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IWSG - Rise of the machines

 This is my Insecure Writers Support Group post for March.

Alex's awesome co-hosts this month are: 
Please stop by their blogs and say thank you


[Image purchased from Depositphotos]

Believe it or not, I wrote this before Alex posted the March question. Imagine my shock when I went to get the names of the co-hosts!

Have you "played" with AI to write those nasty synopses, or do you refuse to go that route? How do you feel about AI's impact on creative writing?

A few IWSGs ago, the topic was AI and whether it would replace writers. I posted, but I didn't know much about it at all. Since then, I've dabbled a bit. Wow. *mind blown*

I'm going to pause here to say that AI is a very controversial and often divisive topic.  AI bashing within the typically altruistic writing community has risen to a shocking and frankly saddening level. If you comment, please treat me and your fellow commenters with respect. My intention is to encourage healthy discussion, not start a war.

For the record, none of my books have been written by AI, nor will future books be.

The Good
I haven't done more than play around with ChatGPT and DALL.E 3, but I've watched tutorials on programs, such as Sudowrite. It's amazing what kind of assistance a program like that can provide! 

Even a free program, such as ChatGPT, can offer topic ideas for blog posts and help you brainstorm plots, like a friend tossing out ideas. It can also write descriptions of just about anything. You don't have to copy the prose verbatim - in fact, you shouldn't - but you can read what it generates to get your creative juices flowing.

Here's another tutorial video: 'How to write a book with AI in 2024 (2 best methods)

I'm not posting these links to push you to use AI; I'm posting them to show you how these tools work. The worst negativity I've witnessed is coming from people who are apparently uninformed. AI doesn't churn out a complete novel from a prompt, or even a few prompts. It doesn't work that way.

Let me pause to pose a few questions about the chatbot/writing side of AI.

Have you ever skimmed the internet for party or event ideas?  I have. Most of us have.
How is asking AI for a list of 10 icebreaker questions to choose from for a blog post any different?

What about plugging a story description YOU wrote into AI and asking it to generate some tagline ideas that you can cherry-pick, refine, and use as ad copy?

What about plugging YOUR story idea into AI and asking it to turn that into synopsis form? Then take that and turn into outline form? Is that wrong? Is that plagiarism?

But AI learns from other books, you say. 
So do we.

New writers are frequently given the advice to read good fiction to improve their writing skills. Just like AI, we are learning from other writers' work. We just can't do it with nearly as much efficiency or speed.

Unlike CPs, Chatbots never sleep. Wanna brainstorm at 3:00 AM? Go for it. 

Another plus, AI writing tools reduce the amount of typing significantly, which can be a career-saver for disabled authors.

Before you bash writers who choose to harness the power of AI, explore the things it can do and understand exactly how it works.

Sorry for digressing.

The Bad
AI is a polarizing topic, especially when it comes to its ability to create custom images. Graphic artists have had their livelihoods adversely affected, now that anyone can generate quality images tailored to their specifications and make book covers. Some have said graphic artists should take the if you can't beat 'em, join 'em attitude, but it isn't that simple. There's the issue of copyright, and even copyright infringement if a trademarked image shows up in the mix.

Other artists are angry that their work is being used by companies to train AI.  Some are fighting back with tools that contaminate and confuse AI systems.

The Messy
As with any new technology, it takes our legal system time to catch up. It's my understanding that, currently, AI-generated images cannot be copyrighted, nor can books that have been largely or completely generated by AI. 

If AI only writes a small amount of the prose, the work is able to be copyrighted. (If it's somewhere in the middle, it's anyone's guess.) And using it to brainstorm, plot, and outline is acceptable, if a human author does the writing. All that said, the laws are still evolving, so do your due diligence.

The copyright office requires authors to declare if part of the work is not their own. Amazon also has policies regarding AI content. You could lie, but AI detecting programs exist, some with over 97% accuracy. Integrity aside, do you really want to take that risk?

The Bottom Line
AI images can be created with a single-sentence prompt. With novels, however, a human writer is needed to guide the AI at every stage and edit what's generated to turn out a quality product. Each author must determine the level of risk s/he is willing to take, but the potential these programs possesses to speed up the writing process is considerable.

IMHO, any writer who is serious about earning a living wage would be foolish to ignore this technology. You don't have to let AI write your novels for you, but allowing it to aid the plotting and outlining process can shave hours off the time it takes to turn out a book.

Have you had any experience with AI that you're willing to share? 
What are your thoughts on this technology?


IWSG is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. It's a monthly bloghop that offers a safe haven for writers to express their feelings and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. It's also a venue for offering  support, both in the form of comments and positive posts. Writers of all kinds are welcome. 

We 'meet' the first Wednesday of every month. If you're interested in learning more, click on the link above. And don't be intimidated by the size of the group. We're not expected to visit everyone on the list


  1. I mean, I'm pretty close to a CP that never sleeps... LOL

  2. Lots of food for thought here. Thanks for looking at all sides.

  3. This is a great post. I see Al as a tool for things like synopsis, outlines, and blurbs like you mentioned.

  4. There are advantages and letting it help with research is similar to us doing the research online. We still have to guide it though.

  5. AI detecting programs - good that those exist. Catch students turning in work they didn't write.

    1. Maybe, but I've also met students who are doing things by the book and still can't get below the % required for turning in their papers. It's maddening. This is one of the reasons I refuse to go back to college and get a higher degree.

    2. It's also falsely "catching" students who DID do their work. It's a tricky thing right now.

    3. Exactly. I don't have the patience for that kind of nonsense. Having to cite one's own work in another class so you don't get accused of plagiarism... *rolls eyes* A human would know the difference and move on.

  6. Lots of good points. It's here. I haven't tried ChatGPT yet, but I eventually will, I'm sure.

    PS: My blog feed has changed.

    1. It's fun, free, and easy. You should play around with it.

  7. I played with ChatGPT once but couldn't get anything to work for me. I was looking for inspiration at the time, and all I ended up with was me judging its writing skills. I didn't think about AI in the context of other tools, though. I use ProWritingAid a lot, and I find its suggestions helpful for when I need to use a comma or maybe swap out a selection of words for something more succinct. That's still a computer providing help.

  8. What a thoughtful post. I like all your pro- and con- arguments. Like any new technology, AI is controversial. It will take some time for all of us to truly realize what it can and can't do in the creative areas.

  9. It seems every topic polarizes these days. I can't make sense of that. Thanks for the considered response to this month's question. was mine. :-)

  10. I appreciated reading your post, Melissa, because it discussed the topic from different angles. It's a guiding principle for me never to write unkind comments. Thanks for what you said on this. Happy IWSG Day!

  11. I tried to play with it, but all of the programs I found cost money. How's that for an Elizabeth-problem to have? Too tech clueless to dip my toes in the AI fun. LOL

    1. Someone said that Sudowrite allows you to pause your subscription. They suggested pausing it until your word limit is used up then paying for another month and pausing again.

  12. Thank you for this balanced discussion of AI and for the links to find out more PLUS your planner! Definitely AI can be a tool in a writer's toolbox, but like anything, it takes practice on how to use it.

  13. Thank you as well for exploring AI from several viewpoints. We all benefit from thinking through what AI brings and/or will bring to us in the future. Even Word offers some sort of integrated AI (haven't tried that yet). I have explored a little with ChatGPT but really prefer pounding out my own words, with all their flaws. I do worry about those whose jobs will be affected, though.

    1. AI is a complicated, convoluted topic, for sure. I'm like you. I prefer drafting my own words. I love sinking into the story and being creative. It's my therapy. I won't give that up to a computer. LOL


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