Sudowrite: How much WRITE costs in words.

(Please note these tips and tricks assume you are familiar with/a user of Sudowrite.)

Stepping away from the creative for a little, one of the most common things I see are questions about words, the cost of words, how fast they run out, and so on. This is a fair question since it’s not super straightforward. Currently, the prices for Sudowrite are as follows:

Sudowrite Pricing

I have the Max account. I’m writing this on 11/25/2022, and my plan flipped over on 11/16/2022. At this moment, I have 269,562 words left to use in my plan month. That means I’ve used 30,438 words in 10 days. And to be fair, that’s probably a little low since yesterday was Thanksgiving.

Now, GPT3 (the thing that underpins Sudowrite) charges by tokens, not words, and tokens are pieces of words. I could explain what these things are but, to tell you the truth, I don’t really know and I don’t really care. I’m a writer—I’m not a super technical person, and I’m betting a lot of the people wandering into Sudowrite won’t be, either. (If you are and you care, you can check out this KB article from OpenAPI.) All I want to know is what this is going to cost me.

And I wish I could tell you. But it’s not as straightforward as you’d think.

Instead of trying to explain this to you, I just want to run through some examples of WRITE so we can see how many words I get eaten up, and we can compare that to the number of words we actually see.

Following me?


I am cutting and pasting 2862 words in my document. I’m not using any key details, I’m asking for 3 cards with 150 words each. My creativity is set to 2 (1 Least –> 5 Most). I run Autocomplete plus magic.

Sudowrite output 356 actual words (as counted by Scrivener) onto the three cards. The words I have left in my account are 269,186, which meant I was “billed” 376 words to run that action and get those 3 cards of goodies. (The 356 actual words it gave me and 20 other words for…um, stuff.)

If I hit it again changing nothing, I get 3 cards with 398 words on it, and I’m left with 268,776 words in my account—the second button click burned 410 words. (This time it charged me for the 398 actual words it generated for me and 12 other words for…um, stuff.)

Note: Keep in mind the “stuff” could just be differences in how it counts words and how Scrivener counts words.

Words used: 774
(2.58% of Hobby/Student, .86% of Pro, .3% of Max)


With the same 2862 words in my document, I switch to Guided. I’m not using any key details, I’m asking for 6 cards with 250 words each. My creativity is set to 2 (1 Least –> 5 Most). I allow Sudo to make 3 suggestions, and I choose one.

According to Scrivener (again) Sudowrite generated 1187 words. We started this with 268,776 words in my account, and now I’m down to 267,534 words. I was “charged” 1,242 account words for 1187 generated words.

Now, just to double-check, I cut and paste the 2862 words into a new document, let Sudowrite suggest, and ran it again. I get 1,139 generated words, and I’m “charged” 1,172 words for that run.

TL;DR Advice

So, before I get to the budgeting advice, I want to remind folks that Sudowrite is tuned for fiction and narrative. You’re paying for both the GPT3 words and the expertise the developers have to tune Sudowrite into something that can assist creative writers.

Yes, that costs money. But there are ways you can manage your costs.

  • Understand that you’ll be “charged” roughly what you asked for, plus or minus 10% of the word count in either direction. Because it’s AI, you can’t really control what it gives you—your 250-word 3-card request may give you 50 words or 250 words on one or all cards. This is still a prompt-driven piece of technology that requires you to nail the prompt/request to avoid having to re-run it.
  • Check the account allotment word count frequently and audit words spent on what you run to find your sunny spot if you’re on a strict budget.
  • Edit the output in WRITE to help control your budget and slow your roll. As you can see from the above, 3 cards at 150 words each adds up much less quickly than 6 cards at 250 words each. Make sure you really need all the words you’re asking for.
  • If you have to keep hitting the button, you’re doing this wrong. Flat out. Stop, back up, and read more on working with Sudowrite. Ask for help in the Slack channel.