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We all use tools to help us improve our skills, and in this episode, Leanne Leeds explains how she uses the generative AI tool, Sudowrite, to write better books and serve her readership more effectively.
In the intro, OpenAI launches GPT4, and how it can be used for accessibility with Be My Eyes. Other tools include ProWritingAid's Rephrase, and upcoming GrammarlyGo, plus keep up with the news on AI with Ben's Bites and/or The Algorithmic Bridge.
You can find Sudowrite through my affiliate link at www.TheCreativePenn.com/sudowrite, and I also have a tutorial on how I use Sudowrite here.
This podcast is sponsored by Written Word Media, which makes book marketing a breeze by offering quick, easy and effective ways for authors to promote their books. You can also subscribe to the Written Word Media email newsletter for book marketing tips.
Leanne Leeds is the author of 27 novels across contemporary paranormal, fantasy and midlife cozy mystery. She also uses AI tools as part of her creative process, which is what we're talking about today.
You can listen above or on your favorite podcast app or read the notes and links below. Here are the highlights and the full transcript is below.
- What is Sudowrite?
- Incorporating Sudowrite into your creative process
- Using AI tools to help improve certain aspects of your writing
- AI tools for beginners, and how to use them better
- Common objections to using AI tools
- Potential legal issues (or non-issues) around AI
- How AI will change how we market our books
You can find Leanne Leeds at LeanneLeeds.com and her articles on Sudowrite tips at https://blog.sudowrite.com/
You can find Sudowrite through my affiliate link at www.TheCreativePenn.com/sudowrite, and I also have a tutorial on how I use Sudowrite here.
Transcript of Interview with Leanne Leeds
Joanna: Leanne Leeds is the author of 27 novels across contemporary paranormal, fantasy and midlife cozy mystery. She also uses AI tools as part of her creative process, which is what we're talking about today. So welcome, Leanne.
Leanne: Hi, thank you for having me.
Joanna: I'm excited to talk to you. But first up—
Tell us a bit more about you and how you got into writing and publishing.
Leanne: So being a novel writer was something I always wanted to do. I think I stapled a story together when I was four. It was what I thought my life was going to be. When I went to college, I went to major in English with an option in writing. Unless you're going to be a teacher when you come out of college, there are very few ways to make money, so I found myself in IT.
I started a web hosting company, sold it, then that company sold to another hosting company, until I was working for this corporate behemoth largest in the world. In which case, I became a director of a department, was told to fire everybody, and then got laid off myself.
Joanna: So that's a real journey.
Leanne: Right. In 2016, I kind of had this, I'm, you know, 45, I'm middle-aged, what do I do with my life now? I don't know where to go. And indie publishing came up on my radar, and I gave it a shot and was kind of okay at it. So that's how I wound up here. It's definitely my second act in life career.
Joanna: Oh, that's great. So you found it in 2016 when you were laid off, basically.
Joanna: I think that's important because we're going to start talking about AI.
Let's get into Sudowrite.
You've been using Sudowrite since June 2021. So you had like five years of—and I was talking to someone else, like, what do we call this? Do we call this manual writing or human-only writing, but the time before AI? I don't know. How do you refer to it?
Leanne: I refer to it all as writing. I don't feel like things changed a huge amount. So it's funny, I know that people definitely see it as different and I can understand why, but for me, it just feels like one long process.
Things just kind of naturally change, and you discover, you know, I went from Grammarly, and then I used ProWritingAid, and then I used Sudowrite. So just pre and post AI, I guess.
Joanna: I think that's interesting. In fact, for those listening, Grammarly and ProWritingAid are also AI-powered, and many people use those. So just for anyone who doesn't know—
What is Sudowrite? And why did you decide to experiment with it?
Leanne: So Sudowrite is a piece of software built on GPT-3, or GPT-3.5 some of it, which is a generative language writing — I don't even know the term, honestly.
Joanna: A large language model.
Leanne: There we go. See, you're much more well-versed in the technical stuff. It just works. I put some writing in and it gives you more writing, and that's how it works for me.
But essentially, it's geared towards fiction writing and assisting fiction writers if you get stuck, if you need a description, if you need 20 descriptions to kind of get your brain going. If you need to rewrite something and you want to see different ways, it will help you do that.
Joanna: And so why did you decide to get into it? Because obviously, you were writing books— Did you think this could just make things better?
Leanne: I think because I was a corporate director and dealt with a lot of spreadsheets and a lot of data, I naturally geared towards seeing a lot of data to break free and move forward and make decisions. So I had a program that would search through ePubs. I could search for a phrase, “he looked,” and just kind of flip through all the author's books that I had to see how they said things in different ways, if I got stuck.
You kind of quickly learned and doing that, that people say a lot of the things the same way, people phrase things simply, you don't always have to get really long, but it will sometimes just help me move. This seemed like a very natural progression to that. I wouldn't have to flip through 20 things, it would give me five that were naturally different. And so I kind of petitioned them to get in on the beta when they were first starting to show it off.
Joanna: And then it's funny because I feel like I also got in at a similar time as you, but literally still the main thing I use it for is I highlight words like “underwater temple,” and I hit describe, and then I use the description stuff it pops up.
For people listening, it pops up with all the sensory details and some metaphorical things. So that's literally how I use it.
Can you explain how your creative writing process works now?
Leanne: So, it's changed. When I first got it, I kind of pushed it to see how far can I use it, how far can I go. I was very public on Twitter with the first chapter or two, maybe three, of my third book in my third series, it's basically generated by Sudowrite. There's a button called “write,” and you can get it to write for you.
I liked what it wrote, but I didn't like how I felt, and so I kind of backed up. I don't use it that way anymore. And actually, in the past two years, I've gravitated away from using it to write anything. I write, but I write differently.
When I'm writing, I will not worry about fancy descriptors, fancy expressions, I will pretty much stick to kind of, quote, “boring writing.” He looked at her, she looked at him, he blinked, she kissed him.
And then later during the editing, I will come back and expand those scenes out with Sudowrite or use description to weave different descriptors and expressions in to color the scene from, I guess, the scaffolding of the scene that I kind of put into place at first.
Joanna: So going back to the very beginning.
Do you use any other tools around ideas, like are you using ChatGPT?
I mean Sudowrite has got lots of things in, like character stuff and plot stuff. So do you use anything around the ideation?
Leanne: I don't use any of that. All of my characters are out of my head. I do use ChatGPT to give me specific suspects in the mystery. All of my books are cozy mystery, and I'll always know who I want to kill, generally, who did it, and how I'm going to weave it in with the standard cast, why they stumbled across it.
But I will use ChatGPT to generate red herrings or generate different suspects to throw into the mix to kind of confuse everything until it all gets worked out.
As far as actual characters in the book, the actual core characters, I've never used it. And I don't know why, it just never occurred to me. I never needed to, so I haven't.
Joanna: I mean, I think it's interesting. So you said there's a button called “write,” which, you know, I've Sudowrite, I know about that. And you pressed it, but you didn't like how it made you feel.
I think this is really interesting because you and I know, it's not 100% AI or 100% human. That's not what we're doing. It's not like you are now 100% AI. But where is the line? And this is the interesting question, isn't it? How far are other people going with what you've seen on Sudowrite?
Because you do a lot of blog posts now for them, don't you?
Leanne: I have. I think with AI, even in general and writing, there's a gamut of people using it a tiny bit, and using it way more than I would be comfortable with using. And I think it depends on how you feel about the technology, where your weaknesses are, and what you're trying to address with the technology.
For me, I'm a dialogue-heavy writer. And you can definitely see before I used Sudowrite, that I did not describe things as well as I could have, maybe as well as I should have.
I'm using the AI to address a weakness in my own writing, so that my readers have a better experience reading the book.
And I'm trying to address problems that I didn't and couldn't evolve fast enough to fix, I guess.
Joanna: It's interesting. You talk about weaknesses. For me, definitely, around sensory description have weaknesses around smell and sound. And so I particularly find those really, really useful. I'm really good at sense of place in terms of sight, I can see everything. I'm one of those writers who sees everything in their head.
I'm terrible at dialogue. But smell and sound, I definitely fall down on, and the metaphor stuff I find amazing too. So I think exactly what you're saying. I mean, another thing I've noticed is—
I think I'm becoming a better writer because it's almost like having a personal tutor around these things.
Leanne: Yes. It's interesting to me that when I start a book, I'm using things quite a bit, as I'm in a new location, dealing with new buildings, new characters that have come on the scene.
And I can look at each of the chapters and notice that I use Sudowrite less and less as I go towards the end of the book because I get familiar with what I have. I don't need it as much as I get further into the book, and I'm more familiar. I see what it does, and it helps me remember to do it instinctively.
Joanna: Yes, I mean, a bit like ProWritingAid, we mentioned around editing. Every time I use it, I learn something about commas, I have to keep learning about commas because I'm so bad.
I think I read one of your posts where you're actually writing within Sudowrite. Because what I do is I write in Scrivener, and then I copy and paste things into Sudowrite.
So is that what you're doing now, actually writing within the tool?
Leanne: No, I actually do not. I write within Scrivener as well, and I'm cutting and pasting. I actually have two monitors up, and so my center monitor has Scrivener and all my writing, and then the monitor to the left has basically my AI tabs, where I have ChatGPT and I have Sudowrite up and pinned in case I need it during a writing session.
Joanna: I love that, “in case I need it.” I am also the same now. I have ChatGPT open during the day, and I also have Midjourney open during the day, for images if people don't know.
Are there any other any other tools that you use?
Leanne: I use Quillbot, it kind of cleans up a sentence. They have a mode to paraphrase sentences for fluency. And if I come across a sentence that has gotten like massively convoluted, sometimes I will drop it in there and just have it clean it up and pull it back.
Joanna: That's interesting. I mean, you can do that on ChatGPT as well. You can say, “Please make this sentence make sense,” or something.
Leanne: So the challenge that I have with ChatGPT is the consistency of the output. And I think that's why I love Sudowrite so much, because they tune it for me.
And while I have some ability to customize, like, especially in rewrite, I love rewrites so much, and especially rewrite customizing, I almost don't use anything that they provide as a default.
What Quillbot does is it fixes the sentence the same way. And I definitely don't want somebody reading my book and to suddenly have a sentence pop out that doesn't sound like me. And Sudowrite makes it sound like me, just by the way it functions. ChatGPT doesn't really, like I can get a good bland sentence, but it doesn't have that kind of fictional creative writing flair, to me, to my eye. Other people may do fine with it. I personally don't like it.
Joanna: It's good for lists of things. Like I was trying to get a title, and I just couldn't get a good title. So I asked it for a list of titles using words around photography and demons and things like this. And it came up with like 50 different titles.
And that just helped me with things. So I find it's really good for lists, or it's really good for fictional research. But I agree with you, I'm also like you, I don't just copy and paste finished paragraphs into my books (at the time of recording this).
Leanne: Right. The thing with Quillbot is that it's going to clean up the sentence. I dial the creativity down all the way and just have it clean up what I've already written. So that's why I like it. Some of the AI stuff that's more open ended and more customized sometimes can get a little creative with its changing meaning or throwing things in, and I like it to be clean and to stay true to the way that I wrote it.
You mentioned how much you love Rewrite, so just explain what that function is.
Leanne: So Rewrite is an aspect of Sudowrite, and you can have it rephrase anything that you've written. And they have some defaults.
Right now they have more descriptive, show not tell, more inner conflict, more intense. I've used their show not tell, and I think it's wonderful. But I use customize a lot to change tense, if I accidentally write something and I throw a mix tense in there because I wasn't paying attention, it can smooth that out.
It can rewrite an attitude. I love taking a paragraph, or a couple of paragraphs, where two characters are debating or arguing, and there's a little indication of how they feel, but I can ask it to add expressions on their faces. And it'll add these descriptive expressions on the characters' faces that really add to the scene. So yeah, I love rewrite. Rewrite is probably one of my favorite things.
Joanna: And just to be clear, you're highlighting a passage, and then you're saying, for example, I've tried this and I've said, “rewrite to be more horror,” and then it will kind of add more sort of horror descriptions. Or, “rewrite this into first person,” for example, and then it will change the point of view. That's what you mean, isn't it?
Joanna: So that's just super useful. So I'm interested though, coming back to when you said you had two screens, my husband has two screens. And even though I worked in IT, I always find that people with two screens are technical. Now you said you're not technical, but you know, you pretty much are. So I wonder what you think about—
If people literally have no technical ability, can they still Sudowrite?
Leanne: Yes. It's definitely a new skill set. Prompting is a new skill set. This is a new thing that we're all doing. We're learning how to talk to computers and ask them nicely to do something that we already know in our head we want. And that's challenging, especially for a society that's used to click a button, do a thing.
Sudowrite is set up very, very well to put some text in there, click a button, do a thing. It has a capability of doing so much more than that. You can twist it and try new things. And because it's a neural net, what it says it can do is not the limitation of the only thing it can do.
So I think you absolutely can get started, and I think when you're comfortable, you have to start growing beyond the buttons, I guess. Especially with things like Sudowrite, where the buttons are great, and the buttons will help you, and you can instantly jump in and you can start getting help. But beyond the buttons I think is really where the brilliance starts to come in.
Joanna: I like that, beyond the buttons. And yes, I totally agree. This is a skill set. And I feel like, well, let's say we've been doing this for 18 months, and there are lots of people who've just arrived now who are now discovering these tools, and they do not know really what's going on or how to use them or how to approach them. And so there's a lot of fear and anger and a lot of issues, I think, right now in the creative community.
What are some of the objections that you've heard to using these tools? And what do you say to those objections?
Leanne: So I think the number one objection that I've heard is surrounding the plagiarism issue, both with what went into what OpenAI did, and what they search for to build out and train the model, and the words coming out. How do you know that you're not inadvertently plagiarizing?
I'm pretty comfortable with the latter, that it's a one-in-a-million chance that you would word-for-word plagiarize somebody just because of the way a predictive model works. It's really not functionally possible because it's not a database. It's predicting based on mathematical calculations what the next word will be.
So I do run all my writing through a plagiarism checker just to make sure.
Joanna: Me too. Yes, me too.
Leanne: But I've never had it pop up. And anything that has popped up as potentially plagiarized is usually stuff I've written that's a very common turn of phrase. So that I'm not worried about the stuff coming in, I understand people's concern, I understand their fear.
And to some extent, I understand their anger that this company that's now going to make millions of dollars, they have rifled through copywritten books to get an idea on how to write books. I understand that. I don't agree that it's copyright infringement.
I've read the Google Authors Guild court case, where they search through books, and then use the database to do something. OpenAI, up until I think last year, was a nonprofit research laboratory. And there is, in the US at least, and I only know about the US, I'm not sure what the situation is in the UK and other countries. But in the US, you don't have to have a copyright owner's permission to use a book for research.
Now, again, I'm not a lawyer, I could be wrong. There could be a court case and they're going to revisit it and they're going to change it. I'm not super crazy, frothing at the mouth about it. I'm perfectly willing to understand there's a difference, and something changes, and to change the way I'm doing things.
But for right now, I am very comfortable with what they did to train the database and that what I'm doing is probably going to wind up being complete legal from beginning to end because the court cases and copyright stuff has said research is fine.
Joanna: And more than that, like you said, you are not a lawyer, I'm not a lawyer, this is not legal advice at all. But I'll tell you who (probably) has the best lawyers in the world, and that's Microsoft.
And Microsoft, if people don't know, Microsoft has a massive investment in OpenAI, and they are rolling out all of OpenAI's tools into Microsoft. So if you use Teams at work, if you use Microsoft Word to write your books, if you use PowerPoint, if you use all of these tools, including Bing search engine and all these things. So Microsoft, I can only imagine the legal team from Microsoft, what they did in order to do the investment in OpenAI.
So yes, I'm with you. I feel like the legal team there has sorted it out. Now there are other cases, obviously, where they're going up against—and I'm thinking of Getty, particularly for images. But again, with that one, Getty's building their own AI out of their own copyright images. So none of these legal cases will shut down the technology, right? That's basically it.
Leanne: And they go out of their way to say they're not trying to stop the technology. The technology is here, and none of these court cases are trying to make it go away.
Joanna: Exactly. Okay. So you mentioned one of the issues people have is the plagiarism, what went in and what comes out. So we've dealt with that.
Are there any other objections that you hear from authors about this?
Leanne: I have heard it's cheating.
Joanna: Yes, cheating. You're cheating!
Leanne: That I'm cheating because I'm using something to help me get words for my books. And when I shared it with my readership on my mailing list, I did have a woman that's read me since book that wrote me back and said, well, “If you use it a little bit, just the way you said, that's fine. But if you use it any more than that, you're cheating.”
I'm not sure where this concept comes from that we authors have only one way to do it. It has to be done one way, and it has to be done in the hardest, least supportive environment.
Did we have to turn the heat up? Do we have to suffer? Do we really have to bleed on our keyboards? It just feels to me like there's this very antiquated idea of how little we can get help and what kind of help we can get.
Nobody would tell you that you can't call up your author friend and go, “I have this paragraph, I cannot figure it out. Let me read it to you.” And have your author friend go, “Well, try saying it like this.” Nobody would say that that's a bad thing, or that it's something you shouldn't do, or it's cheating.
But yet, if you're doing exactly that with a computer, somehow everybody gets really freaked out about it. And I have to admit, I don't really understand why that is because it's essentially the same action, it's just who you're asking that's slightly different.
Joanna: Yes, and I mean, obviously painting, and photography, and then digital photography, and then Photoshop. This is a continuum of visual art. And there are just different categories, aren't there? And this is what I'm wondering, given that Microsoft is including, let's say, GPT 3.5, into MS Word, probably as we record this in the next couple of months.
So will it be that just in the next couple of years that we won't even be talking about this? A bit like how we used to talk about self-publishing in a certain way, and now it's just accepted as a choice for an author to make.
Will we just be using AI tools and not even discussing these things soon?
Leanne: I would imagine there's always going to be somebody in the community that will always be discussing it.
Joanna: I hope we're not!
Leanne: I do. I think this is always going to bother a small contingent of people. But I know that when I started getting into this, the whole reason I did a section on my site of, “Hey, I'm using Sudowrite. I see absolutely nothing about it anywhere. Let me tell you what it was like for me.” Because literally, I saw nobody else talking about it. I was like, okay, either nobody's using this, or nobody's talking about it, or everybody's afraid to say something. So I'm going to say something.
Now, there are hundreds of people in these groups. Like I'm shocked at some of the names that I'm seeing in some of the groups that I'm in talking about AI positively.
ChatGPT changed the game, absolutely, in my opinion, changed the game. And it happened so fast, and I think it's going to continue.
I think we're going to be talking about it, but I didn't think we're going to be talking about it in a couple of years with, “should we use it?” I think it's going to be, “how are you using it?” Because that's what the questions are.
I'm getting many more questions with, how are you using it? And how can I use it to make some of my stuff better? As opposed to kind of the reaction I would get six months ago with, you're doing what with what?
Joanna: Yes, I mean, I almost left the internet because of the amount of stuff I was getting around talking about this. I mean, it got really bad. But I feel like, as you said, ChatGPT has changed things. Probably because it's very easy to use, and you just go there and type something in, and there's no barrier to entry, especially because it's free.
So you feel like, oh, look, and then the curiosity kicks in. And I think curiosity is what all of us who are trying to improve our processes, whether that's creative process, or business processes, that's what we want to do, isn't it?
We want to improve and get better and create better books than we did before.
Leanne: Right. My job is, as a writer, and as a commercial writer, is I have to serve my readership in the best way I know how, and I have to give them the best product that I know how to give them. If there is something that can do descriptions better than me, and it can do descriptions better than me, I feel like I owe it to my readership to use that to get them a better book than I, alone, can write without that support.
Joanna: Absolutely. Now, it's interesting. So another objection, and I think an objection that's probably growing as people realize what you can do with these tools, is the speed at which people can do things.
We're not just generating all the text, slapping a cover on, and publishing it on Kindle, but that is clearly going on.
Or for example, I mean, people have always plagiarized and stolen and pirated, and all of this stuff. So AI just kind of puts that on steroids.
So for example, someone messaged me and said, “Someone's taken this book, and they've used one of these tools to rewrite it with a different character name, change a few details, and then publish it.” Now, we've seen that happen in the community before AI, but that will now happen more with AI.
What do you think about the potential for misuse?
And do we just get on and just ignore that, or should we worry about that?
Leanne: So I came into the internet when it was a baby. I worked for one of the first ISPs in the state of Texas. I was one of the first five people to sit and give technical support about how you get online. So, I'm old, and I've seen the internet grow. And at every stage of the internet, as things get open, and as things get more accessible, there's always a contingent that's going to exploit it for fast money.
It's happened with everything. I don't want to run through like porn and this and that and the other, but it just always happens.
It's happened with KDP since the beginning. There was, you know, first the indies are going to take over everything. Then there was, okay the indies are alright, but the book stuffers are horrible, and they're taking all the money there and they're generating. It's always going to happen.
Yes, this has made it easier. It's another avenue for the scammers to exploit. It makes our job a little bit harder. It makes selling books a little bit harder. From my perspective, that's life, you can't stop progress or not progress, just because somebody's going to exploit something. From my perspective, it's really up to Amazon, with their millions of dollars, to get better at checking these things and trying to keep them out.
Joanna: Yes, and as we've seen with all of these things, like this scam pops up, and then the hammer comes down, and that goes away, and probably some other innocent people are caught up in that. And then something else comes along and they get rid of that. It's a constant thing. It's the same with hacking in general, isn't it. There's always someone trying to exploit a problem and then someone who's trying to fix it.
We want to be part of the good side, right? We're part of those wanting to use these things in responsible ways to enhance our own creative process, not infringe on anyone else. I mean, nobody listening to this is going to be doing that, but what I feel is that people are worried.
So at the moment, for example, if I publish on Kindle, I'm up against something like 26 million books, which as you said, it's a challenge right now. But what if it's 26 billion in a couple of years because of AI generation? So what are you thinking in terms of being a writer who makes money with your books? You said you are a commercial writer, so you want to make money. What are you thinking around marketing?
Are you going to change your marketing? What are you going to do to stand out, potentially?
Leanne: It's a hard question because I'm the type of commercial writer that's just happy to have a career. I'm not chasing millions in the bank, I'm not hoping Hollywood comes calling and makes a Netflix special out of my books. I just want to entertain some people, and I want to be able to go to Disney World every few years, and then I'm good.
So for me, marketing is a requirement. I have to put money into marketing my books. I have to deliver when I say I'm going to deliver. I have to listen to my readership to make sure that I'm delivering to them what they want to see. They have to be quality, they have to be edited. It's the same thing I've always done, and I don't think I'm going to do anything all that much different just because there might be a flood of rewritten books coming in.
Joanna: Yes. One of my things I was thinking is that like, we're talking, audio only, these are our voices. Now, of course, you can voice synth, you can do an AI voice synth, but this is at least one more thing that makes us us.
So do you think using either pictures, or if people aren't happy with pictures, using voice or video to kind of emphasize their humanity? Or even just at the back of the book, like an author's note about your life and that you're a human. And again, all of this can be faked—
But I almost feel like it's another layer of doubling down on being human.
Leanne: Yeah, I'm terrible at the marketing aspect, because they just don't like the, “buy my book, buy my book, buy my book,” kind of social media presence.
So on my Facebook, I share silly, tangentially connected memes. On Instagram, I just started taking passages from my books and just dropping them into Midjourney and seeing what Midjourney thinks, which often is hilarious. On Twitter, I'm much more kind of, quote, “politically involved” in the discussion on AI and what's happening and paying attention.
Then my mailing list goes out every Thursday, and so my folks know about restaurants that I've gone to, or you know, what inspired this scene in this book. And next week, we're starting to release Midjourney-interpreted character images. So I think people can differentiate themselves by being real.
The one thing that ChatGPT does phenomenally is marketing copy.
So your marketing copy is going to have to be on point to compete with everybody else that's getting their marketing copy from ChatGPT. It's incredible at it.
Joanna: That's so right. And in fact, I said to someone the other day, they were like, “I would never use AI for my writing.” I'm like, well, don't then but use it for your sales description and your ad copy. Like, do you really want to write that? And then people were like, “Well, I might use it for that, but I'd never use it for fiction.” There's like a sliding scale.
Leanne: I was talking to a friend that just absolutely swore that she would never use AI for anything. And then ChatGPT came out, and then she found out that people were using it to make free blurbs. And it seems to be like blurbs are like the universal thing.
We're all writers, and we can write a 75,000-word novel, but try and come up with 200 elevator pitch points in a blurb, and all of us blank. Just everybody I know hates it. She found out she could get it free, could hit a button, and it was so much better than what she came up with. She was like done, she was sold.
Joanna: I think it's like the entry drug, basically. It's ChatGPT for marketing copy.
We're almost out of time. So I wondered like, it feels like the beginning of something. So you said you were around at the beginning of the internet. I feel like this is like 2007, a bit like the beginning of the iPhone when we were like, why would I need that? Or a few people were starting to use it, but we didn't really have a full mobile economy for even like a decade maybe. So this feels like the beginning years of this really taking off. So what are you excited about coming?
What's on your wish list for what comes next in AI?
Leanne: I don't even know that I have one. I actually think this is probably going to, in retrospect, be as kind of earth-shattering as the printing press invention. I really do believe that as it matures, and it gets better, and it gets tuned, we incorporate it more and more into our lives, we're going to be shocked that we ever did so many things without artificial intelligence.
It's a very, very exciting time to be alive, in general, but definitely to be a writer.
You can do so many things. I wish that people wouldn't have such a knee-jerk reaction to it because I really do believe that AI is going to help, especially with voices that haven't been heard. Like disabled folks that maybe can't sit and grind out a chapter, it's going to be easier for them to write and get their point across.
I know my child has slight brain damage from an open heart surgery, and she's using Sudowrite to try and write a story which is something she's wanted to do for years and just couldn't sit to do. I think we're going to be amazed at where it takes us. I do think there's some ethical things still to be discussed, but I think in the end, in general, people are good, and we'll work it out, and it's going to be amazing.
Joanna: Brilliant. I feel the same way.
Where can people find you and your books and everything you do online?
Leanne: So I am an Amazon-exclusive writer, like a lot of other paranormal cozy writers. So you can find my books on Amazon, and you can find everything about me at LeanneLeeds.com.
Joanna: Brilliant. Thanks so much for your time, Leanne. That was great.
Leanne: Thank you for having me.
You can find Sudowrite through my affiliate link at www.TheCreativePenn.com/sudowrite, and I also have a tutorial on how I use Sudowrite here.
Bill Cokas says
Thank you for dedicating an episode to this, Joanna, and thank you, Leanne for your insight. I’ve been tentatively playing around in Sudowrite for a few weeks now, watched a bunch of videos, listened to a bunch of podcast episodes and still one thing bugs me. It seems–for the moment, at least–that there is no “all-in-one” single AI writing platform. Leanne spoke of using three simultaneously: Sudowrite, ChatGPT and Quillbot, and you mentioned using ChatGPT and Sudowrite (and I’m not even counting Grammarly or ProWritingAid at this point). I’ve never read why more than one is bette, or why. What can Sudowrite NOT do that necessitates using it in conjunction with another AI? And furthermore, I’ve yet to read how that would work. What’s the process?
Joanna Penn says
I was an IT consultant for 13 years before becoming an author, and one principle remains with me — Use best of breed software for the task you want to achieve.
Companies build software for a specific reason and if they stray beyond that, they often lose focus.
Sudowrite is built for fiction first drafting, but ProWritingAid is built for editing. Scrivener is built to organize the writing process.
I don’t think there will ever be one tool that fits everything 🙂
Bill Cokas says
Thanks, Joanna, I agree. I probably should have been clearer. Why would one use ChatGPT in conjunction with Sudowrite? I thought Sudowrite was built on ChatGPT to begin with. Maybe a best of breed AI writing assistant hasn’t emerged yet.
S. J. Pajonas says
ChatGPT is a chat bot so you can have a conversation with it, using it to brainstorm or edit or continually refine your queries. It can handle lots of queries besides those about writing. Sudowrite is built by writers for writers. It has a layer between you and GPT that helps craft output especially for writing (mostly fiction). So the tools it provides are mostly for creating prose.
Bill Cokas says
Thanks, S.J. When you say ChatGPT “can handle lots of queries,” that’s the part that mystifies me. As a writer, what would you use ChatGPT for that Sudowrite wouldn’t be equipped to handle? Some of this is prompted by the fact that I frequently run into “temporarily unavailable” error messages with ChatGPT which can last for hours or longer, but since I pay for Sudowrite, it’s always ready and waiting:)
Joanna Penn says
Currently, Sudowrite does not have GPT4 so I am finding that to be pretty great 🙂
But the different tools are for different things, and more emerging all the time …
S. J. Pajonas says
This was a great interview! I’m also a big fan of Rewrite like Leanne. Lol. I have been using Rewrite > Shorter a lot on this last draft. I was wayyyyy too wordy! I love Sudowrite for all of these tools that help me write more succinctly.