Writing Novels With ChatGPT

 In a previous post, I admitted (gasp) to experiementing with ChatGPT. I promised to keep you updated, so here I am.

After further experience, I have practiced writing a full novella with ChatGPT. (I renamed AI assistant Steve, like the dude from Minecraft, because he's a well-meaning blockhead.) 

I developed a method to get a "raw draft" from Steve, which is equivalent to my raw Dictation draft, although, as I mentioned above, both kinds of draft need extensive revision. I call Steve scenes "backbone" scenes. Maybe "stickfigure" scenes would be a good term too, because in general, what I will keep out of it is the underlying structure of the scene, while the sentences themselves will have to be replaced with better prose.

Overall, ChatGPT is still better at nonfiction than fiction, but there are plenty of places in writing a novel that it's useful to have a nonfiction assist. I've written another book in my Fiction Writing Guide series about it here:

This book is only available on Amazon right now. Why? Because even having ChatGPT in the title scared off the other distribution sites that I usually use. Even thought this guide book is--ironically, I suppose--written by me, the "old-fashioned way," the fact that some parts are ChatGPT generated (where I give samples, duh) was enough to scare off some distributors. 

I felt you deserved to be warned.

Now, if you use my method in the book for fiction, and don't slap "ChatGPT" on the title, no one will be able to tell your novel or story was written with the help of ChatGPT, any more than they could tell if you wrote it using the encyclopedia to find out information for your book. That's because by the end of the process, you'll have replaced all the computer cliches with your own original ideas and turns of phrase. 

And just to make sure, you'll double-check your own work for plagiarism. 

I suspect that we are going to be in for a long fight, akin to that over the indie publishing revolution itself, before the legacy publishing world faces the fact that AI is here to stay. 

In the meantime, we'll be subject to a bunch of a-holes who abuse AI content by trying to flood the market with raw, unedited, horrible AI-generated books. Their abuses will reflect badly on those of us trying use AI responsibly and creatively.

That's probably an inevitable side-effect of any technological revolution. 

Look at Indie publishing. The Doomsayers predicted that the flood of crappy self-published novels would make it impossible for good books to find readers. 

Instead, it turned out readers found the books they liked just fine. To the ire of the gatekeepers, that included many books the gatekeepers had said didn't deserve to exist, like more fantasy books about dragon riders or elf lords (all of which Fantasy imprints had refused to publish for decades on the grounds that readers were "tired" of such things). 

This will be no different. Legacy publishing will resist, writers will quaver in fear, but ultimately the technology is going to be there, like a desktop computer and word processing program, whether you want to use it or not. No one will force you to use it. You'll probably end up using it eventually because it is easy and convenient.

Do be careful, because the copyright issues aren't clear yet. Also, it isn't private. It's like writing the draft of your novel on a blog set to private or a private chat on a social media site. Maybe the general public can't see what you're doing, but whoever owns the site CAN. 

My biggest fear is that they would steal or claim my content. It may seem absurd, but think of how people's personal pictures were stolen off of sites like Facebook and placed for sale on Stock Photo sites.

Nonetheless, I think it's better to ride the bull than get trampled in the stampede, so I suggest you acquaint yourself with the process and then decide if it's useful or worth it. Don't make your decisions from ignorance, but from a position of knowledge. I included many raw ChatGPT sections in my book so that readers could judge the quality of the output for themselves.

You can get it here. Or, if you can't use Amazon, email me and I'll set you up with a pdf version.