these tools. But they can probably write better books faster than they could on their own, with some help, like hiring a ghostwriter or co-author. The prose will be cleaner and probably more engaging.
A lot of authors probably aren’t interested in having AI tools write their books for them. But most should be interested in something like Quillbot, as an editing solution that can actually improve their writing quickly (you could just upload your whole novel and rephrase everything… it’ll take awhile…. then save the various versions and copy+paste the best sections together). It’ll only work on the paragraph level, replacing some words with others, so it’ll fix the flow and style and fluency, but not the actual story.
And I’d at least be paying attention to AI writing tools, for research, prompting, story ideas when you get stuck, potential ways for a scene to play out – sometimes it’ll toss out pretty great ideas that I can actually use (by writing them myself, for real) but it saves time with the planning and plotting. A lot of authors are already using this things, and it won’t be long before AI tools are built into all your favorite writing softwares anyway (it’s not like you can avoid it… you’ll just be late to the party).
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.