I wrote a post a few months ago when AI writing tools were just starting to get good enough to be exciting. I was impressed with the results using Jasper AI, especially for improving the blurbs for my novels. But OpenAI just updated to a newer version of GPT3 (davinci3) and I wanted to test it out so here goes…
Edit: This post originally was just to share some writing samples, to show what AI writing software is currently capable of. But of course there’s a much larger discussion to be had about the end of creativity and humanity and all that, so I’ve added some more recent links.
A lot of my authors friends are putting out disclaimers that they never use AI for anything, and that’s fair. I haven’t either and I’ve published about 20 novels. But I’m interested in the tech and like developing fun things. I can see how I might use AI for ideas or editing, or cover design, in order to speed up my process, since I tend to be a very slow novel writer. The point of this experiment was to see if I could get AI to write my stories in my writing style… which I very nearly could, and have no doubt I’ll be able to soon.
The dangers, of course, is that – while this is exciting for an author to finish more of their ideas quickly, it’s also terrifying because it means anybody else could steal/copy/recreate books in another author’s style. This was already a problem with people hiring ghostwriters to rip-off real authors, because stories and concepts can’t really be copyrighted. It will become a bigger problem. I tend to geek out about things early because I don’t fully recognize how cool tools can be used to do bad things.
One current example, is that speculative scifi magazines are being flooded with AI submissions. So for old-school traditional publishing stuff, where you craft and perfect a short story in hopes of being good enough to be recognized and included – but are now competing with AI writing that is so good judges can’t tell the difference and have to shut down the whole process – this is anarchy.
But what about posting your query into reddit a dozen times to get help and fix it up to make it better in hopes of getting a publishing deal; when now AI can just rewrite your query and make it much stronger. Is that OK if it helps you get published, but not using AI on the book itself?
The weird thing is: AI is either not good writing and easily recognizable as crap, which makes it a distraction…. or, it isn’t, which makes it dangerous. But the same thing that makes it “dangerous” also makes it functional: in that it can make your writing better, in ways that provide tangible, life-improving benefits.
The conversation around AI art is long and complex (no matter how simple it can be made through reductive facebook memes), but the truth is we are at the very beginning of an entirely new mode of publishing, art and writing that is beyond what most of us can comprehend.
Best AI writing software for fiction
Down below are a bunch of real examples, of fiction writing generated with openAI’s gpt3, using the latest model. The results are pretty great, especially for the part where I put in a real chapter and it continued the story. So, I’m excited about it… as someone who has written a couple dozen books and each one is stubborn and painful; at least for simple idea generation, plot outlines, filling in stuff like quick character sketches or scene descriptions, it’s great.
You can also use it to brainstorm; did you know “fantasy name generator” gets 100K search a month, nearly 4 times as much as “writing a book?” That’s because, sometimes we just need a big list of interesting names, and it’s not worth our time, effort or energy to spend hours searching on google.
For almost a decade, writers have relied on Scrivener for organization and tools like Grammarly or ProWritingaid to proofread (which don’t replace a real developmental editor). BUT we are entering a whole new era, when AI tools will be able not only to quickly rephrase and revise our words to improve the flow and style, but are actually able to engage with us to bounce ideas off of, outline whole stories, and yes even fill in the blanks.
People are scared, and they should be. But experienced authors have a huge advantage, and a lot of them are already using the tools. Sudowrite, for example, has been out for a while. I haven’t played with it myself, but I know a lot of successful authors who are using it and the features look insane (I’m jealous actually, because I’m hoping to develop my own writing software based on my 24 chapter novel outline), and Sudo already does a lot of cool things. Update: actually Sudo is pretty damn impressive, I’ll probably come back to it, at least until my other tools are done.
But there’s also Quillbot which I have used, though it’s more suited to nonfiction – the monthly fee includes unlimited words, so you can upload your whole manuscript and it will rewrite it to improve the style. It’s not perfect, but in less than a year there WILL be a writing software that can edit, revise (displacing editors) as well as brainstorm and fact-check (displacing older forms of researching including Google), and actually just write the whole story for you.
Authors often get stuck with low energy, motivation or inspiration, it’s a very difficult task that requires a great deal of brain power. A a neurodivergent, I’ve learned to supplement my weaknesses and limitations however possible, whether that’s pharmaceutical or technological.
update: I made this video but was a little cavalier in my testing. I used “in the style of (famous author)” as an example but warned that you probably shouldn’t actually do that. Technically, writing styles aren’t copyrighted and referring to a person as a reference (without using *any* of their content) is not illegal, but it is sketchy. Since many people are very upset about AI everything right now, I may delete this video to be safe and start over… it is important to be safe and set a good example, as some people could use AI poorly. That said, it can’t really clone someone’s actual writing at all – without being given a big blog of text. But it probably will be able to do better soon.
AI writing samples from chatGPT3
Update: before we dive in, you should grasp the potential complications. Amazon has a Gpt3 category now, so it’s unclear whether they care that hundreds of gpt3 books are being published with AI. Copyright is still murky: a big case about the first AI comic book to get a copyright that was just revoked: saying the book concept and text could be copyrighted by the AI images could not be.
This isn’t actually a huge deal – you can still use AI art and writing for commercial purposes (published) you just may not be able to own the copyright, to sue people who copy you (that’s proved mostly useless anyway, as real authors are already frustrated with countless piracy and plagiarism issues with very little recourse.
In this writing tests, “AI generated” is the new openai davinci3 (which is a little different from chatGpt3). But I tried some of the same prompts in jasper for comparison. Jasper is more for business writing, but did a reasonably good job.
below was generated with GPT-3’s open playground, which is a little different from the newer GPT-3 chat).
My guess is, GPT-3 is “done” and chatGpt3 is a way to quickly train the models with tons of real user feedback, so the original is “fixed” but chatbot will evolve, become a lot smarter, and get rolled out next year as GPT-4…
Writing poetry with AI
It’s so good at poetry, I built a whole romance poetry site just for this… but I also gave it some more complex prompts for love poems.
Write a rhyming poem about a spooky pineapple in the style of edgar allen poe:
I saw a spooky pineapple one day
So strange and eerie in its sway
It seemed so alive and aware
As it moved through the air
It glowed a greenish hue
Though I knew not what it knew
It seemed so wise and so strange
I could not help but rearrange
My feelings of fear and dread
As I watched it move ahead
It bobbed and swayed in the night
A pineapple with no fright It felt like I was in a dream
As I watched this pineapple beam
The eerie sight I could not bear
So I stepped away in fear
Write a rhyming wedding speech, where groom is an elf prince and bride is a zombie corpse.
My dearest friends, it’s time to rejoice For I’m marrying the zombie of my choice It’s a union of two very different kinds A prince and a corpse, with love intertwined Our love for each other will never cease No matter what the world may think or tease We don’t care what anyone may say For here today we pledge our love to stay We come from different worlds, that much is true But our love for each other is strong and true We are two very different yet perfect souls Forged together, our love will never fold So let’s raise our glasses and make a toast To the love of an elf prince and a zombie ghost!
Writing a kid’s book with AI
Write a short story about a friendly ghost and a puppy:
Once upon a time, there lived a friendly ghost in an old abandoned house. He was quite content living alone in the house, but he often felt lonely. One day, as he was wandering around the house, he heard a faint whimpering sound coming from outside. He went to investigate and saw a small puppy shivering in the cold. The ghost felt sorry for the puppy and decided to take him in and take care of him. He brought the puppy inside and the two of them quickly became friends. The ghost took the puppy for walks, played games with him, and even taught him some tricks. The ghost and the puppy enjoyed each other’s company so much that they became inseparable. Everywhere the ghost went, the puppy followed. They would go on long walks together, explore the woods, and just have fun. One night, however, the ghost had a strange dream. In the dream, a voice told him that the puppy was not just a puppy, but a friendly spirit who had been sent to him as a companion. The ghost was surprised but also excited to hear this. The ghost and the puppy continued to be the best of friends and the ghost was grateful to have such a loyal companion. They were together until the puppy passed away but the ghost will always remember the wonderful days they spent together.
AI is great for short story writing. If you want to try it out, you can use my writing prompt generator: just edit the prompt with your own text. It’s useful if you get stuck and need ideas.
And there’s some more stuff on writing a children’s book with chatGPT3.
AI Writing for fiction & novels
The following are scenes from my current work in progress, the 5th book in my greek mythology series, using my character names. I added midjourney art for inspiration.
Prompt: Write a tense paranormal romance enemies to lovers fantasy scene with a fallen angel named Puriel and a daughter of the Greek fates names Kaidance, who are on their way to steal a pair of magical god killing scissors from Zeus:
(AI generated) Puriel’s wings were a blur of motion as he flew through the night, Kaidance clinging to his back. They were racing against time, the fate of the world depending on the success of their mission. Kaidance tried to ignore the heat of Puriel’s body against hers and the way his muscles flexed, propelling them forward. He was her enemy, her nemesis, and she had to keep her focus on the task at hand. As the temple of Zeus loomed ahead, Kaidance’s heart pounded in her chest. She had never been this close to a god before, and the thought of stealing from him was almost too much to bear. Puriel circled the temple, looking for a way to get in undetected. Kaidance could feel the tension in his body, and she knew that he was just as nervous as she was. Finally, they found an opening and slipped inside. Puriel’s wings disappeared as they crept through the shadows, searching for the god-killing scissors. Kaidance could feel her heart in her throat as they finally found the scissors, nestled in a nest of feathers. She quickly grabbed them, and they made their way back out of the temple. The flight back seemed to take an eternity, but eventually they made it back to safety. Kaidance looked up at Puriel, her heart still pounding. He had been her enemy, her foe, but now she knew there was something more. She couldn’t deny the chemistry between them any longer. The mission had changed them both, and as they flew off into the night, Kaidance knew that their relationship was no longer just enemies, but something much more.
(Jasper AI generated) – this tool gives you 3 version so you can pick and choose…
1. Puriel and Kaidance had been enemies for eons. He was a fallen angel, cast out of heaven for daring to love too much. She was a daughter of the Greek fates, tasked with weaving the threads of destiny. But when they met, something inside them changed. They were drawn to each other like moths to a flame.
They fought tooth and nail against their feelings, but they couldn’t deny what was happening between them. And so, they decided to team up and steal the magical god killing scissors from Zeus himself.
It was a dangerous mission, but they were determined to succeed. They traveled deep into the heart of Mount Olympus, dodging gods and monsters alike. Finally, they reached Zeus’s throne room.
Puriel prepared to strike while Kaidance grabbed the scissors, but just as she touched them, Zeus appeared behind her. He laughed coldly and seized her wrist with his hand. “You should have known better than to try and steal from me,” he said menacingly. “Now you will pay.”
2. Puriel and Kaidance were both silent as they made their way through the throne room of Zeus. They knew that they were walking into a trap, but they had no other choice. If they didn’t get the scissors, then the world would be doomed.
Puriel’s wings were clipped so he couldn’t fly, but he was still faster than any human. Kaidance had to struggle to keep up with him as they ran through the hallways of Olympus.
They could hear Zeus’ voice thundering in the distance, getting closer and closer. Puriel grabbed Kaidance’s hand and pulled her into a dark alcove just before Zeus walked by with his courtiers.
“Find them!” Zeus bellowed. “They cannot have gotten far.”
Puriel put his finger to his lips, signaling for her to be quiet. He looked around for a way out, but there was none. The only way out was through Zeus himself.
Zeus glared at them, his eyes flashing with anger. “You will pay for your treachery,” he said coldly. “I will destroy you both.”
3. Puriel and Kaidance flew through the night sky, their wings beating in unison as they made their way towards Mount Olympus. They were on a mission to steal a pair of magical god killing scissors from Zeus, and they weren’t going to let anything stop them.
They had been enemies for centuries, but there was something about Kaidance that drew Puriel in. He couldn’t help but be drawn to her fiery passion and stubborn determination. And despite everything she had done to him, he found himself wanting her more than anything.
As they approached Mount Olympus, they could hear the thundering footsteps of Zeus’ guards coming closer. They didn’t have much time left. Puriel grabbed Kaidance’s hand and flew towards the entrance of the palace, dodging lightning bolts as they went.
Finally, they reached the entrance and slipped inside unnoticed. Puriel led the way through the labyrinthine corridors until they came to Zeus’ throne room. He motioned for Kaidance to stay back while he dealt with Zeus’ guard dog Cerberus.
It wasn’t easy, but Puriel managed to kill Cerberus with one swift stroke of his sword. Then it was just a matter of getting past Zeus himself…
Describe a girl discovering an ancient Greek temple in the forest, filled with magical forgotten gods, before being surprised by a monstrous wolf creature, a hound of hades:
(AI generated) The girl had been walking through the forest for hours, captivated by the peaceful beauty of the trees. She had been so deep in her thoughts, she hadn’t noticed the ancient Greek temple nestled amongst the trees until she stumbled upon it. She was awestruck by its grandeur and mysteriousness. The girl stepped inside to find the temple covered in dust and cobwebs, as if it had been forgotten for centuries. She noticed beautiful statues of the Greek gods and goddesses, and the walls were adorned with intricate carvings and paintings. She felt a magical presence in the air, as if the forgotten gods had been waiting for her. As she moved further into the temple, she heard a deep growling noise coming from the shadows. She gasped as a monstrous wolf creature emerged from the darkness, its red eyes glinting in the dim light. The creature was the hound of Hades, a powerful and ancient creature that had been forgotten in the temple. The girl stepped back, her heart pounding, as the hound of Hades slowly stepped towards her. She wondered if she should run or try to make peace with the creature. But then, unexpectedly, the hound of Hades bowed its head in respect and stepped aside. It had recognized her spirit and allowed her to explore the temple. The girl was amazed and relieved, and she continued to explore the temple, discovering the secrets of the forgotten gods.
Jasper AI generated
1. I was walking in the forest, lost in thought, when I suddenly came across an ancient Greek temple. It was covered in vines and overgrown with moss, but I could make out the carved figures of forgotten gods on the pediment. I climbed up the steps to take a closer look, and as I did, I heard a loud growling noise behind me. I turned around to see a monstrous wolf creature, a hound of hades! It was coming towards me fast, and there was nothing I could do but run. As I fled through the forest, I could hear the creature’s angry howls following me. Suddenly, something caught my eye. There was another entrance to the temple hidden behind some bushes. Could this be my only chance for escape? I sprinted towards it and slipped inside just as the hound reached me.
2. The girl had been hiking in the forest for hours, and she was starting to get lost. She thought she saw a clearing up ahead and decided to head towards it. As she got closer, she realized that it wasn’t a clearing at all – it was an ancient Greek temple, hidden away in the forest for centuries!
Excited, the girl explored the temple. It was filled with statues of forgotten gods, each one more beautiful than the last. She felt as if she had discovered a secret treasure.
Suddenly, she heard a loud growling noise coming from behind her. Turning around, she saw a monstrous wolf creature, a hound of hades! The creature was ready to attack her…
3. I was always fascinated by the old Greek gods. Their stories were so magical, and I loved learning about their different personalities and powers. So when I stumbled across an ancient temple in the forest, hidden away and forgotten by time, I couldn’t believe my luck!
The temple was beautiful, with intricate carvings of the gods all around. I felt like I had discovered a secret treasure. As I explored further, though, I started to feel a sense of dread settle over me. There was something dark and dangerous lurking in the shadows of the temple…
Suddenly, a giant wolf creature leapt out at me from behind a pillar! It was terrifying, but also strangely beautiful. The hound of hades, they called it. It snarled and snapped at me with its sharp teeth, but before it could hurt me I heard a voice inside my head: “You must not fear me child.”
It was one of the ancient Greek gods, a deity long forgotten by humanity. He told me his story, how he had been banished to this temple by his jealous brother Zeus. And he warned me that the hound of hades would do anything to stop him from being freed.
I didn’t know what to do! But then I remembered all the stories I’d read about these gods as a kid. They were powerful beings who could overcome any obstacle. With courage born from those stories, I faced down the hound of hades and helped free the god from his prison…
Honestly, not that bad. Of course it’s tricky to tell a whole story, but you could easily outline all your scene beats and generate a passable scene that you could flesh out with more description. For kid’s books, you’d just have to start with “chapter one, chapter two” etc and describe what you want to happen in every chapter, then generate that text. My 24 chapter story outline templates work pretty great for kid’s books.
Kaidance and Puriel sneak into a fancy costume ball in disguise, to assassinate an ancient dragon man and steal the tooth of cadmus, but Zeus lets off an EMP and crashes the party by turning off the electricity:
Kaidance and Puriel were in the middle of their mission when suddenly, a loud crash shook the building. The lights went out, and the music stopped. In the darkness, Kaidance and Puriel heard the sound of thunder and saw a blinding flash of light. Zeus had arrived. The ancient dragon man, who had been their target, had disappeared in the confusion. Kaidance and Puriel quickly realized that the EMP had ruined their chance of completing the mission. They were about to leave when they heard a familiar voice. It was the dragon man, who had somehow managed to survive the EMP. He was holding the Tooth of Cadmus in his hand. Kaidance and Puriel decided that it was worth the risk to take the tooth, and they quickly snatched it away from the dragon man. With Zeus watching, they ran out of the building and made their escape. The mission had been a success, but at what cost? Kaidance and Puriel had no idea what would happen with Zeus, or what would happen to them. All they knew was that they had to get away as quickly as possible.
Jasper: Kaidance and Puriel had been planning their heist for weeks. They were going to disguise themselves as humans and sneak into a fancy costume ball, to assassinate an ancient dragon man and steal the tooth of cadmus. But just when they were about to execute their plan, Zeus let off an EMP and crashed the party by turning off the electricity. The room was plunged into darkness, and Kaidance and Puriel had to make a run for it. They could hear the dragon man roaring in anger, and they knew they didn’t have much time. They ran through the darkened hallways, dodging guests who were running in all directions. Finally they reached the exit, but just as they were about to leave, they were confronted by the dragon man. He was huge and terrifying, but Kaidance and Puriel weren’t afraid. They attacked him with all their might, but it was no use. He was too powerful. Suddenly there was a bright light, and Kaidance realized that she was being surrounded by Zeus’s thunderbolts. She knew that this was her end.
Kaidance and Puriel sneak into a fancy costume ball in disguise, beautiful baroque dance hall, rich donors and expensive food, mystery suspense danger, thrilling tense urban fantasy, paranormal romance vibes, supernatural:
(AI generated) Kaidance and Puriel slip through the entrance of the costume ball, their disguises blending them in with the rich donors and aristocrats. The ballroom is a beautiful baroque dance hall, with soaring marble columns and glittering chandeliers. The air is thick with mystery and suspense as the guests mingle, their conversations hinting at dark secrets and hidden dangers. Kaidance and Puriel move through the crowd, the tension of the evening making them both feel alive. As they move through the ballroom, they can feel the thrilling vibes of urban fantasy and paranormal romance. There is a supernatural air about the place, as if anything could happen that night.
Jasper: Kaidance and Puriel had always loved going to costume balls. They were the perfect opportunity to dress up in elaborate costumes and pretend to be someone else for a night. So when they heard about a ball being held at a prestigious dance hall, they knew they had to go.
They arrived late, and the ball was already in full swing. The room was filled with beautifully dressed people, and the air was thick with the scent of perfume and wine. Kaidance and Puriel made their way through the crowd, looking for a place to hide away and have some fun.
They eventually found themselves in a dark corner of the ballroom, where they could watch all the dancers without being seen themselves. As they watched, they couldn’t help but feel drawn into the magic of the evening. It was like being in a different world altogether.
Suddenly, they heard footsteps coming towards them. They quickly ducked behind some curtains, just in time to see a group of wealthy donors walking by. As soon as they were gone, Kaidance and Puriel emerged from their hiding place and resumed watching the dancers.
But then something strange happened: one of the dancers suddenly stopped moving mid-dance and started staring straight at them! Kaidance felt her heart start racing as she realized that this dancer must be able to see through their disguises…
They see their target: and ancient dragon man, the host of the party, surrounded by guards. They need to assassinate him and steal the mythical tooth of cadmus in order to defeat zeus:
(AI generated) The group decides to split up, with two members staying behind to create a distraction while the other two sneak in and take out the guards. The two who stay behind create a diversion by setting off a series of firecrackers. This creates enough of a distraction for the two to sneak in and take out the guards. Once the guards are taken care of, the two remaining members make their way towards the dragon man. One of the members casts a spell of invisibility, allowing them to approach undetected. The other member stays hidden in the shadows, ready to strike when the time is right. Once they are close enough, the two jump out and attack the dragon man. The dragon man is taken by surprise and quickly defeated. The group then quickly grabs the mythical tooth of Cadmus and makes their escape. With the tooth in hand, they are ready to face Zeus and complete their mission.
Jasper: They crept through the shadows, their blades drawn. They had been searching for this dragon for months, and finally they had found him. The host of the party, surrounded by guards. They needed to assassinate him and steal the mythical tooth of cadmus in order to defeat zeus.
But slaying a dragon was no easy task. He was a powerful creature, skilled in magic and combat. The assassins fought bravely, but they were no match for him. The dragon man slew them easily, one by one.
Until only one remained: the assassin’s leader. He stood before the dragon man, his blade trembling in his hand. This was his last chance to save his team, to complete their mission and defeat zeus.
He charged at the dragon man, swinging his sword with all his might. But it was no use – he was too slow, too weak. The dragon man slashed him with his claws, cutting him open from shoulder to hip. With his final breath, the assassin’s leader stabbed the dragon man in the eye with his dagger, killing him instantly.
The tricky part is, prompting each new scene, but the robots don’t remember the previous part or the characters or anything, so you need to describe it again or it’s vague or unclear. Chapt GPT3 actually does a pretty good job of remembering the previous thread, so it’s closer to possible to add in more content and keep the story going – I have a video of that up above but it started to repeat ominous threats around chapter 5…
Write a novel scene, where Zeus lets off an EMP, turning off the lights and cutting off their escape:
(AI generated) The sky suddenly darkened as a loud crack of thunder sounded, sending a shockwave through the air. Everyone in the room stopped in their tracks, their eyes wide with fear as the lights suddenly went out. The room was plunged into an eerie darkness, and a few seconds later, the sound of a great power being released filled the air. The electricity had been cut off, and all the electronic devices in the room were now useless. A deep voice echoed from the darkness, and everyone knew it was Zeus. “I have just released an EMP, cutting off your escape. You are now trapped in this room until I decide otherwise.” The group was silent, not daring to make a sound. They all knew that the gods were powerful and not to be messed with. The only light in the room came from the faint moonlight streaming in through the windows, and the group huddled together in fear. They had no idea what would happen next, but they knew one thing for sure: they were in serious trouble.
Still, it sometimes has very creative ideas for what should actually happen in a scene. So if you say “there’s a fight and then they escape” – ie what you need to happen, but aren’t exactly sure how it happens, AI can sometimes provide materials for a workable scene. Some of it is bad, but some of it is pretty great.
The heroes are left in the dark, scrambling to find a way out. They must use their wits and any resources at their disposal to find a way to escape the room before Zeus can find them. They search the room for any tools or materials that could help them. After a few minutes of searching, they find a circuit board, a few wires, and a screwdriver.
They use the circuit board and wires to create a makeshift EMP device. They attach the device to the door and activate it, disabling the electronic lock and allowing them to escape. With the help of their quick thinking and resourcefulness, the heroes are able to outsmart Zeus and escape the room.
Using GPT-3 AI as a cowriter
Also it often uses text completion, unless you prompt it with “write X”. But you could write a beginning and have it continue. So for example: I added my first (real) paragraph:
(original – human writer) Sitri and I needed to talk as well, alone, but our issues seemed less dire than everything else happening. My arm was still throbbing painfully; it had been broken twice in less than a week. First by the blunt edge of Athena’s sword, then when Zeus grabbed my arm and the bone shattered again. Not even Alice’s magic could take all the pain away this time. Despite the pain, I felt surprisingly good, all things considered. Maybe it was the energy of Nevah; being in a room with a half pantheon of gods sapped the exhaustion out of me and made me strangely optimistic. Despite everything that happened, I still felt a sparkling confidence and lightness, like everything would somehow work out. But I didn’t trust it. I couldn’t let myself be fooled again, Nevah might be safe, for now, but I knew it wouldn’t last. Zeus would come for me.
And it generated this second paragraph:
(AI generated) We stepped out into the hallway, Sitri’s arm looped through mine for support. I glanced around the hallway, expecting to see gods and goddesses milling about, but it was empty. I guessed they had all gone off to their own business, or perhaps they were just giving us a little privacy. Sitri and I stopped in the middle of the hallway and looked at each other. We had been so busy saving Nevah, we hadn’t had much time to talk. Now, I took a moment to really look at him. His face was still bruised from where Zeus had thrown him, but he was standing tall and proud, with a look of determination in his eyes. I felt a swell of admiration and love for him, and I was overwhelmed with the desire to protect him. I wanted to tell him how much I appreciated him, how much he meant to me, but I was afraid of sounding cheesy or sappy. So instead, I just smiled. “Thank you,” I said, my voice barely more than a whisper. He smiled back at me, his eyes twinkling with understanding. “You don’t have to thank me,” he said. “I’d do anything for you.” We stood there for a moment, just looking at each other, before he leaned in and kissed me. I felt my heart swell with love and joy, and for a moment, I forgot all about Zeus and the dangers we still faced. In that moment, the only thing that mattered was the two of us.
The writing style isn’t that far off from my original. The tone and romance is out of place, but I could definitely use that somewhere else. I imagine, if I generated enough content, I could piecemeal it all together. That would be a lot of work. But if I had a crappy first draft and I wanted to fill in the gaps with more content or scene description, I could do it without even needing that much revision or editing, because the output is clean. The problem might be, it isn’t telling my story, the way I had planned it. But to flesh out a new book where you haven’t figured out what happens yet… pretty great, and you can add content or smooth it out later. Still not there yet – the beta is limited to about 4000 characters. But improving quickly.
Writing a whole chapter with AI
Emboldened by my results, I’m going to try something harder. I increased the max limits and added a longer scene prompt: then I took the output and kept using it to generate more addon content to the story.
(original) As soon as we got back to the house, Tori grabbed my arm and brought me up to her room. First she had at least six maids strip me and bathe me in rose water, then sat me in front of a large oval mirror to do my makeup.
“I don’t understand,” I asked. “Why do I have to get all dressed up just for Able to make a announcement?”
“We’re having a ball tonight,” Alice said. “Remember, Able mentioned it last night at dinner.” Last night. It seemed like so much longer.
“But why now?”
“Nevah has never been this full of guests. It’s important for Able to welcome them officially, at least the leaders. It’s an honor to be invited into the main house, most of the lesser heirs and roots have lived here for decades and never seen the whole family altogether. Some of us like to mingle and help out – others, not so much.”
“There’s also going to be a presentation ceremony, a speech outside, for everyone in Nevah. News of Athena is pressing, but not everyone knows exactly what happened, and most people don’t know about the shears yet.”
“Will he tell them?”
“That’s up to him to decide,” Tori said. “Information, knowledge, is power – Able usually plays his cards tightly. I don’t know what he has planned, but why turn down a chance to get dressed, to be seen, to be adored.” Tori’s eyes shone with eagerness. She dusted some gold powder against her dark brown cheeks and turned each side to the mirror. The idea of all eyes on me made my skin crawl.
“Don’t we have better things to do though? We barely survived our last encounter with Zeus, and now he knows we have the shears. He told me he was going to wipe Nevah out, I doubt he’s changed his plans.” “Ability is important,” Tori said. “But mindset is more important.”
“But we need to prepare. We don’t know how much time we have left. We shouldn’t spend it at a party.” “If the world is ending, a party is exactly where we should be,” Tori said. “Time for us is different than time for you,” Alice said. “It could be days, or years until we hear from Zeus again. We will practice, train, improve – but all the training in the world won’t help in the end.”
“It won’t?” I asked.
“Zeus is too powerful. Too powerful for us, for Able, for everyone. We can fight battles for eternity without exhausting Zeus’s power – that’s why Able was so invested in finding you. I don’t know what comes next, and war is probably inevitable, but a victory in battle will not be the thing that destroys Zeus.”
I will be, I completed her thought, feeling dread spread through my shoulders. Is that what Able still thought of me? That I was his secret weapon in his battle against his brother?
“Forget about it,” Tori said. “Tonight is simply about unity. There are a lot of new faces in Nevah. We don’t want whispers, speculation or half-truths to divide or confuse us. Able believes in truth.”
“The most effective truth,” Alice said. I wondered if there was a slight bitterness in her voice. “The one that accomplishes his aims.”
I wanted to keep talking but Tori put her finger against my lips. “Right now the only thing you need to worry about is your dress.”
(AI generated) With that she opened a large wooden wardrobe and presented me with a beautiful gown. It was a deep blue color, with a silky material that draped elegantly over my body. Tori helped me put it on, and then she placed a gold headpiece with a long veil over my head. I looked at my reflection in the mirror, and for a moment I felt like a princess. Alice stepped forward and applied a light dusting of gold powder to my arms and neck.
“Time to go,” she said. We stepped out of the bedroom and walked down the long hallway. I had never seen the castle this way before, with all the lights on and the guests arriving. I felt a little overwhelmed but also strangely excited. We stepped out onto the balcony and the crowd below erupted in applause. I felt my cheeks flush with embarrassment, but I couldn’t help but smile. Able stepped forward, and the crowd hushed.
“Welcome, all of you,” he said.
“We have all come here tonight to celebrate our unity and to remember the bravery of Athena and all of the other heroes who have fought for Nevah.” He went on to describe the importance of the shears and how they would be used to protect Nevah from its enemies. As he spoke, I felt my chest swell with pride. I was a part of this, and I had a part to play in making sure that Nevah stayed safe. Finally, Able held up the shears and announced that he would be holding a contest for the most courageous among us. He said that the winner would receive a special reward. The crowd cheered and I felt a surge of excitement. I had never been in a contest before, and I was eager to prove my worth. I knew that I had what it took to win. When the speech was over, the music began and the guests began to dance. I watched as everyone twirled and laughed, and I felt a sense of belonging that I had never felt before. I was part of something bigger, something greater. I was part of Nevah.
I actually had to check this, to see where mine stopped and the AI began…
(original) I ran back to the mansion through the woods. Sharp branches tore at my bare feet, but I couldn’t slow down. The Morai were dead, which meant, nobody was there to spin the threads of life and measure their length – roles once resolved for Clotho and Lachesis. That meant no new births. In other words, the end of humanity. And it was all my fault. Sitri was right. He wasn’t just a potential distraction, for a battle that might never happen. The end of the world had already begun. It was like watching a lit fuse to a firecracker, watching the sparks inch closer. And we’d been celebrating. The house was dark when I arrived. I wanted to pound on doors and shout, but what use would it be? Able already knew, and he’d told no one. He’d let them drink and fuck and play games, when humanity was about to go extinct. But I felt ridiculous now, in my dirty feet and black dress, still wearing the black eyeshadow. All dressed up for ball, I felt foolish, and disgusted. I’d only slept a few hours since facing Zeus and claiming the shears. I decided it was enough for one day. I took a shower, changed into sweats, then collapsed on my bed, passing out before my head hit the pillow. In the morning, I woke up at dawn and looked for Able immediately. I couldn’t just sit around, relaxing comfortably in this luxurious mansion while Zeus picked off civilians by the dozen. Not magical creatures or roots; regular humans. With jobs and families. Picked up by hunters and dropped to their death… to prove a point. That he could get to us… to me. Even though we were safe behind Heph’s protective walls, the rest of the world wasn’t.
The AI continued about how my original story did. The dialogue is boring and repetitive: but it introduced a brand new story idea (an actual plan!) that just might work.
(AI generated) I had to act. I found Able in the library, poring over a book. He looked up when he heard me enter, his eyes widening as he took in my determined expression.
“What’s wrong?” he asked.
“We have to do something,” I said. “We can’t just sit here while Zeus kills innocent people. We have to act.” Able nodded slowly.
“You’re right,” he said.
“We have to find a way to stop him.” I nodded. “We have to find a way to get the shears back from him,” I said. “Otherwise, he’ll keep killing people until he gets what he wants.”
Able nodded again. “I’ll see what I can find,” he said. “In the meantime, we should gather as much information as we can. We need to know what Zeus is up to, and how we can stop him.”
“Yes,” I said, feeling a spark of hope. “Let’s do this.” We spent the next few days researching and gathering information. We talked to people in the magical community, trying to find out what Zeus was planning. We read books and scrolls, looking for any clues that might help us. And slowly, a plan began to form. We needed to find a way to get the shears back from Zeus. We had to be careful, though. We knew he was powerful and dangerous, and we had to make sure we didn’t put ourselves in any unnecessary danger. Finally, we came up with a plan. We would use a magical charm to make Zeus believe that he was in possession of the shears, while in reality, they would be in our possession. We would then use the shears to cut the threads of life, restoring balance to the world. It was risky, but it was our only chance. I took a deep breath, and with Able by my side, we set out to put our plan into action.
Best AI writing tools & software 2023 and beyond
You may feel like THESE samples (above) really aren’t that good yet, and you’re right. This stuff is right out of the box with minimal prompts; but I’ve gotten much better results after a lot of practice and research, and remember, this tool is only a fraction of what it will be capable of in a few months.
All that’s needed right now, is a longer output… so I could put it a longer sample with some prompts and get a longer chapter back. Until then I think you could “write” a novel this way by spinning and prompting, get a bunch of material, and use it as a base (crappy rough draft) to edit it into something good. And while most authors think AI will never be “as good as” a human… as an editor, I can tell you that the writing samples above are already better than a lot of the manuscripts I’ve worked on in terms of clarity and style.
I’m actually hoping to build my own software, like I mentioned above, but for now I built a simple writing prompts generator that has GPT-3 built in, so you can quickly play for free and get a feel for how it may be useful.
Also, I use Jarvis for most of these, though a lot of fiction authors like Sudowrite. But keep in mind, using GPT-3 directly is about 100x cheaper, just a little more technical. I think the majority of writers will probably never get on board with an auto-generated writing tool. But I also feel like the majority of authors would love a writing software that helps them write better books faster… which is why I’m determined to make one.
Can you really write a novel with AI?
Short answer, no, not really, not yet. I’ve heard that amazon is already blocking or deleting accounts for uploading crappy AI garbage. (Update: no, they aren’t. They have a category for it now and there are hundreds of books with GPT3 as the author – an probably countless books not admitting as much).
But mostly, AI is a tool; it needs someone who can plan, prompt and edit – who actually knows what they are doing. But it can be super useful, for fleshing out rough drafts and then polishing them up. It could help you tell your story, in your words, in your style – but just help pull it all together faster, without expensive developmental editors. At the very least I think it’ll replace editing tools to fix grammar and spelling issues easily.
But I’m sure we’ll see new programs next year that are pretty amazing; and that AI assisted writing tools will become as common as Clippy in microsoft word… integrated into all the programs you’re already using. This means that writing as an industry, for everyone (students, businesses, copywriting and SEO, all web content, all books etc) is about to change in ways that it never has before.
But can you write a collection of short stories? Absolutely. Can you rephrase and rewrite your chapter to make it better, more compelling, with more description and drama? Yes. Can you respin your blurbs to get more clicks and conversions? Yes.
Can you automate your blog content to get more traffic? Yes.
You can ignore it, if you want, right now your skills and talents are keeping you in the game, and people with less ability will be using these tools to get ahead. There’s a huge opportunity for some talented, experienced authors to leverage these tools to grow their platform. I hope I’m one of them, but I’m probably too slow to actually take action in a meaningful way, and I’ll probably end up retreating back into my slow, plodding, creative inertia of panic and respite. Or, maybe not.
Notion for Book Writing: I don’t use notion myself but they included some AI features, this post has some useful stuff about writing books in Notion.
The future of AI writing (GPT4)
On Reddit, I saw someone asking if this was the worst ever time to be a writer. Like, what’s the point?
I’ve also seen people say stuff like, well maybe AI will replace formulaic romances and stuff but not “real” art. That’s true, but guess what makes all the money? Guess what readers keep buying? If you aren’t writing commercial fiction and making money (by writing quality books readers love) then you’re doing something wrong (businesswise, not creativitywise. You can intend to create something unpopular, that’s fine, that’s a choice).
AI will be able to create commercial writing faster; you know what’s commercial? Anything readers enjoy. I’ve also heard people say, this will go away. It won’t work because AI written books won’t succeed. They think this fad will die out quickly because it will only produce garbage books. They think the GPT3 hype will die down and Amazon will “do something” to remove all the spam.
They say things like “all this self-published crap will get removed and the good stuff will have a chance.”
As a writer, that’s a risky bet.
It’s also close to what people have always said about all self-publishing.
I don’t love AI, but I don’t think it’ll go away.
ChatGPT went from a million users in the first week to 100 million users. It’s the fastest growing thing ever, in history. As far as I’m aware, from this data. They already consider davinci3 (openai’s latest model of gpt) as GPT3.5.
They’re using chatgpt, and now Bing I guess, and racing them to create the best model, based on user testing. The future plans for AI, from what seems to be the case, is that GPT4 will have a 32K token limit, abotu 22,400 words. Which will make it much, much easier to “train” on your voice and style, and get really great long-form, results. (So not “crap” – probably decent enough to provide solid reading material; probably better than the majority of newbie authors who are creating Art but don’t know how to tell a gripping Story).
But the pricing is crazy, starting at $26,000 a month. So big business and companies, who can afford it, will be able to offer it. That’s probably first mover advantage stuff, like Jarvis; or maybe Microsoft, Google etc will keep it in house completely. Or maybe they’ll offer it for free to get people to stay on their site, which is the whole ballgame. Things are uncertain for sure.
Will AI writers replace authors?
So here’s the big secret: very few authors make a living. That includes almost all traditionally published authors, and almost all self-publishing authors. Almost nobody is making any money, and some big KDP changes are showing a massive shakeup.
But some experienced authors, who are able to adapt and persevere to the new tech and marketplace, will have a huge advantage over newer authors. At the same time, writing novels and books is about to become way easier for everybody. So you need to be on your toes. It’s be just like the AI art controversy.
New authors publishing an impossible amount of books; readers who genuinely enjoy them and keep buying them; while you’re on the sidelines complaining that it’s not real art!
The thing is, now, gpt3 isn’t as good as you, it can’t replace you. But it doesn’t have to. It’s not for you – it’s for people who don’t write as well, who don’t have your skills, gifts and talents. It can help them get much closer to not-terrible-writing, and for many people, that’s miraculous. It will allow them to communicate their ideas without being limited by their spelling or grammar. It removed your advantage.
But for you, if you want, it could help you to write faster, and better – to take you to the next level with less effort and frustration. It’s dangerous, of course, and it’s good to be careful and skeptical about these things.
Real quick, here’s a couple big points I’ve left out of earlier discussions:
- people who say they don’t use AI tools expect consumers to pay more for this privilege, despite quality, for ideological reasons… while readers are showing they absolutely will not (new piracy schemes, etc).
- people are saying “real art” is never commercial. That you shouldn’t worry about loss of income because real art is its own reward. (So who cares if the robots get all the money, providing the most content – of course this will never happy because robots don’t need money, and will always be directed by human agency.)
- people saying AI writing is theft/plagiarism, because it can only mimic based on human creation. but all humans do this, and all the bestselling works are combinations of what’s already popular in fresh ways. If you’re a newer author who believes “real art has value” based on your personal struggle, and now reader demand and satisfaction, well don’t worry, the AI tool probably won’t come after you anyway. In the art controversy (people on artstation are staging a protest after artstaqtion and every other big platform and company has already accepted AI art) people point out that every artist who draws character portraits of games, movies and comics all also need to be purged, since it is copied.
I won’t get into it more here, because it doesn’t really matter. The tools are here, they were just made public, and from now on they will double in capability every few months – which is why I can confidently predict Amazon will be flooded with AI written stories next year, and that they will actually be good enough to satisfy readers (with some caveats, that I’ll get into below).
The examples above were just a quick chronicle of where the tech is at: it’s never been here before, so this is news. I suggest at least paying attention, and getting a feel for what this tech can do and what it’s capable of, so you can see how it might impact you and take steps to adjust course. Or watch the video above.
People are freaking out about chatGPT3 now, which is what I used to make the video at the top, but the really cool thing is that GPT3 can do amazing things with the right prompts, even some dumb but super useful thinks like fix grammar and typos; rewrite from past to present or 1st person POV to 3rd; not to mention basically do a heavy line edit and revision of your chapter to make it better, add more description, more emotion, etc. I’m starting to get excited about potential use cases and building a pretty cool tool around it, which I’ll share later.
OK screw it… I built something that isn’t 100% finished, but already works pretty well, and it’s free for now until I figure out what to do with it.
This is 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.
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.
GhostTheWriter AI (work in progress, so keep it under wraps for now, until I finish all the features).
PS. I used Midjourney to make all the images in this post. If you want to learn about using midjourney AI to create character concept art and even book cover designs, click here.
Ghostwriters for children’s books
I’ve talked to a lot of children’s book authors who had big ideas and a bad story. Children’s books are short, and I’ve often been hired for editing or consulting and ended up rewriting the whole thing. It can be worth it to hire a ghostwriter to just write your story, and I don’t see chatgpt3 as being all that different. In fact I’m playing with an AI ghostwriting tool, that’s still in beta but you can play with it to write stories with in different writing styles and literary voices; or just do a quick rephrase and refresh of your story to make it better.
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.