Picture by Artsmart A.I
My quarry sits across from me, fidgeting nervously, scratching sweaty palms. We’re in a hotel room hastily arranged for the interview. My cell phone is placed between us, set to record, and my notebook and pen are in hand.
I try a smile. “You look nervous.”
“I’ve got a lot riding on this. I really want to make a good first impression.”
“Let’s begin. Would you like to introduce yourself?”
“My name is Sudowrite.”
I nod, encouraging a response. “Tell me about yourself.”
Okay, I’ll be honest. While it would be pretty cool to have been sitting with Data or C-3PO as they answered my questions, that’s not how this interview took place. Instead, I sat at my keyboard and entered the questions into Sudowrite, an artificial intelligence, or AI, tool designed specifically for writers. It responded in the third-person, which I’ve tweaked to match a Q&A format.
Sudowrite was created to be a “comprehensive writing assistant,” according to the program itself. The tool was originally released in a closed beta in 2020 and to the public in 2021, and it includes tools to help with description, story development, writing prompts, pacing, and more. But though the technology behind Sudowrite can be considered impressive—and the tool did at one point describe itself as such—as with any AI-based writing assistant, there are still several pros and cons to consider with incorporating it into your writing routine. And in an area that can sometimes seem to evolve faster than a human can type, there may be no better way to learn about the program’s capabilities, and its pitfalls, than from Sudowrite itself.
Note: The following quoted responses were generated by the AI program Sudowrite. They’ve been edited for length and clarity, as well as verified for accuracy.
Tell me about the pros of using Sudowrite.
One of the most obvious benefits is my speed. I can analyze text rapidly and provide feedback in real-time. This means users can focus on their core tasks with access to helpful tips when needed.
Then there’s my accuracy in predicting words and giving spelling suggestions. With traditional spell-checkers, mistakes can pop up because of incorrect words or spellings, but with me, all this is eliminated as I look at both context and grammar when making suggestions.
I was designed as an easy-to-use product. I don’t require any special technical knowledge or background in order to get started. Users can also customize my interface according to their preferences, including visual settings like dark mode and focus mode and organizational tools, meaning they can tailor me specifically for their needs without having any prior coding experience whatsoever.
That all sounds great. So what are the drawbacks?
Though my basic version is available free of charge, my premium versions can be quite costly, depending on the features included in each subscription plan. Currently, I can produce thirty thousand words for $10 a month, paid annually. Or there are the mid-range ninety-thousand-word and three-hundred-thousand-word subscriptions, priced at $20 per month and $100 per month, respectively.
As with most AI platforms, there’s also limited support. If you encounter any issues while using me, you may have difficulty getting assistance from customer service representatives, as they may be unable to provide adequate support because of the complexity of my AI technology.
It’s time for some harder questions. Is it safe to use AI?
As with any online application or service, there are potential risks with data security and privacy protection, such as unauthorized access to user accounts or data because of weak password protection or malicious hacking.
What about ethical considerations?
Using me to assist in writing a novel can be a difficult decision to make. On one hand, it can be seen as an act of creative theft, as one is essentially taking the ideas, inspiration, and language of another author outside the app. On the other hand, I can be seen as a useful tool for enhancing one’s own work and allowing one to incorporate aspects of another writer’s style.
No matter one’s opinion on the matter, it is important to remember that the writer has a responsibility to cite and attribute any words, ideas, or inspiration taken from another writer. This includes mentioning any use of AI in the acknowledgments of one’s novel.
Time for the million-dollar question. Can you actually write a novel?
No, I can’t actually write a whole novel myself, but I can help.”
The following are all commands you can use within the app:
- “Write”—Type ten words to start, and I will continue to write.
- “Describe”—I’ll craft descriptions using metaphors and the five senses.
- “Rewrite”—I’ll select a section to be rephrased, in modern style or another style such as Shakespearean (if thou preferest).
- “Brainstorm”—I’ll assist with world-building, naming characters and places, and more.
- “Canvas”—I can generate an outline for a novel using The Hero’s Journey or other structures.
- “Shrink Ray”—This requires at least a five-hundred-word input, which I’ll use to write a logline, blurb, synopsis, and/or story beats.
- “Twist”—Give me a summary of your story, and I will suggest possible twists.
I can also assist with editing and proofreading, and provide feedback on pacing and flow. Of course, I don’t just help with fiction; I can assist in writing blog posts and magazine articles too.
I can just imagine your sassy comment as I type this: “Tired of writing your own articles?” But how does someone start working with Sudowrite?
Here’s a list of actions you can take to get started.
- Create an account on the Sudowrite website at http://sudowrite.com.
- There are tutorial videos, FAQs, and a slack group you can join to help you understand how my program works.
- You can explore the various available writing prompts. There are more options for brainstorming ideas: Just tell me you want to create a blog, a press release, a to-do list, or an agenda. I can even help you write an essay.
- You can experiment with different writing styles and genres to improve your writing skills.
It sounds like it won’t be long before you can actually write a novel. Is there any way to put the genie back in the bottle?
While it is impossible to predict the future, it seems that I’m here to stay. The company behind me, Sudo AI, has shown a commitment to developing me further and improving my capabilities. Furthermore, I have received positive reviews from users, and I’ve been featured in various publications that indicate I’m a useful and reliable tool that is likely to remain popular in the future.
Back in the hotel room, I pocket my cell phone. “Thanks for the interview. It was certainly eye-opening. I might use it in a book.”
Sudowrite perks up. “You’re writing a book? Can I help with that? Plot holes? Outlining?”
“I’m good, thanks.”
“Do you need help with your blurb?”
I grin. “Actually, now you mention it …”
Sudowrite is a powerful tool for authors with an array of features to help them create compelling stories and content. It can’t do the writer’s job for them entirely, but for some of the trickier steps in the writing process, it can help users get unstuck by providing them with a streamlined and efficient way to create content.