Home > Columns > It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz > What Do I Do with AI? by Kitty Bucholtz

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been on our radar for years, and on our fiction radar for decades. But since OpenAI opened its doors for anyone and everyone to try out ChatGPT six months ago, it seems AI has exploded across the world and across industries.

If you haven’t played with it yet, you might be wondering — what can an author do with it anyway? (Besides ask it to write a book for you, which would actually take about as much work as writing it yourself to come up with something really good and not generic-sounding.) Turns out, there are lots of things.

  1. Back cover copy — My husband’s first book just released (yay!) and he used ChatGPT to help him write better back cover copy. He entered what he’d written himself and then asked for help to make it stronger.
  2. Your book description on the sales page — Same guy, same book. He then asked the AI to read the book descriptions of a couple competitive authors on Amazon and rewrite his book description to sound more like the ones on those sales pages.
  3. Brainstorming plot holes and writer’s block — I used ChatGPT to find out what a lawyer (the hero in my current chick lit) might do in this or that situation. I asked it to give me three ideas of what might happen after this or that event. I asked it for ten more ideas, then I asked for more details on one of them. Suddenly, my block was gone and I knew what I wanted to write next.
  4. Fictional poetry or song lyrics — Since we can’t legally use more than a small number of words in poetry and songs (it’s easier for me to just say “we can’t use it” and be done with it), what can you do if you’re not a poet? Give ChatGPT some guidelines and ask it to write x lines of poetry for you in this or that style. Voila!
  5. Actual poetry to give to someone — Say, in your spouse’s anniversary card! John and I just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary a few days ago and I was gobsmacked at the short but lovely poem he’d written inside. I asked him if he’d written it or just found someone’s poem and written it in. When he paused, not answering either way, I started laughing. “Did you use ChatGPT?!” He looked away, trying to hide a smile. “Maybe a little. But then *I* made it better!”

The free version of ChatGPT can do a lot, but don’t expect it to “get it right” on the first try. You need to understand how to ask it questions to get the best answers. And you need to know enough about the topic to know when it got something a little (or a lot) wrong, or when its answer is just too generic to be useful. The newer paid version is already miles ahead of the free one, but you still need to understand how to ask your questions.

I’m going to be showing my group coaching clients how to use the free ChatGPT for brainstorming, how it’s different from “Googling” something, and the specific and helpful ways it can make your writing life easier. And more fun!

If you’ve used it, what do you feel it has done well or poorly? If you haven’t used it, what makes you want to try it or makes you shy away from it?

Author Details
Author Details
Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. She loves to teach and offer advice to writers through her WRITE NOW! Workshop courses and the new WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast.
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Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. She writes romantic comedy and superhero urban fantasy, often with an inspirational element woven in. She loves to teach and offer advice to writers through her WRITE NOW! Workshop courses and the new WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast.

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