Screenwriting Tricks for Authors

Is AI the end of writers—or the end of humanity?

By now you’re all completely familiar with Chat GPT (Bing, Bard, etc.) and why writers are anxious about it all—

Just kidding. I know enough writers (thousands) to know: learning about the explosion of AI and its implications to their livelihood is one of those things writers are really good at shoving in a mental closet to look at later. But there is no joke about AI.

Writers who are paying attention are worried —

  • That AI programs (Bing, Bard, GPT-4, and whatever programs are out next week and the week after that) are supercharged competition for an already competitive field.

  • When or if they let themselves think about it, writers are wondering how they can keep up with the exponential learning and growth of AI.

  • If they’ve done a lot of research into AI and the future of writing, writers may be wondering how to get better (really fast) at “prompt engineering,” or stressing over whether they’re a good enough editor/rewriter to get one of thosejobs that are being predicted to take over the jobs of most writers.

  • And there might be a tiny bit (!) of anxiety over the surveys of AI experts who consistently put the chances of AI actually destroying humanity at 10-30%.

black and white robot toy on red wooden table
Photo by Andrea De Santison Unsplash

Let’s face it, that last point is something that may turn out to be quite a bit more relevant than the question of whether AI will replace writers. The more I read, the more it feels like debating that question is the modern equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns.

But it’s also something I know I can’t do anything about. It does give me existential thoughts of, like, retiring earlier and just traveling—even more than we already do. But that’s not realistic, because the process of writing, living in a story world populated by characters I’m creating to suit myself, is one of my greatest pleasures in life, my bottom line motivation for writing. There is no way in hell I’m retiring from writing (at the same time, I am definitely going to do even more traveling).

So it’s important to me to know what I can and can’t do with AI to write the kinds of novels thatIwrite, and that I want to keep writing.

And because what I’m discovering could be helpful to some or a lot of you, I’m going to start including it in some of these posts, and as with other topics, start collecting information in one post.

I’m not going to summarize AI for you. Other writers who have been working with versions of these bots for years have been doing that far better and more knowledgeably than I could. Instead I’ll link on the Screenwriting Tricks Substack  to some of the most relevant pieces I’ve read, for you to browse through. There are plenty of links to other articles from those.

Reading of course is a great, quick overview—but no substitute for actually jumping in and using these bots, so I’ve also included links to get you started. 

Here’s my bottom line experience with Chat GPT, in a few basic questions & answers that are easy to read right now, in a few minutes. 

  • If you haven’t read last week’s post on THE PLAN, you can also do that this week to put you even farther ahead of anything AI can do for you!

  • Or use this checklist to make sure you’ve set up (or or considering) everything you need in your Act I as we move into Essential Elements of Act II.

And as I continue to experiment, I’ll keep you updated with discoveries and tips!

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But not this week. This week I’m going to Rome. I may even take up the fiddle.

– Alex




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All material from Screenwriting Tricks for Authors,© Alexandra Sokoloff