Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Insecure Writers Support Group: October

It's the first Wednesday in October so it's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group!

 The awesome co-hosts for the October 4 posting of the IWSG are Natalie Aguirre, Kim Lajevardi, Debs Carey, Gwen Gardner, Patricia Josephine, and Rebecca Douglass!

This month's question is very topical: 

The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?

I'm sure there are ways AI will be able to help writers.  I'm just not sure exactly what they are yet.  I haven't played enough with ChatGPT to have figured out how it could help me as a writer, other than for things like form letters and more business-focused stuff.  I've used it to shorten text where I needed to meet a set word limit to fit in a form.

The one time I tried it out for some creative writing, I gave it the prompt I get daily from a writing website I use and asked it to write an 800 word story based on that prompt.  The results weren't spectacular.  The AI wrote words, but it wasn't a complete story to begin with and wasn't the full 800 words I'd asked for,  A bit more prompting and refining did leave me with a story based on the prompt and at the correct number of words, but it wasn't a great story.  The language was simplistic and lacked any emotional resonance.  The plot was pretty generic and it really didn't sound like something I would write.

Maybe I need to try again.

But maybe I don't.

I like writing.  When things are going well for me, I love the feeling of falling into my story and seeing where it might take me.   Because I don't plot ahead or outline, and rarely write in a linear way, I'm not sure how I could use AI to help me write my books.  Maybe there could be some uses in the editing stage?  If I need to lose some words from a MS?  I don't know.  It's not something I've thought a whole lot about.  I know how to write a book - I've done it 15+ times now - and I've done it without using AI.  I'm not sure why I'd change that when it works for me.

Especially when what ChatGPT puts out is so flat and uninteresting.  I guess you could use the bot to create something for you to work with, but from what I've seen, you'd end up rewriting pretty much everything it spat out, so why wouldn't you just write it yourself in the first place?

I would be open to experimenting with using AI to help with editing and revising, but wouldn't really know where to start with that.  And to be honest, I'm not sure how comfortable I am with loading my unpublished manuscript into ChatGPT to try it out.  How do I know that manuscript won't get spat out in its entirety to someone else who asks the bot to write a novel about X Y and Z?

So for now, I'm happy to let AI help draft my business letters, write forms and generic policy documents, or help me cut my funding application narrative down to the right number of words, but I'm not sure I'm ready to ask for its assistance with anything involving my creative writing.  Maybe I'm just old fashioned...

How do you feel about using AI as a writer?


  1. I don't like AI. There's too much theft of intellectual property going on. Not to mention it taking work from writers.

  2. I think AI is a tool for the tasks you mention. It doesn't write short, informative articles that well. I definitely would not want it to write my manuscript or edit it. It's not that talented or able to not be repetitive.

  3. AI is a tool, as Natalie said. It doesn't think or feel, it simply gathers input. There is no intellect or creativity involved.

  4. I don't see using AI for writing a first draft as useful. It's adding an extra step because you have to think up the prompts to give it. I could just spend that time writing the actual story.

    One thing I've heard of using AI for is more marketing stuff. I watched a video where someone talked about feeding your story into AI and asking it to choose quotes to use in marketing. That sounded useful as it could do it in seconds as opposed to you rereading and picking the quotes.

    1. I agree. AI writing a first draft is an interference into the creativity of the writer since first drafts are one of the beginning stages of the creation.

  5. I don't have any interest in ChatGPT or AI in general, for the reasons you mentioned as well as the reasons JE mentions in her comment. I know it has some good applications, but I really don't like what people are doing with the rest.

  6. You're not old fashioned. You just know what's human and not human and AI writing fiction is not human in that a human being isn't writing it out of their own inspiration, emotions and experiences. It is simply a program of code and algorithms and a database of written language programmed to select certain words to make a story.

    Creative or inspirational writing is a human thing and it was meant for humans.

    I think the only thing I'd use generative AI for is SEO for my blog because that is so highly technical and tedious. It has no place in my storytelling.

  7. Have you used Grammarly or ProwritingAid to help with editing? That is early AI and they are continuing to adapt and change the technology to keep refining. I don't think AI will take our jobs but it will make it easier to do a lot of jobs while still requiring those who use it to develop new skills and understand key principles that the AI just doesn't get yet (like word counts, etc.) Heidi Angell http://heidiangell.com/

  8. If I ask the AI to help me edit, will it steal what I give it? We have some copyright protections if a person does that, but not so much with AI.

    “And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ― Sylvia Plath

    J Lenni Dorner (he/him 👨🏽 or 🧑🏽 they/them) ~ Speculative Fiction & Reference Author and Co-host of the April Blogging #AtoZchallenge