AI for Today’s Writer

Today’s post is by Nina Schuyler.

With ChatGPT creating stories and essays in seconds, many writers, including me, are undergoing a profound existential crisis, wondering if we’re in the process of being vanished. At the PEN America Literary Awards, David Sedaris said, “I don’t think anybody’s job is safe.”

We’re at an inflection point, and there is a sense that everything is different now. ChatGPT reached 100 million active users two months after launch and has more than 13 million daily visitors as of 2023. With the genie out and running madly, hair on fire, the question is not how to stuff it back in the bottle but what do you want from AI?

Claiming some dominion over this powerful technology might alleviate anxiety. A kaleidoscope of options—rapidly growing—is available: translating, editing, researching, copyediting, and the biggie, creating content.

Each AI possibility brings with it an ethical decision: to use or not to use. At what point does the finished product no longer feel like your own? Every writer will have to grapple with this, and it’s likely dependent on what you’re writing: fiction, blog posts, newsletters, articles, and on and on. Continue Reading…

Why Fear Is a Terrible Friend … and How to Crush It

Today’s guest post is by Nicki Howell.

“I’m scared.”

That’s what my four-year-old said, squeezing my hand tight as we cranked our heads upward at the towering waterslide. People screamed. Water slushed over the side. He wasn’t wrong … it was a little terrifying.

Fear was speaking to him.

“Don’t do it—it’s too dangerous,” it whispered.

Of course, that’s fear’s job. It wants to keep you safely tucked inside your comfort zone, far away from any risks or (gasp!) danger.

The problem is that fear is overambitious in its quest to keep you safe. And, at times, a little toxic too. Continue Reading…

A Pig with a Thematic Purpose

Here’s another post on theme from 10 years ago. Theme is so important to your story, so I hope you learn ways to incorporate theme into your pages!

As we’re exploring theme here, I want to add a little aside about symbols. Tying symbols in with a theme is very powerful, and the movie Babe does a great job with the gate as a symbol throughout the movie. I imagine few people ever really notice the bit about the gate other than the way it adds a bit of plot and humor, but it serves as another theme by way of symbolism.

Symbols as Theme

Symbols are generally a visual object, but they can also be a thought, idea, phrase, or gesture. These can also be considered as motifs (Check out my blog posts on motifs and how to use them to enrich your story). But the great thing about symbols is they pack a lot of meaning in a simple way. When you use a symbol as a thematic element, you want it to reappear numerous times throughout your novel. Continue Reading…

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