3 AI Tools for Writers

3 AI Tools for Writers

AI is a hot-button issue. If you have been close to the development of tech, or working within the tech industry, then you may be sick of it. Like I am. There are many enthusiasts of AI and many critics of AI. And, rightly so, there is a large conversation around the use of AI within the industry of art, creation, and content.

Ethics of AI

This article could be 10x longer if it was to focus on the question of rights, ethics, and moral use of AI. Before we discuss the use of tools in your writing, it is worth discussing (at a surface-level) these details of AI. The different parts of the AI are all dependent on each other.

The Data

AI is trained on data largely scraped from the internet. AIs that create text output, like ChatGPT, are trained on text scraped from websites, books, articles, and more. Simply because the text was readily available (publicly facing data), does not mean that it was free of licensing or copyright.

AI trained on images face the same issues. Images scraped off of the internet may be taken from artist websites, portfolios, or digital storefronts. The web scraping that happens to collect this data for AI use is an automated process that simply rips the data from the internet and moves on.

When your data source contains literally billions of data points, there is no way to process that data to remove licensed material. Yet, that licensed material was taken without compensation and is now used in the creation of AI generated art.

More importantly, we should also question the quality of the data. For text AI, like ChatGPT, which is trained on that web-scraped data, a question arises about institutional biases within the data that will then become institutional biases output by the AI. If the data scraped to inform the AI contains institutional biases against certain ethnic groups or certain gendered (or ungendered) peoples, then how can we be sure that this “future of technology” doesn’t apply those same biases to a new future of information?

The Brains

Once the data is consolidated, the AI model begins training. The model, or the brains, of the AI process the data with massive computing power to create an output. The inner workings of an AI are sometimes referred to as a “black box” because so much computation is required to handle this data and provide an output that there is very little that a human can do to break down the process to understand it or tweak it.


Since there are billions of points of data presented to the brains of the AI, there are mind-boggling numbers of decisions being made by the model to generate an output. For all intents and purposes, this means that trained AI models are difficult to moderate or tweak. Generative AI like ChatGPT rely on taking the output of the AI, then processing that output again to determine if the content generated was harmful or hateful. If so, then ChatGPT has been programmed to regenerate that content or refuse to show it to the user. However, that content was still an output of this large AI model and that should be concerning.

An Informed Use of AI

All of that being said, AI can still be a useful tool if you use it as a tool. What I mean by that is:

AI should be used not as a source of truth, but as a part of the decision-making process

AI is not at a state where you should believe everything that it outputs as truth. We’ve seen this with lawyers using ChatGPT to create court documents (the AI referenced court cases that never existed) and an increasing number of school students trusting AI to write their book reports.

Use AI, but also use your brain! Take the information that it gives you and think about it. That’s how you use AI in an informed way.

Using AI in Writing

I use AI in my writing process. Let me start with this: I do not use AI to write, but to inspire. Here are the following tools that I use and how I use them to help my brainstorming process:

1. Midjourney

Midjourney is my image generation AI of choice. It is a Discord-based tool that provides an easy user experience and fantastic AI image results.

When writing, I will often use Midjourney to help me cast my characters. Each major character that I create in my writing tool of choice, Scrivener, gets a photo. Maybe I use a photo of a celebrity that I think closely resembles my character (like casting a movie) or maybe I scroll through modeling websites to find someone who matches my vision. More times than not, because I am writing fantasy, I will turn to Midjourney to create the fantastical creature featured in my book.

Here’s an example:

The Basilisk King

This is the Basilisk King, an antagonist from my current Urban Fantasy novel. This is a character that I wanted in my story as the “General to the Bad Guy.” In my novel, he is a mix between a true Basilisk (reptilian, dinosaur vibes) and a humanoid character. Using Midjourney, I was able to create the exact character that I wanted in my novel.

Because this image generation is done through a text prompt, I can even use the exact character description that I wrote to tell Midjourney what to create. Sometimes this image generation can be so good that it alters the original description of the character that I had.

Will this image be in my book? NO. (That’s that ethical discussion of image-generative AI that we had before). But, I have no issues with involving this image generation in my brainstorming and writing process. It only serves to inspire me and help me visualize that novel as I write.

2. ChatGPT

I do not pay for ChatGPT. But, I do find myself using it for programming projects when I need some help. It almost works as a buddy sitting beside my computer who knows way more about my code than I do.

For creative writing, I don’t think that ChatGPT is at that same level. It can regurgitate code documentation or information from the internet (that’s in its database), but it is not able to meet the creative writing standards of people yet.

But, it can be good for a few very specific things.

ChatGPT is a useful tool for creating character and location names

If I was to look for inspiration for naming my characters, I might go to (Fantasy Name Generators)[https://www.fantasynamegenerators.com/], one of the all-time great writing tools. Or maybe I would look through lists of baby names from a country or time period that aligns with the character I want to create. In cases like this, I use some tool to help ignite the spark of inspiration and then I decide the name for the character myself.

ChatGPT is FANTASTIC at this. It is trained on all the same data that I would look through in my own search, but it is so much faster. Many times, I am looking for a name inspired by a region, time period, or trait of my character. When using ChatGPT for this type of name generation, I can even prompt the tool to give me an explanation for why it suggested that name, which is not something I could get from other web tools.

I highly recommend that you give ChatGPT a try in this sort of context. It is simply a matter of efficiency.

3. ProWritingAid

Years ago, I invested in ProWritingAid as a tool for editing. I specifically chose this tool over something like Grammarly because it ties in natively with Scrivener. Since I have purchased this lifelong subscription, ProWritingAid has added AI capabilities.

After writing, I can use ProWritingAid to look at my writing and identify grammar/syntax issues, spelling mistakes, and difficult-to-read sentences. It’s like spellchecker on steroids. The recently added AI capabilities also allow me to highlight a sentence and select an AI-generated rewrite if the sentence is particularly troublesome.

I have had mixed results with the AI generation, but you can always give the AI result a human touch to make it sound more like you.

AI is not good at everything, but it’s already shown to be good at editing


In all of these cases, AI is being used as a tool. After the AI does it’s generation, it is still up to the human to choose what to do. I use AI as part of the inspiration/brainstorming process. It is never replacing me; it is assisting me. I don’t think I would ever want an AI to do my writing for me, but I would gladly use it to edit my work for spelling and grammar issues. We’ve been doing this sort of thing for over a decade in Microsoft Word.

What do you think? Is AI inevitable or should it be stopped before it gets to be too powerful? Let me know what you think!