ChatGPT / AI Editing for Novels: Read This First

Have you considered using ChatGPT or other AI tools for editing your novel? If so, be sure to consider the downsides as well — such as this sad, but true story.

A Story of AI Disappointment 

An aspiring novelist, who we’ll call “Sarah,” had spent years working on her debut novel. It was a deeply personal story, drawing from her own experiences and emotions. After countless revisions, she felt it was finally ready for the world.

Eager to perfect her manuscript, Sarah turned to an AI editing tool that promised to polish her work with the efficiency and precision of advanced technology. The tool highlighted grammatical errors and suggested stylistic changes, which Sarah accepted without hesitation, trusting in the capabilities of the AI.

As the publishing date approached, Sarah’s excitement was palpable. However, upon the novel’s release, she was met with unexpected criticism. Readers pointed out that the characters lacked depth and the emotional scenes fell flat. The nuances of human experience that Sarah had painstakingly woven into her narrative seemed to have been lost in the editing process.

Confused and disheartened, Sarah revisited her manuscript and realized that the AI tool had stripped away the idiosyncratic elements that gave her characters their unique voices. In its quest for grammatical perfection, the tool had overlooked the importance of preserving the author’s authentic voice and the subtle complexities of human emotion.

The experience was a sobering reminder of AI’s limitations. While technology can assist in many ways, it cannot fully grasp the intricacies of human storytelling. Sarah learned that a real human editor was irreplaceable, as human editors bring an understanding of narrative depth and emotional resonance that AI cannot replicate.

The Solution for Better Writing

What should we do? Well, as writers, we need to rethink how much AI reshape our writing. Instead of merely going with the trend, we need to consider what makes “good writing.”

If you think of your most beloved writers, you’ll likely remember their unique writing style. Each writer has distinct qualities. These set them apart from other writers.

In short, “good writing” is not about matching. If all writing becomes the same, then it will lack a distinctive voice. Instead, we’ll all be reading recycled material.

AI has problems, of course, and we are hearing about that in the news. When it comes to novel writing, the biggest problem is that AI does not “create” in the same way that you as an author do. AI is “artificial intelligence” compared to your “real intelligence.” That makes a huge difference in content creation.

“Artificial” content creation works with probabilities. It takes words and concepts and predicts what should likely come next. So when telling a story, for example, there is a pattern that is followed — lacking the surprise that comes from human content creation. 

So when you are working on your novel, do not overly rely on artificial tools. If you want to succeed as a novelist, be sure to work with a real human editor. 

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