I’ve had SudoWrite for awhile but only started playing with it today, using the new story engine feature. The first part I’m stumbling around, but once I figured it out, I write about 20,000 words in an hour (and that’s up to 100K words now from finishing my outline). Absolutely nuts, so I’m motivated to actually finish my dozens of story ideas, folders full of plots and covers I don’t have time to write myself.
Why it’s amazing: – you can train the style to get closer to what you want – you can guide exactly how the scene will play out and the tone or focus – it can kind of keep track of everything, but not quite, so it’s going to need editing. However, this is a clean draft so it’s not a ton of typos. It’s just a lot of copy-pasting sections around. It doesn’t get how to raise stakes and tension yet so all the scenes have the same style of emotion which can be melodramatic – high conflict. BUT that’s mostly about the prompts. If you want an eerie, subtle scene of long glances and intrigue, you can get that, just make sure your prompts aren’t doing the wrong thing.
Best GPT writing tools for AI books
AI can do a few things for you; it can generate new content in any style or form (for quick drafting of a story idea); it can brainstorm hooks, twists, detailed outlines, build character lists and locations (research); and it can clean up and edit your writing quickly, even revise it to make it stronger, or add in description.
And these tools work pretty well, right now. But some people are asking, when can I just press a button and get a whole book written in an hour? And the answer is, very soon. I tried it with “agentGPT” and it gave me 30,000 words in an hour, fully self guided with no prompts other than I want to write a bestselling YA book. It did all the research and brainstorming, all the plotting, worldbuilding, and character backgrounds. It figured out the process and prompted itself.
It didn’t keep track of the actually story well though, even though individual scenes were great – so most of it is unusable without heavy revision. But it was scary to see how close it got, and how smart it was.
Personally I’m waiting to something I can upload my full book1, it can learn my style and the story, and then keep track of everything going forward. That’s probably coming within a year. But the best thing right now that you can actually use, is SudoWrite’s story engine (watch the video above to learn why).
Best chatGPT Prompts for fiction novels and books
I’m going to make a HUGE list of chatGPT prompts for writers soon, but here are a few quick ones that really helped me get better results from SudoWrite.
Under the “commands” I’d have my bullet list of things that happen, and then also set the mood with these (replace “Kaidance” with your protagonist or main character).
GPT prompts for fiction
Feel free to use or edit these as needed…
- Use sensory details to create a vivid picture of Kaidance’s surroundings and the atmosphere of [location]. (Guardrail: No major plot points or spoilers.)
- Show how Kaidance’s scars and desolation affect her behavior and interactions with others, including other [characters]. (Driver: Kaidance’s emotional state or immediate goal)
Guardrail: Focus on Kaidance’s relationships with other characters.)
- Use dialogue to reveal Kaidance’s thoughts and feelings about the situation, including her anger and despair. (Unless she’s alone, or it will force new characters).
- Use descriptive language to create a sense of atmosphere and mood. (Driver: Establish power dynamics between Kaidance and the other characters.
- Build tension by showing the potential consequences of Kaidance’s actions and her emotional state, including the possibility of further conflict.
- Use sensory details to create a vivid picture of the setting, including the architecture and landscape of [location]
- Character motivations/desires: Kaidance wants to defeat Tiamat and kill Zeus, but she also wants to protect her allies and keep them safe (You want to focus on the biggest, most pressing thing your protagonist wants right now, in this scene, not always the big picture one.)
Add some mood or pacing prompts:
- This is a fast paced action battle scene, use detail to describe fighting and movement.
- This is a heated enemies-to-lovers argument, full of dramatic and romantic tension, but all angst and no physical contact.
- This is a slow, pensive scene of exploration and reflection. Focus on worldbuilding and scene details.
Then finally, something like this:
- End the scene with a cliffhanger or a sense of anticipation for what’s to come, such as Kaidance’s next move or the potential consequences of her actions.
- End the scene with a cliffhanger, without any summary or reflection, end in the middle of the rising tension and action, at a climatic moment of twist or shocking surprise
- The scene ends with a cliffhanger or a revelation that sets up the next part of the story, such as a shocking betrayal, a new threat, or a glimmer of hope, with the guardrails ensuring that no major plot points or spoilers are revealed.
- Conclude the scene with Kaidance’s departure from the [location] and her return to the real world, including the specific details of how she feels and what she learns from the experience (probably not this, it’s boring, but in some cases it can work).
GPT prompts for character personality and backstory
I didn’t really check how much space you have for characters, it looks like 700 words. But I’m only using 49 with 7 quick characters. So you could write a much longer character profile and boil it down to basic features and personality.
Here’s a bunch of character trait attributes and generator.
But you could use a prompt like this:
Make a list of a detailed, dynamic character and their traits. Make a detailed description of interesting details about them, what they look like, how they dress, a unique hobby or habit, their core beliefs.
Generate some characters or just describe your own, and then later at the right time (much later in the book!) you can do their full backstory reveal, just buy instructing Sudo to “reveal Jake’s personal backstory…”
Issues and problem solving.
I’m about halfway through now at 45,000 words, but I’m finding more and more it gets lost or goes of the rails. It no longer remembers my main characters, and introduces random new ones (and not strangers, like new kissing romantic partners, intimacy… which I could maybe use by switching them back to my own characters but hey, who are these people?)
I probably need to add very detailed character lists for every unique section, showing *who* is in this scene, who is with my protagonist, who she is talking with, etc.
Sometimes it generates crap. I’m past 100K words now. Sometimes if a chapter isn’t right I’ll fine-tune the prompts and try again. It does an annoying nice thing where the characters get cheesy and say “we can handle it… together!” – that happens a lot. Sometimes the scenes are out of order or it repeats itself. It might write 6000 words and only 1000 of those are useable… but I don’t care. I just need the good bits. I’ll generate until the basic scene kind of makes sense and then expand or write around it, filling in scenes if I need them. I just upgraded to the $129 plan (I think that’s right) because I ran out of credits. Still a freaking great deal.
Editing multiple revisions of something together is hard; luckily I’ve been doing that for over a decade already and have a pretty clear idea of how the story needs to go in order to work; so it’s not just me spinning content and calling it a book. I’m drafting enough pieces that I can fit together to get a mildly workable first draft with big gaps and plot holes, that I can fill in with the nice, juicy stuff manually – and still save myself easily a month of full-time work, and I got it done in a day for probably under $100.
How to write a novel with chatGPT
I tried this earlier, on chatGPT v 3.5 and GPT4, and they have some common issues; mostly it can’t keep track of long-form stories well enough, and you have to reprompt it with everything, all the time, to keep the same style. Your prompts would be so long it could only return 600 words of content at a time.
So like all things, the tech is hard to use at the beginning and limited. But then it’ll get easy, and common.
SudoWrite’s “Story Engine” solves these basic issues, because you fill out a short form about your story in the beginning, add a writing style, character list, and detailed plot outline that gets used for every new prompt. And then it follows the outline (I suggest starting from my 24chapter template); and THEN you can give specific commands for *that* scene, to change the pacing, mood, or just keep the series of events straight with a short list). If you get all of this right, and it isn’t hard to do, you’ll end up with very strong, usable fiction, in roughly the shape of a novel.
It has trouble with pacing and emotional build up, so you’d have to edit the prompts as you go to limit or unleash its tendencies, otherwise all the scenes will have the same tone or mood, and you need variation. Scenes build to maximum pain, trauma and conflict late in the book, so all the earlier stuff needs to be full of intrigue and suspense but not action.
Right now, you can write a whole book or novel in a day (I haven’t tested nonfiction yet but I expect it would work brilliantly for that also!). It takes a little work, but not much. And you’ll probably need to do some heavy moving things around, editing and writing later, to give it your unique edge and make sure the full story holds water. But it’s like working with a cowriter – if you love drafting and write fast, great; you can use Sudo to polish and edit; if you are better at story structure and editing, you can use Sudo to create a roughdraft so that you can really start getting to work.
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.