In June 2021, I began working with Sudowrite, an AI writing assistant for fiction writers. And by “working with,” I mean I started using the software. In July of 2022, I was featured fairly prominently in How independent writers are turning to AI – The Verge, but because they primarily used my real name (Jennifer Lepp) instead of my pen name (Leanne Leeds,) no one paid me much notice. AI use in fiction was getting far less attention than art-generating AI.
And then ChatGPT blew that all to hell. (I did a follow-up interview on that, too though my pen name was a bit more prominently pointed out thanks to my complaint about my real name use.
I didn’t think that one through.)
At this point, I’m seeing some things mentioned about me that are pretty inaccurate I felt the need to put this up. So, here we go.
Can we interview you/use you for background/include your opinion in this article/podcast/television show/skywriting art installation?
Unfortunately, I am not interested in doing additional interviews on general #AI use at this time. Most of the information folks seem to be seeking can be found in the Verge articles.
I will continue to advocate within the writing community, and will be happy to discuss #AI use in fiction writing in venues that discuss writing/authorship in general (vs. venues that discuss #AI or technology in general—unless it’s a panel at SXSW Tech and you’re buying me a pass. Then I’ll talk about whatever you want. Kidding. Mostly.)
I read somewhere that you use AI/ChatGPT to generate all your books now.
Yep, I read that, too.
When this all started, I didn’t honestly know how much of the AI-generated text I actually used because I just went with the flow and didn’t have too big a concern with keeping track. As this became a hotter and hotter topic (and I’ve seen statements from folks claiming I “generate” my books,) I got curious, so I started separating my Sudowrite documents into chapters and used PostSEO text compare to compare my finished chapter and the text in Sudowrite’s generated cards.
The following is a screenshot of the chapter I wrote yesterday, and this seems to be pretty average. I’ve had results as low as 8%, and as high as 11%. On average, 90% are the words from my brain, and 10% are the words from the #AI.
I do not use Sudowrite for plot suggestions as some do—I know where my chapters and scenes are going, I just want to say it better.
What part of your books does ChatGPT write?
None. Almost all words in my books (the 10% above) are from Sudowrite.
2/1/23 update: I’ve started to use ChatGPT minimally in editing.
What do you use ChatGPT for?
Marketing text, research only.
2/1/23 update: I’ve started to use ChatGPT for editing/rewriting a bit.
Do you write faster with AI? I read that you use AI to write fast.
I read that, too. Unfortunately, no. It still takes me seven weeks to write a book. I did not get any speed gain out of AI use because I still pretty much write the book. I just incorporate different aids to keep me moving or vary phrasings/ways to say things, Sudowrite being the predominant one.
3/11/23 update: As of March 2023, I’ve moved from producing 3 chapters per week to 5-6 chapters per week, so roughly double the number of chapters I would produce in a week. It took me almost two years to move into this phase and I primarily credit ChatGPT and a particularly awesome editing prompt I have in allowing me to drastically cut my self-editing time. Since it’s early in the hyped up productivity phase, I’m not sure whether it will be sustainable.
Do you work for Sudowrite? Do you teach people to use AI?
I do not work for Sudowrite. They did pay me to write a few blog posts sharing some of my tips and tricks while they looked for and hired a Community Leader, but I have never specifically taught any class or worked as an instructor for pay with regard to AI. My primary occupation is fiction writing, and that’s what I do for a living.
I did sign up to be an affiliate for them, though, because apparently, this AI section is super popular, and I do recommend them.
You’re a plagiarist! (Or you’re not a real writer, you’re cheating, and so on and so on)
I personally don’t feel that OpenAI (or Midjourney and so on) are doing anything legally wrong, and I’m comfortable using artificial intelligence in my creative endeavors. I’m comfortable with the fact that I’m still a writer—or, at least, I’m 90% a writer and 10% #ai augmented. I realize other people feel differently, and I respect that viewpoint and people’s choice not to use it or patronize people that do use it. Don’t buy my books if you hate all these things so much it makes you grind your teeth.
I am also, though, aware that this is a new frontier and a court may decide to make some new law/update the law/re-explain the law in a way that it applies here, so I’ll be watching just like everyone else, and will make changes in my own use if/when needed.