Collaborative Creative Writing with OpenAI’s ChatGPT

tl;dr: You can use OpenAI’s ChatGPT to bounce ideas around and write story outlines

Since I got into the field of AI and started working at OpenAI, it’s been interesting to see how things have accelerated. As an author, I’m frequently asked if AI will replace writers altogether. My personal take is that while AI may begin to do more creative writing and produce content on par with humans, it can never replace the fact that we often like what we like, not because of some objective measure, but because of the story of the person who wrote it. A lot of the things we like are because the person who created them is interesting. I like reading Stephen King books because they’re quite good and I find Stephen King fascinating. While an AI might be able to produce a song on the same level as Billie Eillish, it won’t have the same compelling personal journey as she does.

The future looks like it’s going to be a mixture of human and AI content. Some of it will be created by AI and where we care only about its objective value, some by humans where their personal narrative adds meaning and then content that’s collaboratively produced by creative humans and clever AI – which will mix together the best of both worlds.

An interesting thing happened when AI started beating chess masters – the average quality of chess played by humans began to improve. Modern chess players were able to learn from humans and AI, as well as test themselves against formidable AI opponents. This is an interesting example of how the presence of AI improved the capabilities of humans. It stands to reason this may carry over to other areas.

To further explore AI/Human collaboration, OpenAI just released ChatGPT, a new model and chat interface to study how humans and AI can interact. You can check it out here:

The chat interface makes it very easy to have a conversation with the model and work towards a goal like learning something new or playing a game. I’ve found that it can be very useful for brainstorming. While it’s eager to give you story ideas on request, you ask the system to collaborate, letting you make important choices if you choose. You can then ask the model to turn this into an outline, chapter descriptions and even sections of writing.

You can start with a prompt like this (change it to whatever genre you want):

Let's write a science fiction story together. Ask me for input about characters, plot etc.

As you go back and forth with the model it will keep track of the suggestions in the chat history, so when you ask it to turn the conversation into an outline or a specific number of chapters, ChatGPT will merge them all together.

You can tell ChatGPT to try a different approach:

I'd like to make it more about what she finds on the other side of the door. I think that's interesting. Let's say she finds a parallel Earth where the Roman civilization discovered gun powder and kept going.

If ChatGPT doesn’t come up with the right number of chapters, you can use a prompt like this to give it more creative license:

I need a 30 chapter version. Add characters and subplots.

Give this a try and see if it helps you brainstorm and think about story development on a deeper level.