Writing a Book with ChatGPT

Artificial Intelligence has become one of the biggest buzzwords of 2023, and much has been made of its ability to generate text, images, videos, and other content. But one of the most exciting applications of AI is its ability to help writers create compelling stories and narratives – or is it?

What is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT, a language generation model from OpenAI, is particularly well-suited for the task of generating text-based content. ChatGPT has been trained on millions of books, articles, conversations and other text sources to learn how humans communicate in natural language. By utilizing powerful neural networks, it can generate text that is nearly indistinguishable from human-written content.

How Does ChatGPT Work?

ChatGPT works by taking an input of words or phrases and then generating a response based on its understanding of the context of the conversation. It does this by using a combination of natural language processing (NLP) algorithms and deep learning to generate text that is tailored to each unique situation. Once it has generated the response, it can then be further edited by a human editor to make sure that it accurately conveys the desired message.

Using ChatGPT for Writing Books

ChatGPT has been used successfully in several different applications, from creating voice-driven virtual assistants to generating entire novels. Writing a book is no easy task, especially when it comes to creating compelling stories and characters that captivate readers. ChatGPT can be used to help with this process by generating text based on the writer’s input, allowing them to get their ideas down on paper faster and more efficiently.

However, there are a few things that ChatGPT struggles with. The first is actually making the text compelling – while ChatGPT can create sentences and paragraphs very well, they often aren’t fun or interesting to read.

Facts can be presented, one after the other, but the end result is often more like a technical manual than a book you’d want to read (unless you love reading techinical manuals). And this is also where the second issue arises – the “facts” that ChatGPT incorporates are often made up, technically know as “hallucinations.”

That said, ChatGPT can certainly help with first drafts. You can ask for it to write an intro to a story about (for example) three little pigs. Here’s an example of the output:

In a picturesque countryside nestled beneath the wide expanse of a cerulean sky, three brothers embarked on a journey that would challenge their wits, craftsmanship, and determination. These were not your ordinary siblings; they were three little pigs, each with a unique perspective on life and a shared dream of building a home of their own. Their names were Peter, Paul, and Percy, and their story begins in a land where adventure awaited them at every turn. Little did they know that the trials they would face would shape their destinies and teach them the true meaning of resilience and ingenuity. So, sit back and prepare to embark on a timeless tale of bravery, camaraderie, and the pursuit of safety in a world filled with cunning adversaries. This is the enchanting story of the Three Little Pigs.

See? Lots of words, and it all makes sense, but it comes across (as the kids say) a little bit extra. You can pick out parts that you could use, but this would need heavy editing.

Prompt Engineering

The problem that most people face here is that they expect AI to be all-knowing, but it isn’t. It’s dumb. It follows algorithms. It needs specific instructions.

If you imagine ChatGPT as a new member of your office, and that it’s had no training on what you do, you won’t go far wrong.

Prompt engineering is the process of creating and revising a prompt for ChatGPT to provide you with the type of output that is most useful and works for your particular needs.

It involves setting up specific input parameters for the AI so that it knows what kind of information you’re looking for, and putting in rules that ensure the AI follows a certain flow or format.

This allows ChatGPT to produce more accurate results faster,while giving you the flexibility to tailor it to your exact needs.

For example, if you’re writing a book about the three little pigs, you could set up specific prompts that tell ChatGPT what kind of content it should write about each of them as well as their environment and adventures. You could also give instructions on how the text should be formatted, so that the AI knows to include description as well as dialogue.

By engineering specific prompts, ChatGPT can help you create richer content that doesn’t require heavy editing, saving you time and effort while still allowing your personal creativity to shine through.

The key is to be more specific and polite – as the model was trained on conversations, it stands to reason that polite requests will get better responses. Here’s the output for a different prompt.

Prompt: Please write an intro to a story for children entitled, “The Three Little Pigs.” Only use words and phrases that could be understood by an 8-year-old, and set the scene quickly.

Output: Once upon a time, in a land not too far away, there were three little piggy brothers. They were just like any other pigs you’d see on a farm, with curly tails and pink noses that wiggled when they sniffed around. These three piggy pals were named Peter, Paul, and Percy. They all lived together in a cozy little piggy house made of straw. But, you see, their big adventure was about to begin, and it all started when they decided to build their own houses. Let’s jump right into their story!

That’s not perfect, but it’s a lot better. With more work on the prompt, you could get a passable intro to the story.

Factual Books with ChatGPT

Novels may not be ChatGPT’s forte, and facts aren’t always its closest friend, but ChatGPT can help with writing fact-based books more effectively than writing a novel.

Suppose you wanted to write a book about starting to run for fitness. The following prompts could give you a head start.

Prompt: Please give me five titles for a book about starting to run for fitness.

Output: “Running into Fitness: A Beginner’s Guide”

“From Couch to 5K: Your Path to Running Success”

“Step by Step to Running Health: A Novice’s Journey”

“The Beginner’s Run: Building a Healthy Habit”

“Running for Health: A Beginner’s Roadmap”

Prompt: Now give me ideas for titles of the chapters within the book, please. I’d like 10 chapters in total.

Output: Certainly! Here are 10 chapter title ideas for your book about starting to run for fitness:

Chapter 1: “The First Step: Embracing the Runner’s Mindset”

Chapter 2: “Gear Up: Finding the Right Running Shoes and Apparel”

Chapter 3: “Creating Your Running Plan: Setting Goals and Milestones”

Chapter 4: “Warming Up and Cooling Down: The Importance of Proper Stretching”

Chapter 5: “Breathing Easy: Techniques for Effective Running Respiration”

Chapter 6: “Fueling Your Run: Nutrition Tips for Peak Performance”

Chapter 7: “Dealing with Challenges: Overcoming Common Running Hurdles”

Chapter 8: “Safety First: Tips for Running in Various Environments”

Chapter 9: “Tracking Progress: Using Technology and Data to Improve”

Chapter 10: “Beyond the Finish Line: Setting New Goals and Staying Motivated”

These chapter titles will help guide readers through their journey to fitness through running, offering valuable insights and practical advice at each stage.

Prompt: And now please write the blurb for the back cover of the book.

Output: Get ready to lace up your running shoes and embark on a transformative fitness journey!

Are you looking to boost your health, improve your stamina, and discover the joy of running? “Running into Fitness: A Beginner’s Guide” is here to help you take those first exciting steps towards a healthier, happier you.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to start running safely and effectively. From selecting the perfect running gear to creating a customized training plan, this book covers it all. Discover the secrets of proper warm-ups, cool-downs, and breathing techniques, ensuring that each run is a step closer to your fitness goals.

We’ll address the most common challenges new runners face and provide practical tips for overcoming them. Safety is a top priority, so we’ll guide you on running in various environments and keeping yourself injury-free.

Fueling your body for optimal performance is also crucial, and our nutrition section will provide you with the knowledge you need to power your runs and aid in recovery.

With technology and data at your fingertips, you’ll learn how to track your progress and stay motivated as you watch your fitness levels soar.

“Running into Fitness” isn’t just about running; it’s about embracing a lifestyle of wellness, setting new goals, and finding endless joy in the journey. Whether you’re a complete novice or looking to refresh your running routine, this book is your ultimate companion on the path to a fitter, happier you.

Join us as we explore the world of running, one step at a time, and unlock the incredible benefits that come with it. Your adventure begins now!

How good is that?! Even if you don’t use it word-for-word, you’ve now got the structure of your book planned – you just need to fill in the blanks.

Does it work for our pig story? Let’s find out.

Prompt: Please give me 10 chapter titles for a children’s story entitled “The Three Little Pigs”

Output: Certainly! Here are 10 chapter titles for a children’s story titled “The Three Little Pigs”:

  1. Chapter 1: Once Upon a Time in Piggyville
  2. Chapter 2: Building With Straw: Peter’s House
  3. Chapter 3: Building With Sticks: Paul’s House
  4. Chapter 4: Building With Bricks: Percy’s House
  5. Chapter 5: The Big Bad Wolf’s Sneaky Visit
  6. Chapter 6: Huffing and Puffing: Trouble for Peter
  7. Chapter 7: Sticks and Stones: The Wolf vs. Paul
  8. Chapter 8: A Brick Wall and a Brave Pig: Percy’s Stand
  9. Chapter 9: The Wolf’s Surprise: A Change of Plans
  10. Chapter 10: A Happy Ending in Piggyville

So even that improves on our original outputs.

Can You Use ChatGPT to Write a Book?

We’re not yet at the stage where ChatGPT can write a whole book by itself, especially one that you’d want to read. If you spend some time crafting your prompts and refining the output, however, it can be a great tool for generating chapter and section titles, as well as giving you some ideas and inspiration to work with. In summary: writing a book is still hard work – but ChatGPT can help take some of the load off your shoulders!