Unlocking Creativity – How to Write a Novel Using AI Tools like ChatGPT: Recently, artificial intelligence (AI) has made huge strides in assisting various creative endeavors – including writing. With AI language models like ChatGPT and Claude, authors now have a powerful tool at their disposal to enhance their writing process and explore new avenues of creativity. There are a lot of naysayers that want to discourage authors from using AI software as an aid, but if a novel is well-written, interesting and immersive – do readers really care if an AI assisted the process?
- Different AI Author Tools
- 1. Story Ideas
- 2. Chapter Outlines
- 3. Story Beats (Chapter Outlines)
- 4. Writing a Novel
- 5. Editing
- Top 5 Ways AI Can Improve Your Novel
- How to Write a Novel Using AI
Let’s delve into how you can leverage these AI tools to write a novel and unlock your storytelling potential. In order to see how AI can be useful in creating a high-quality novel – we will need to focus on 4 main sections of book creation: coming up with a good story idea, outlining each chapter to know how you want to develop the story, expanding each outline into a full novel, and editing to fix any final issues – before sending it off to be professionally edited and proofread.
Different AI Author Tools
There are currently 3 main tools that authors swear by when creating content for their novels. They are:
- Sudowrite (main writing tool)
- ChatGPT (Ideas and short paragraphs)
- Claude (Ideas and short paragraphs)
Sudowrite was one of the first tools that took advantage of AI and moved it away from article writing and into a more creative direction. It has always been decent at helping to expand upon story ideas, but only recently with the release of Story Engine, has become a true powerhouse in novel creation. Sudowrite can now generate your synopsis, characters, outline and story beats, and then write complete chapters for you.
Sudowrite is one of the best ways to write a novel fast. For a full-length novel, I recommend the Professional Package.
Sudowrite has a 4,000 word free trial (and plans start from $10 a month)
b. ChatGPT (GPT-3.5/GPT-4)
ChatGPT (GPT-3.5) and ChatGPT Plus (GPT-4) are great as helping you to come up with story ideas and outlining your novel from beginning to end. You can use it for writing your novel as well, but I strongly recommend you use GPT-4 over GPT-3.5 to get the best possible results. You can access GPT-4 directly through ChatGPT by paying for a subscription. You can also access GPT-4 through other apps that may offer additional features such as:
c. Claude Instant / Claude+ / Claude 100K
Claude is an AI from Anthropic that is capable of creating well-written text for your novels. A lot of authors have found that Claude creates better text for novels over ChatGPT. I’ve received equally good text from both tools, so I think it’s more of a personal preference. Claude is still quite new right now, so it’s not as widely available as ChatGPT. You can, however, access it here:
Poe by Quora ($21 a month for Claude and GPT-4)
1. Story Ideas
When it comes to creating ideas for a good novel, you can’t go wrong with most modern AI tools. From my experience using these tools, I have seen them create extremely interesting and intriguing ideas for novels that I would never have come up with alone. Whether you have an initial idea to start off with or are going in completely blind – I have found that AI tools are unparalleled at this task. ChatGPT and Claude will both give you impressive story ideas to work from. I lean more toward ChatGPT for this one though. You can use the free version of ChatGPT (which uses GPT-3.5) to create these story ideas. There’s no need to upgrade to a subscription at this point. You’ll still get very impressive results. If you ask for multiple ideas – you’ll get a short paragraph breaking down each idea. However, if you opt for just one idea – ChatGPT will give you an in-depth breakdown of exactly how it sees the story unraveling.
To give you an example of how it all works, here’s a simple prompt where I asked ChatGPT the following:
Write an idea for a fantasy novel
And here are the results:
Title: "The Echoes of Etherea" Synopsis: In the enchanting realm of Etherea, a once peaceful land filled with mystical creatures, ancient prophecies, and hidden magic, darkness begins to seep through its very core. The kingdom's sacred energy source, the Heartstone, has been stolen by an unknown force, disrupting the delicate balance between light and dark. Amidst the chaos, Ariella, a young and determined mage with a mysterious past, discovers that she possesses a unique connection to the Heartstone. Guided by visions and the whispers of ancient spirits, she embarks on a perilous quest to recover the stolen artifact and restore harmony to Etherea. As Ariella ventures through ethereal landscapes and encounters diverse beings, she assembles a diverse group of allies. Among them is Kael, a stoic yet loyal warrior with a haunted past, and Lyra, a mischievous rogue with a penchant for mischief and a secret agenda of her own. Together, they navigate treacherous forests, explore forgotten temples, and confront powerful adversaries. Unbeknownst to them, a malevolent force known as the Shadowweaver seeks to wield the Heartstone's unimaginable power for his own nefarious purposes. With each step Ariella takes, the Shadowweaver's influence grows stronger, testing her resolve and unraveling secrets that could change the destiny of Etherea forever. As the stakes escalate, Ariella must unlock the depths of her magical abilities, face her inner demons, and make sacrifices that challenge her sense of self. With the fate of Etherea hanging in the balance, she must summon the courage to embrace her true destiny and confront the ultimate darkness threatening to consume the realm. "The Echoes of Etherea" is a gripping and immersive fantasy novel that weaves together elements of magic, adventure, and self-discovery. It explores themes of identity, resilience, and the transformative power of unity in the face of overwhelming odds. Journey alongside Ariella and her companions as they embark on an epic quest that will ignite your imagination and leave you yearning for more in the fantastical world of Etherea.
As you can see, ChatGPT created an interesting protagonist, antagonist and an intriguing world filled with mystical creatures and secrets. There are countless ways that you could expand this story. Every author would likely go in a different direction when playing out this scenario. Next, I want to show you how powerful AI can be when you can simply chat to it to amend information. I quite like the idea of this story and I don’t want to change it much. I do, however, want it to be set in a world of elves and dwarves. I’m now going to ask ChatGPT to add this information to the story idea that it’s already written:
I really like this idea, but please make Ariella an elf, and include dwarves in the story idea as well.
And here’s how the output is changed:
Title: "The Echoes of Etherea" Synopsis: In the enchanting realm of Etherea, a once peaceful land filled with mystical creatures, ancient prophecies, and hidden magic, darkness begins to seep through its very core. The kingdom's sacred energy source, the Heartstone, has been stolen by an unknown force, disrupting the delicate balance between light and dark. Amidst the chaos, Ariella, a young and courageous elven mage with a mysterious past, discovers that she possesses a unique connection to the Heartstone. Guided by visions and the whispers of ancient spirits, she embarks on a perilous quest to recover the stolen artifact and restore harmony to Etherea. Ariella's journey takes her deep into the heart of Etherea's diverse and breathtaking landscapes. Along the way, she encounters the stoic and skilled dwarven warrior, Kael, whose kingdom was once ravaged by the darkness that now threatens Etherea. Bound by a shared purpose, Ariella and Kael join forces, their strengths complementing each other as they navigate treacherous forests, explore forgotten temples, and confront powerful adversaries. As the duo progresses, they encounter Lyra, a mischievous rogue with a sharp wit and a hidden agenda of her own. Lyra's agile nature and resourcefulness prove invaluable to their cause, although Ariella remains wary of her true intentions. Together, the trio delves deeper into the secrets of Etherea, unearthing forgotten lore and untangling the intricate web of deceit that shrouds the stolen Heartstone. Unbeknownst to them, a malevolent force known as the Shadowweaver seeks to wield the Heartstone's unimaginable power for his own nefarious purposes. With each step Ariella takes, the Shadowweaver's influence grows stronger, testing her resolve and unraveling secrets that could change the destiny of Etherea forever. As the stakes escalate, Ariella must unlock the depths of her magical abilities, face her inner demons, and make sacrifices that challenge her sense of self. With the fate of Etherea hanging in the balance, she must summon the courage to embrace her true destiny and confront the ultimate darkness threatening to consume the realm. "The Echoes of Etherea" is a gripping and immersive fantasy novel that weaves together elements of magic, adventure, and self-discovery. It explores themes of identity, resilience, and the transformative power of unity in the face of overwhelming odds. Journey alongside Ariella, Kael, and Lyra as they navigate a world where elves, dwarves, and other mystical beings unite against a common enemy, and where the echoes of Etherea's ancient past guide them toward an uncertain future.
As you can see, ChatGPT has easily understood and carried out my request. The protagonist, Ariella, is now an elven mage. It has also added a new character called Kael, who is a dwarven warrior. This changes the heroic duo into a trio. I could go back once again and remove this new character, or any other of my choice – and ChatGPT would recreate the story as many times as necessary to match my expectations. This story idea is quite in-depth, but it’s still not a full outline. Once we’ve created a story idea that we’re happy with – we can then flesh it out further to create a workable outline.
2. Chapter Outlines
In writing, you have plotters and pantsers. Plotters meticulously plan out every part of their story before they start writing it, while pantsers make it up as they write. You can use AI for both types of writers, but if you’re a plotter, you will get even more out of it.
AI is smart enough to understand different types of high-level outlines. You can tell it to write a 3 Act Structure for your new story idea and ChatGPT will understand what you’re asking for. It will add additional details where needed to expand your story, while trying to ensure that it still makes sense. You can use the free version of ChatGPT for this, but I prefer the depth of GPT-4 and Claude on this one.
Popular outline methods include:
- The 3-Act Structure
- The 5-Act Structure
- Save the Cat
- The Hero’s Journey
- Romancing the Beat
- Dan Harmon’s Story Circle
To get started, you simply need to ask the AI to create an outline. I say ask, because Claude sometimes refuses to take orders from me, but if I ask – it often complies. I will use the same prompt in both ChatGPT and Claude so you can see the difference.
ChatGPT Plus (GPT-4)
Using the following synopsis, create a detailed outline of the story, fleshing out additional details, and breaking it into parts using The 3-act structure: [synopsis]
Using the following synopsis, create a detailed outline of the story, fleshing out additional details, and breaking it into parts using The 3-act structure: [synopsis]
ChatGPT Plus Reply
Act 1: The Unveiling Darkness 1. Introduction to Etherea: - Paint a vivid picture of the enchanting realm of Etherea, showcasing its mystical creatures, ancient prophecies, and hidden magic. - Establish the once peaceful nature of the land and the delicate balance between light and dark. 2. The Stolen Heartstone: - Introduce Ariella, a young and courageous elven mage with a mysterious past. - Ariella discovers her unique connection to the Heartstone and feels compelled to embark on a quest to recover it. - The disruption caused by the stolen Heartstone is felt throughout Etherea, and the darkness begins to grow. 3. Ariella's Call to Adventure: - Ariella is visited by visions and hears whispers from ancient spirits, guiding her towards her quest. - She realizes that she must restore harmony to Etherea and sets out on her perilous journey. 4. The Encounter with Kael: - Ariella encounters Kael, a stoic and skilled dwarven warrior who joins her on her quest. - Kael's kingdom was once ravaged by darkness, giving him a personal stake in recovering the Heartstone. - The two form an unlikely alliance, with their strengths complementing each other. 5. The Forest of Enchantment: - Ariella and Kael navigate through a treacherous forest, filled with magical creatures and illusions. - They face their first adversaries and learn to trust and rely on each other's abilities. Act 2: Unveiling Secrets 6. Lyra's Introduction: - Ariella and Kael encounter Lyra, a mischievous rogue with a sharp wit and agility. - Lyra joins the group, offering her resourcefulness and skills, but Ariella remains cautious of her true intentions. 7. The Forgotten Temple: - The trio explores a forgotten temple that holds clues about the stolen Heartstone. - They encounter puzzles, traps, and guardian creatures, testing their abilities and teamwork. 8. Unearthing Lore: - Ariella delves into her magical abilities, unlocking new powers as she taps into her unique connection to the Heartstone. - They uncover ancient texts and prophecies that shed light on the true nature of the Heartstone's power. 9. Shadows of Deceit: - The group becomes aware of the Shadowweaver, the malevolent force seeking the Heartstone's power. - The Shadowweaver's influence grows stronger, manipulating events and testing the resolve of our heroes. 10. Betrayal and Revelation: - Lyra's hidden agenda is revealed, as she was initially aligned with the Shadowweaver. - Lyra has a change of heart and chooses to stand with Ariella and Kael, leading to a dramatic confrontation. Act 3: Embracing Destiny 11. The Final Confrontation: - Ariella, Kael, and Lyra confront the Shadowweaver in a climactic battle. - Ariella must face her inner demons and tap into her true potential to overcome the darkness. 12. Sacrifices and Redemption: - In the midst of the battle, one of the main characters sacrifices themselves to protect the Heartstone. - The act of sacrifice triggers a powerful transformation in Ariella, revealing her true destiny. 13. Restoring Harmony: - Ariella unleashes her newfound power, driving back the Shadowweaver and reclaiming the Heartstone. - With the Heartstone restored, light returns to Etherea, and the realm begins to heal. 14. Epilogue: A Changed Etherea: - The aftermath of the battle and the sacrifices made are revealed. - Etherea emerges from the darkness stronger and more united than ever before. - Ariella, Kael, and Lyra reflect on their journey, their personal growth, and the bonds they formed. "The Echoes of Etherea" is a gripping and immersive fantasy novel that weaves together elements of magic, adventure, and self-discovery. It explores themes of identity, resilience, and the transformative power of unity in the face of overwhelming odds. Journey alongside Ariella, Kael, and Lyra as they navigate a world where elves, dwarves, and other mystical beings unite against a common enemy, and where the echoes of Etherea's ancient past guide them toward an uncertain future.
**Act I:** 1. Introduction to Etherea * Description of the enchanting realm of Etherea, its mystical creatures, ancient prophecies, and hidden magic. * The peaceful land is disrupted when the Heartstone, a sacred energy source, is stolen by an unknown force. 2. Ariella's Discovery * Introduce Ariella, a young elven mage with a mysterious past. * Ariella realizes she has a unique connection to the Heartstone through visions and whispers from ancient spirits. 3. The Journey Begins * Ariella decides to embark on a quest to recover the stolen Heartstone and restore harmony to Etherea. * First steps of her journey lead her into the diverse landscapes of Etherea. 4. Meeting Kael * Ariella encounters Kael, a stoic dwarven warrior whose kingdom was once ravaged by darkness. * They join forces due to their shared purpose and complementary strengths. **Act II:** 5. Encountering Lyra * Ariella and Kael meet Lyra, a mischievous rogue with hidden motives. * Despite suspicion, they accept Lyra into their group for her useful skills. 6. Delving Deeper into Secrets * The trio explores forgotten temples and unearths lost lore about the Heartstone. * They slowly untangle the web of deceit surrounding the artifact's theft. 7. Shadowweaver's Influence * Reveal that the antagonist is a malevolent force known as the Shadowweaver. * As they progress on their journey, Shadowweaver's influence grows stronger, challenging their resolve. 8. Unexpected Revelations * Unravel secrets that change Etherea's destiny forever. * Test characters' trust in one another and reveal new dimensions within themselves. **Act III:** 9. Unlocking Magical Potential * Ariella taps into her magical abilities, discovering new depths of power. * They confront powerful adversaries as they move closer to the stolen Heartstone. 10. Sacrifices and Challenges * Characters face personal sacrifices that question their sense of self. * Ariella confronts her inner demons and embraces her true destiny. 11. The Final Battle * Confrontation with the Shadowweaver over control of the Heartstone. * The trio works together to overcome overwhelming odds. 12. Resolution and New Beginnings * Defeat the Shadowweaver, recover the Heartstone, and restore balance to Etherea. * Reflection on their experiences and transformations throughout the journey. * Etherea's future remains uncertain but full of hope as characters continue to grow and protect their realm.
Act I The Heartstone is stolen, disrupting the balance of light and dark in the enchanting realm of Etherea. Ariella, a young elven mage, discovers she has a connection to the Heartstone. Guided by visions, she embarks on a quest to recover it. She teams up with Kael, a dwarven warrior, and Lyra, a mischievous rogue, to find the Heartstone. - Opening: Describe the peaceful kingdom of Etherea and the Heartstone, its source of power. Show how the theft of the Heartstone disrupts the realm. - Inciting Incident: Ariella has a vision showing her connection to the Heartstone. She decides to go on a quest to find it. - Rising Action: Ariella teams up with Kael and Lyra. They explore Etherea, following clues from Ariella's visions and discovering secrets about the realm's history. A malevolent force called the Shadowweaver is growing stronger as Ariella's quest progresses. - First Plot Point: Ariella's party reaches a barrier they can't cross without magic. Ariella taps into her connection with the Heartstone to get them through, proving her power. The Shadowweaver takes notice of her strength. Act II Ariella, Kael, and Lyra face dangerous challenges and uncover allies and enemies in their search for the Heartstone. The Shadowweaver manipulates events to thwart them and eliminate Ariella. - Rising Action: They navigate treacherous terrain, confront adversaries, and find allies. Lyra's motives remain unclear. The Shadowweaver sends forces against them, testing Ariella's magic. - Midpoint: They discover the Shadowweaver was once a guardian of Etherea who was corrupted by the Heartstone's power. Ariella starts to doubt her abilities and destiny. - Rising Action: They begin to unravel the web of deceit around the theft. Ariella struggles with self-doubt but continues guided by her connection to spirits of Etherea's past. The Shadowweaver nearly defeats Ariella but she's rescued by her allies. Act III Ariella and her allies quest comes to a climax as they close in on the Heartstone. Ariella must embrace her power and destiny to defeat the Shadowweaver and restore the Heartstone. - Rising Action: They solve the final clues and race against the Shadowweaver to reach the Heartstone. - Climax: They confront the Shadowweaver. Ariella defeats him after fully embracing her power but suffers a great loss. - Resolution: Ariella restores the Heartstone, returning light and balance to Etherea. She and her allies are celebrated as heroes who saved the realm. Ariella embraces her role as a guardian of Etherea, guided by the echoes of the past.
Act I: - Opening scene: The elven kingdom of Etherea is filled with mystical creatures and magic. The Heartstone, a sacred energy source, has been stolen, disrupting the balance of light and dark. - We are introduced to Ariella, a young elven mage with a connection to the Heartstone. She has visions guiding her to recover it. She sets out on a quest to find the Heartstone. - Ariella journeys through different landscapes of Etherea. She meets Kael, a dwarven warrior, and Lyra, a mischievous rogue. Though wary of Lyra, they join Ariella on her quest. - They explore the land, discovering forgotten lore and secrets about the theft of the Heartstone. Meanwhile, the Shadowweaver, a malevolent force, seeks to wield the Heartstone's power. His influence grows as Ariella progresses. - Act I ends with Ariella, Kael, and Lyra united to find the Heartstone as the Shadowweaver's power increases. Ariella must embrace her destiny to confront the darkness threatening Etherea. Act II: - Ariella, Kael, and Lyra delve deeper into the mystery of the Heartstone's theft. Ariella struggles with secrets that could change Etherea's fate. - They face dangerous challenges—treacherous terrain, ancient guardians, traps, and enemies. Ariella unlocks magical abilities and confronts her inner demons. Their quest takes sacrifice and challenges their identities. - Meanwhile, the Shadowweaver's power continues increasing. His deceit and influence spread, manipulating events to hinder and endanger the trio. - Ariella and her friends descend into the depths of Etherea, navigating threats that test their skills, courage, and the bonds of their alliance. - Act II ends with Ariella and her allies overcoming immense challenges but remaining unaware of the true danger posed by the Shadowweaver. Act III: - Ariella, Kael, and Lyra finally recover the Heartstone, but the Shadowweaver seizes it, wielding its power to unleash darkness across Etherea. - With Etherea in chaos, Ariella realizes she must embrace her destiny as the only one able to stand against the Shadowweaver. She asks her friends to trust her for a final time. - Ariella confronts the Shadowweaver. They engage in an immense battle of magic, each drawing on all of their power and abilities. Ariella calls on the ancient magic of Etherea and her connection to the light to overcome the Shadowweaver's darkness. - With a final burst of power, Ariella defeats the Shadowweaver, restoring the Heartstone and harmony to Etherea. Her destiny fulfilled but at a cost, Ariella finds peace. Kael and Lyra remain by her side, their alliance transformed into lasting friendship. - Etherea is forever changed but enters a new age of unity, with Ariella and her friends as guardians of the realm's fate. The story ends with hope restored but a bittersweet awareness of all that was lost and sacrificed in the quest to save Etherea. Ariella and her allies emerge transformed, embracing their identities as heroes who navigated impossible odds to overcome the ultimate evil.
As you can see, ChatGPT (free version), ChatGPT Plus (GPT-4), Claude Beta and Claude+ all give excellent outlines that you can build your story from. You can now choose one that best suits you and add additional points that you would like.
3. Story Beats (Chapter Outlines)
As a simple example, I will provide ChatGPT with the complete outline and then ask it to write some story beats for each section. These story beats are a sort of outline for each chapter – telling us what we want to happen in each scene. Here’s what I got from ChatGPT:
use the following outline and create story beats for each section of it. You can add characters, speaking scenes and locations to create a more vivid story: [outline]
Of course, there’s still a lot that can be added to make our scenes make more sense and to add more dialogue. And now that we know how the story will unfold, we can easily add some foreshadowing and additional dialogue to spice up our story. In order to get the AI to add these scenes, we’ll need to add them to our story beats. So, we’ll simply look through the AI-generated story beats and add additional plot points to it.
For this example, I will only use the first two chapters to show you how story beats can be revised to make it easier.
All the parts that I’ve added or amended will be in bold.
ChatGPT Story Beats (Revised)
**Act I:** 1. Introduction to Etherea * Ariella admires Etherea's breathtaking landscapes: towering forests, shimmering lakes, and majestic mountains. * Ariella remembers stories her mother used to tell her about mystical creatures such as graceful phoenixes and wise centaurs. * Ariella walks through town and sees a strange man giving a speech to the townsfolk. He speaks of ancient prophecies that foretell the balance between light and dark is shifting. 2. Ariella's Discovery * Ariella experiences vivid visions of the stolen Heartstone and hears whispers from ancient spirits. * Seen from Eldrin's point of view: Ariella seeks guidance from her mentor, the wise and elderly elven mage, Eldrin. * Seen from Eldrin's point of view: Eldrin reveals Ariella's unique connection to the Heartstone and its importance in maintaining Etherea's harmony.
4. Writing a Novel
Actually getting your words on a page in story form is where most people get stuck. Whether you’re using AI or not, this is the most challenging part of putting together a novel. For the most part, you can’t currently ask an AI tool to write you a bestselling novel, and have it generate it on the spot. It’s just not possible to have it generate something that makes complete sense from beginning to end. You can, however, use AI tools to write complete chapters and scenes and stitch these together to create your novel. With the method I will show you below, you’ll be able to do this quite quickly too. The human element is necessary to weed through the copies and find which parts are usable and what should be left on the cutting room floor.
Writing a Novel with Sudowrite
Sudowrite’s latest feature called Story Engine is a game-changer for book creation. It’s just come out of beta and is available for everyone to now use. Basically, you simply need to supply it with a brain dump of your novel. It can then generate the synopsis, characters, outline and story beats – and then generate a complete chapter for you. You can use Sudowrite itself to create all of this info within the tool, however, I prefer to use free tools like ChatGPT to conserve my word count in Sudowrite. On the professional plan, you can generate 90,000 words a month. I would recommend saving these generations for the actual writing of your novel.
If you’ve ever used an AI tool to write a novel, you will notice that they are not very good at keeping a slow pace. AIs tend to rush to get to their main point across before they hit their word limit. For example, if the AI you use regularly creates 1,000 words per generation, then it will try to tell as much of your story within that limit and have no worldbuilding, narrative or character growth.
Sudowrite’s Story Engine looks at each of your story beats individually and creates a story that slowly builds up with strong narrative and impressive descriptions of the locale. It notifies you whenever it moves onto a new story beat, so you can follow along and see exactly which points are being addressed in your story. At the end, you can also expand upon certain areas to really spruce up your vision.
Sudowrite’s Story Engine is the only AI that’s currently able to write complete usable chapters with no interference from you. You will, of course, then need to read through, add additional information, and remove parts that you don’t like. However, the process is much simpler now that the AI doesn’t rush to try end the story too soon.
Writing a Novel with ChatGPT
As I’ve mentioned before – AI tools like to rush to get to the end of a story. It’s very difficult to get an AI to slowly let events unfold as a person would. They tend to skip over a lot of the descriptions of places and people, as well as avoiding dialogue. In order to get usable text from ChatGPT, you will need to give very clear instructions right from the start and be aware that you’ll most likely only be able to keep a portion of the generated text. You will not be able to create full chapters as you can in Sudowrite, but you should be able to get a good portion of a scene. Instead of writing a whole chapter and editing it after – you’ll instead be creating paragraphs piece by piece and fitting them together to form a full chapter. This might be preferable to some authors depending on how you prefer to write.
For this example, I’m going to use the third story beat from the first chapter. I’m using this one because I want there to be a decent amount of dialogue in the scene, and to see how the AI handles it. The story beat goes as follows:
Ariella walks through town and sees a strange man giving a speech to the townsfolk. He speaks of ancient prophecies that foretell the balance between light and dark is shifting.
ChatGPT Plus (GPT-4)
Chapter: The Shifting Balance Ariella walked through the bustling streets of the town, her elven senses attuned to the vibrant energy that permeated the air. The sweet scent of freshly baked bread mingled with the rich aroma of blooming flowers, creating a symphony of fragrances that filled her senses. It was a typical day in Etherea, or so it seemed at first glance. As she made her way through the crowd, her eyes caught sight of a gathering near the town square. Curiosity tugged at her, urging her to investigate. Weaving through the throngs of people, Ariella found herself standing on the outskirts of the gathering. Her eyes widened as she saw a man standing on a makeshift stage, his voice commanding the attention of the townsfolk. Intrigued, Ariella strained to listen to his words. The man spoke with a commanding presence, his voice resonating with authority and wisdom. "Ladies and gentlemen," he began, his eyes scanning the crowd, "I stand before you today to share a revelation of utmost importance." A hush fell over the crowd as they leaned forward, captivated by his words. Ariella's heart quickened, a sense of anticipation swelling within her. Who was this man, and what was the revelation that compelled him to address the townsfolk? The man continued, his voice carrying the weight of ancient prophecies. "The balance between light and dark is shifting," he declared. "For centuries, our land has known harmony, but the shadows grow stronger, threatening to tip the delicate equilibrium." A murmur of unease rippled through the crowd, and Ariella could feel the tension building. She wondered if others sensed the same undercurrent of darkness that had been tugging at her own instincts. "Our ancient prophecies have foretold this time of reckoning," the man proclaimed, his gaze sweeping across the faces before him. "A chosen few shall rise to restore balance and protect Etherea from the encroaching darkness. The fate of our realm rests in our hands." The words hung in the air, their weight sinking deep into Ariella's soul. She could feel the weight of responsibility settling upon her shoulders, a realization that her unique connection to the Heartstone was no mere coincidence. It was a call to action, an awakening of purpose. As the man continued to speak, Ariella's thoughts swirled with questions. Who were the chosen few he spoke of? What role did she play in this impending battle against the encroaching darkness? Her mind raced, but a sense of determination welled within her. She would not shy away from her destiny. The man's speech came to an end, met with a mixture of awe, fear, and determination from the townsfolk. Ariella lingered for a moment, absorbing the atmosphere and contemplating her next move. She felt a tug at her sleeve and turned to see a young girl with wide, curious eyes staring up at her. "Are you one of the chosen ones?" the girl asked, her voice filled with innocence and wonder. Ariella smiled gently, kneeling down to meet the girl's gaze. "Perhaps," she replied, her voice carrying a glimmer of hope. "But we all have the power to make a difference, to protect what we hold dear." The girl's eyes sparkled with newfound resolve, mirroring the flame that burned within Ariella's own heart. They shared a moment of silent understanding before the young girl ran off, her spirit emboldened by the possibilities that lay ahead. As Ariella stood up and continued her journey through the town, she couldn't help but feel a renewed sense of purpose. The stranger's words had ignited a fire within her, a determination to stand against the encroaching darkness and restore the delicate balance of Etherea. The day had begun like any other, but now, with each step Ariella took, she felt the weight of destiny upon her shoulders. The world around her seemed to come alive with a renewed sense of urgency and hidden magic. As she ventured further into the unknown, she knew that the path ahead would be treacherous, but she was prepared to face whatever challenges lay in her way. With every breath, Ariella embraced her role as a guardian of Etherea, ready to fight for the light, and ensure that the balance between light and dark would once again be restored.
Ariella strolled through the cobbled streets of her hometown, the sun casting a soft, golden glow on the bustling marketplace. The scent of freshly baked bread wafted through the air, mingling with the earthy aroma of spices and fragrant flowers sold by vendors. She took in the familiar sights and sounds as she weaved her way between stalls, nodding to friends and acquaintances along her path. As she turned a corner, she noticed an unfamiliar sight: a stranger standing atop an old wooden crate. He was addressing a small crowd that had gathered around him, their expressions ranging from curiosity to skepticism. His voice boomed across the square as he spoke of ancient prophecies that foretold a shift in the balance between light and dark. “...and so it is written,” he proclaimed, “that when shadows fall upon these lands once more, one will rise to restore harmony!” Ariella paused in her steps to observe this odd scene. The man had an air of mystery about him - his robes were tattered at their edges, yet seemed almost ethereal with their shimmering fabric. She couldn't discern his face hidden beneath his hood's shadows; but something about him intrigued her. The townsfolk whispered amongst themselves as they listened intently to his words. “Did you hear that?” said one woman to another beside her. “They say there's been talk of darkness returning.” The other woman scoffed dismissively. “Oh please, Gertrude! Prophecies are merely stories meant to entertain.” Ariella felt a strange pull towards this stranger and his tale. She stepped closer, allowing herself to be swallowed by the captivated crowd. “I know many of you doubt my words,” continued the stranger, as if reading Ariella’s thoughts. “But I have seen proof that cannot be denied! Creatures hide in our world's darkest corners; and their numbers grow, threatening the world we hold dear.” He spread his arms wide as if to encompass the entire town. “It is up to us to protect our homes and loved ones from this encroaching darkness!” Whispers grew louder, doubt turning into concern. “Do you truly believe these tales?” Ariella asked her neighbor, a gruff man with a bushy beard and hardened eyes. He hesitated before answering. “I want not to, but I've heard whispers from travelers passing through... Strange happenings elsewhere in the realm.” She furrowed her brow. He wasn't one prone to flights of fancy; his words added credibility to the stranger's speech. As she focused back on the hooded figure, he seemed to be addressing her directly, though she knew it was mere coincidence. “In your hearts,” he said passionately, “you know that something is changing. Be vigilant! For the balance between light and dark is fragile, and we must not let it slip away!” With that final proclamation, he stepped down from his makeshift podium. The crowd buzzed with uncertainty; some scoffing and dismissing him as a madman while others whispered frantically about what they'd just heard. Ariella felt a sense of unease settle over her like a heavy shroud. She couldn't shake off this feeling that there was truth in the stranger's words - something lurking in the shadows of their seemingly peaceful existence. Slowly, she began making her way through the dispersing crowd towards him; driven by an inexplicable need for answers. “Excuse me,” she called out as she approached him, heart pounding in her chest. He turned his gaze towards her; and for the first time, she could glimpse beneath his hood's shadow: piercing gray eyes that seemed both young and ancient simultaneously. “Yes?” His voice was softer now; expressing genuine interest in Ariella’s thoughts - a contrast to his earlier theatrics. “I... I don't know why, but... I believe you. What can we do to protect ourselves and our town?” She felt a flicker of embarrassment for believing him so readily, but she couldn't deny the conviction in her heart. He studied her for a moment before responding. “Knowledge is power. Learn about these forces at play; understand the prophecies and their implications. Only then can you hope to stand against them.” “But where do I even begin?” Ariella asked, feeling both overwhelmed and emboldened by this newfound purpose. He offered a small smile - the first sign of warmth from him since his arrival. “Seek knowledge among those who came before; for they have left behind their wisdom in scrolls and books.” With that enigmatic advice, he turned away; disappearing into the crowd as swiftly as he had appeared. Ariella stood there, feeling equal parts exhilarated and terrified by what she’d just learned. The world she knew seemed more delicate now; teetering on an unseen precipice. And though she had little control over its fate, she was determined to heed the stranger's words: seeking knowledge about this ancient prophecy that threatened to upend her life and the lives of everyone around her.
As you can see – both did a good job of creating a scene and adding dialogue, but GPT-4 is much better in every way. GPT-3.5 still tries to rush the story and give away everything with its last paragraph, while GPT-4 understands that there are more chapters to come, and keeps better pacing. GPT-3.5 only gave us 711 words, while GPT-4 topped off at 812 words. These are both far short of enough for a complete chapter, but it gives us a very good base to work from. We can still have GPT-4 expand certain areas, give us descriptive details and add additional dialogue as we see fit. The great thing about the chat interface is that we can simply mention which areas we want to be expanded and the AI will understand.
For example, if I want to add more information about the crowd – I can simply do the following:
Describe the crowd
The crowd gathered in the town square was a diverse tapestry of individuals, each person bringing their own unique presence and energy. Ariella observed the faces around her, taking in the rich diversity of Etherea's inhabitants. There were farmers, their weathered hands and sun-kissed skin evidence of a life spent toiling the land. They stood alongside merchants in colorful attire, their eager eyes reflecting a spirit of commerce and exchange. Artisans and craftsmen showcased their creations, their hands adorned with paint smudges or calloused from sculpting intricate designs. The crowd also included scholars, their spectacles perched on their noses as they listened intently, eager to absorb every word. Ariella noticed families huddled together, parents holding the hands of their children, their protective instincts evident. The younger ones gazed wide-eyed at the speaker on the stage, their innocent curiosity undimmed by the weight of the moment. Elders, their faces etched with lines of wisdom, nodded knowingly, recognizing the gravity of the man's words. The crowd's attire showcased the vibrant tapestry of Etherea's culture. Elven robes, flowing and adorned with intricate embroidery, mingled with the sturdy leather armor of dwarven warriors. Cloaks of various hues, reminiscent of forest greens and sky blues, were worn by those who held an affinity with nature. Jewelry adorned the necks, wrists, and fingers of both women and men, their designs reflecting the unique aesthetics of different regions. As the man spoke, Ariella noticed the range of emotions displayed on the faces of the townsfolk. Some listened with rapt attention, their brows furrowed as they contemplated the implications of his words. Others wore expressions of concern or fear, their eyes darting anxiously between the speaker and their loved ones. Yet, beneath it all, there was a shared sense of determination, an unspoken unity that bound them together in the face of the looming darkness. Conversations and whispers buzzed throughout the crowd, exchanging thoughts, fears, and hopes. Ariella caught snippets of dialogue that echoed her own sentiments. "Can it be true?" someone murmured. "We must stay strong," another voice chimed in. The air hummed with a mixture of anticipation, uncertainty, and a growing resolve. In that moment, as Ariella observed the crowd, she realized that each person held a story, a unique journey that had brought them to this pivotal moment. They were farmers, artisans, scholars, parents, and children, all united by a common purpose - to protect their realm and restore the balance between light and dark. Ariella couldn't help but feel a sense of awe and admiration for the diverse tapestry of Etherea's inhabitants. They were the heartbeat of the realm, each person contributing their own strengths and perspectives to the collective whole. It was this unity, this shared determination, that would fuel their journey forward, and ultimately, determine the fate of Etherea. With a renewed sense of purpose and a deep appreciation for the strength of her fellow townsfolk, Ariella resolved to embrace her role as a guardian. Together, they would face the challenges that awaited them, standing strong against the encroaching darkness and weaving a new chapter in the rich tapestry of Etherea's history.
ChatGPT has a lot to say about this crowd. There is a lot of excellent descriptive text here. You can pick and choose which parts would work best for your writing style. The very last paragraph is completely unnecessary, but as I’ve mentioned already – ChatGPT has a habit of trying to wrap up loose ends. You can simply delete these parts of its text.
Writing a Novel with Claude
Writing a novel with Claude works in exactly the same way as ChatGPT. You’ll get sections of text that you’ll need to piece together to make a coherent story. You can ask Claude to add additional details, to describe different parts of the scene better or even ask it to add a twist to the chapter. You are a bit limited by the number of words that it generates – which is usually under 500 words. Below, I will use the same example as before and I’ll be comparing Claude Instant and Claude +. The example story beat is as follows:
Ariella walks through town and sees a strange man giving a speech to the townsfolk. He speaks of ancient prophecies that foretell the balance between light and dark is shifting.
The morning sun filtered through the canopy of emerald leaves as I made my way down the winding dirt path into the heart of Silverwood village. Though the birds chirped their cheerful welcome, an unshakable feeling of unease had settled upon my heart. As I emerged from the forest edge, the familiar sight of cottages crafted from wood and stone usually brought me comfort. But today, the village seemed subdued. The usual bustle of the marketplace was absent, the streets bare. An ominous stillness permeated the air. In the distance, a collection of raised voices caught my attention. I moved toward the sound, my boots clicking against the cobblestones, and found the townsfolk gathered around a man standing on a wooden platform. He was dressed in long crimson robes, his face obscured by a hood. “The ancients spoke of an age where the darkness would rise, and the light would fade,” he proclaimed, his voice coarse yet compelling. “The signs foretold in prophecy have come to pass. The balance of our world teeters upon the brink of change.” Murmurs rippled through the crowd. I slid past a young boy clinging to his mother's skirts, making my way to the front. There was something about this strange man that tugged at my senses, setting my teeth on edge. The robed man raised his hands. “The Heartstone falters. Shadows stir and awaken. The time is nigh, good people of Etherea - the echoes of the past have come to guide us home.” A chill danced down my spine as I stared up at the man. His words were riddles and nonsense, yet beneath the fabric of his disguise, I sensed a familiar power - corrupted and malevolent, slithering through his veins. My pulse quickened as the truth dawned upon me. This mysterious prophet was no ordinary man. His presence here was not by chance. He had come for me. And the shadows in his wake now threatened to consume us all.
The warm summer sun beat down on the cobblestone streets of Halsten as I made my way through the familiar lanes. Merchants called out their wares, trying to entice customers to their stalls. The smells of fresh bread and roasting meat filled the air. As I passed the town square, a loud voice rang out, catching my attention. A man stood on the edge of the large stone fountain, speaking passionately to the crowd gathering around him. He was tall, with unkempt dark hair and strange violet eyes that seemed to glow with an unnatural light. His cloak was woven from a shimmering silver fabric I had never seen before. Curious, I moved closer to listen. “The ancient prophecies foretold this day would come,” the man said, his voice deep and compelling. “The delicate balance of light and dark is beginning to shift. We must be vigilant if we wish to maintain the harmony.” Murmurs rippled through the crowd. I frowned, unsure of the meaning behind his strange words. Prophecies and fantastical notions were for fireside tales, not speeches in the town square. “The Order of the Silver Cloak has long stood as a neutral force between the light and the dark,” the man continued. “But there are those who would see the scales tipped, and true balance destroyed.” A young boy near me tugged on his mother’s skirt. “Mama, what does he mean? What light and dark?” “Hush,” she whispered, her eyes fixed on the speaker. “We must be ready to defend the town of Halsten in these uncertain times,” the silver-cloaked man said. “Will you stand with us?” His violet eyes seemed to flash as he focused his gaze on the crowd. Something in the compulsion hinted at dark magic beyond my understanding. A shiver crept down my spine. “This isn’t right,” I said under my breath. The silver-cloaked man had ensnared the townsfolk with his contrived tale meant to sow worry and fear that he was conveniently offering protection against. I stayed fixed in place for a few moments longer as the man continued his speech and the crowd slid further under his spell. When I could no longer stand the sight, I turned and pushed my way out of the crowd. But the man’s dire words had emerged me in a cold sense of unease—a looming dread that was entirely at odds with the cheerful summer day. An ill wind was rising, bringing with it a change that I felt in my bones was not for the better. Whatever balance the silver-cloaked man spoke of was already tipping, and I feared Halsten would never be the same.
Claude+ gives us more text to work with, but overall I’m pretty happy with both versions of this story. Both need some tweaks, but it’s a very good starting point. As with ChatGPT, I could also ask Claude to describe the crowd or to write additional dialogue. There are lots of ways to add more to the scene to push the word count up. AI tries to get everything you’ve asked for into its word allowance, so it can rush your story. It’s your job to fix these parts and make the story flow better.
Writing doesn’t end once your first draft is complete. Editing and proofreading are important parts of creating something that readers will enjoy. Editing your book helps to find parts where your story doesn’t flow well or may be confusing, while proofreading will help to fix grammatical and spelling errors that can detract from the story you’re trying to tell. You don’t have to spend money to fix a lot of these types of errors. Most writing tools have some form of spelling/grammatical tools included. You can also make use of free versions of some tools to aid your writing. At the very least, I’d recommend having the free version of Grammarly installed. It’s helped me avoid countless mistakes that somehow flew under the radar.
If you want more advanced tools to help you with spelling and grammatical mistakes, then you can check out:
Top 5 Ways AI Can Improve Your Novel
- Generating Ideas and Prompts: One of the primary benefits of using AI tools like ChatGPT is their ability to generate creative ideas and prompts. Engage in a conversation with the AI, provide information about your novel’s concept, characters, or themes, and ask for suggestions. The AI can offer fresh perspectives, unexpected plot twists, or intriguing character dynamics that spark your imagination and kickstart your writing journey.
- Collaborating with AI: AI tools like ChatGPT can serve as collaborative writing partners throughout your novel’s creation. Use the AI as a sounding board for your ideas, bounce off plot points, or seek advice on character development. The AI can provide alternative suggestions, help you overcome writer’s block, or contribute new insights that you might not have considered. Embrace the AI as a creative companion, engaging in dynamic exchanges that fuel your writing process.
- Refining Language and Style: AI tools excel at language generation, making them valuable for refining the language and style of your novel. As you write, seek the AI’s assistance in polishing your sentences, improving clarity, or enhancing the overall flow of your prose. The AI can provide suggestions on sentence structure, word choice, or descriptive imagery, helping you elevate your writing to new heights.
- Overcoming Writer’s Block: Writer’s block is a common obstacle that many authors face. When inspiration seems elusive, AI tools like ChatGPT can act as a wellspring of ideas. Engage in a free-flowing conversation with the AI, discuss your story’s challenges, and ask for suggestions to overcome writer’s block. The AI’s responses might surprise you and reignite your creativity, guiding you toward breakthroughs and novel solutions.
- Editing and Proofreading: Once you’ve completed your novel’s first draft, AI tools can assist in the editing and proofreading process. Utilize the AI’s grammar and spell-checking capabilities to catch errors and improve the overall readability of your manuscript. The AI can provide alternative phrasings or suggest ways to tighten your prose. However, remember to exercise your judgment as the author and carefully evaluate the AI’s suggestions.
Balancing AI and Human Input – While AI tools can be powerful aids, it’s important to strike a balance between their assistance and your personal creative input. Use the AI as a tool to enhance your writing process, but ensure that your novel reflects your unique voice, ideas, and storytelling abilities. The human touch is essential for crafting a compelling and authentic story that resonates with readers.
How to Write a Novel Using AI
AI tools like ChatGPT, Claude and Sudowrite have revolutionized the writing process, providing authors with an array of powerful tools to enhance their creativity. From generating ideas and prompts to refining language and overcoming writer’s block, these AI tools can be invaluable companions on your novel-writing journey. Embrace the possibilities that AI offers, but remember to maintain creative control and infuse your own imagination and unique perspective into your novel. Let AI be a springboard for your creativity and watch your novel flourish into a captivating masterpiece.