August 2021 Update

Magic’s a Hoot (Book 3) , came out on Thursday! Early feedback is pretty positive, and I’m happy that readers seem to be enjoying this latest entry into the Owl Star Witch Mysteries. A reminder! This is the book written utilizing some AI tools. You can read all about that here. I really have gotten into a groove with AI and allowing it to help shiny up the books with a little punch. Chapters 1-4 of Magic’s a Hoot (Book 3) were heavily generated (and then edited) from AI text as a foundational piece, so I’ll be curious if anyone notices a difference. Hope you all are having a wonderful summer, and if not, remember—Halloween is almost here!

July 2021 Update

Magic’s a Hoot (Book 3) , which is coming out in late August, is almost done. I’m working on the final chapter or two now, and it will come in at around 63,000 words. From there, it’s off to the editor. It’ll be released in e-book, paperback, and hardcover, and it’ll be right on time. A reminder that this book is being written utilizing some AI tools, and I’ve gone back and forth with how much to use them. If you’re curious about that, there’s a section on the site you can go check out here that tells you more about it. Hope you all are having a wonderful summer!

Final Thoughts on Sudowrite

This will be the final post on incorporating Sudowrite into my writing. I’m not going to stop using it, but I do think I’ve gone in-depth enough to give folks an idea of what it’s like to start using a tool like this. I’ve also come to some final conclusions about how I’m getting use it that I don’t think will change. I went back to dictating/my process. While the first four chapters leaned very, very heavily on Sudowrite, as I got further into the book the harder it became. Starting an e-book comes with a certain amount of freedom, especially if the books are character-driven. For me, the specifics of the scenes were far less important than what those scenes showed regarding where the characters were in their journey with one another. So, I had more flexibility at the start of the book than I had in the middle. By chapter 6, I was no longer using Sudowrite to spin up scenes and had gone back to my original process outlined elsewhere in this blog For creation. The more I gave it, the better it was. Despite being pretty attached to expand, I learned to develop an appreciation for wormhole. The expand option in the software has very little to work with as far as my own voice whereas wormhole seems much better at attempting to mimic my voice as a writer. Description, too, seemed to work better the more text it had. Sudowrite was most useful for me when editing I tend to tell stories through dialogue—my books come in at around 60% dialog on average. I’ve made a conscious effort over the past several years to go back and flesh out descriptions, and my readers have seemed to really enjoy that. This is where Sudowrite is indispensable for me—I rarely use its description word for word, but it gives me descriptor ideas that make it well worth the money. I think there are places it can go. There are some things I wish Sudowrite had, and I’m sure the developers might add them in the future (or another tool more specialized to world-building or grammar might come along utilizing GPT-3). That includes character generation, plot beat generation, mystery seed generation, rephrasing suggestions (like a sentence or paragraph thesaurus), and intelligent descriptor expansions. I know some authors with far more technical know-how than I are already creating their own tools for their own specific needs. I’m just, unfortunately, not that smart. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong. I think Sudowrite is a complete tool with a robust focus, and I definitely recommend it. But having played around with this tool for more than a month, I feel like I just scratched the surface of what it could do and how it could improve my writing. I will keep using it. Just not for generation, I think. Editing, adding, adjusting my writing, yes. Generating? Maybe not quite yet.

June 2021 Update

Owl’s Fair was released just a few days ago, and early feedback indicates you guys really like Astra and Archie. I am super-stoked because I have lots of ideas for this series. I’m working on Magic’s a Hoot (Book 3) , which is coming out in late August and I just uploaded the preorder for Book 5 to Amazon, so that should be showing up any day now. Book 5’s release date is December 15, 2021, and will have a December holiday theme. Owl Star Witch is being written utilizing some AI tools, and the experience has been pretty interesting. If you’re curious about that, there’s a section on my website you can go check out here that tells you more about it.

Finding the AI Balance & Keeping Organic Connections

So, this is probably going to be one of those frou-frou writer observations. The last chapter I wrote utilizing Sudowrite heavily was Chapter 4. As I’ve mentioned before, in starting my latest book I was incorporating Sudowrite more and more and more. I think with chapter 4, I reached beyond a line I was comfortable with. I noticed as I was writing and editing, I was struggling. I didn’t emotionally feel the same connection with the characters in the storyline of this book as I had in my previous books. I write one book at a time and one series at a time because I really do inhabit, mentally, that world. Falling asleep at night, I think about the next phase in the next chapter. I sometimes dream about the different directions the book will go. In short, any quiet time I have you can pretty much bet I’m going over the book in my mind. Chapter 4 was where that connection faded pretty dramatically. I no longer felt like I was writing the book. I look back over it, and I see that the beats are mine and the things that happened are my ideas, but some of the things I incorporated based on the AI’s suggestion I just didn’t feel a connection to. I wrote chapter 5 today utilizing Sudowrite as a contributory tool, but I didn’t use wormhole to come up with directions in the scene. I hewed pretty closely to leaning entirely on “expand” (Again, expand is the tool that gives me a scene based on what I tell it to write, or from what I’ve already written. That last part of actually an “off-label” use, I guess. The directions say to give it a summary. A lot of the times I give it a hundred words of text I’ve written and let it go, and a good portion of the time it comes up with something really good.) Anyway, I felt that connection to the material re-forged. I’m not going to stop using Sudowrite, but I do think I found the hard limit to how much I can incorporated suggestions without losing the thread of what I’m trying to say in the book or losing that feeling of connection and ownership. While “wormhole” is ready-ish for prime time and “expand” is an experimental lab that could disappear at any time, I can say without a doubt that for the way I write, I find expand much more useful. That could be, though, because of the type of writer I am. I personally rarely run into plot blocks, and I generally don’t get stuck on the story itself. Where Sudowrite helps me is coming up with actual words that present things in a slightly different way than I normally write them to help make the words themselves not boring. I won’t kid you. It was a disconcerting experience feeling disconnected from my own book. It was temporary, but it made me grouchy for a couple of days …

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