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  • Writer's pictureC. A. Hollister

Embracing the Future: The Practical Use of AI in Editing

Updated: Mar 28

Artificial intelligence robot editing a paper

In the world of fiction writing, each genre, from mystery to science fiction, romance to fantasy, presents its unique challenges and charms. No matter the genre, the one challenge that bogs down the creative process is editing. Insert dramatic music and cringing here

But I digress.

The editing phase is where these stories are refined and polished. It’s a necessary evil of the writing process, and some people actually enjoy this part of the journey. I am not one of those people. When I first began the first in-depth edit of my novel, I went down the rabbit hole and read book after book. Watched video after video. Then, I happened upon a magical tool called ProWritingAid. That was my first metaphorical toe in the water of using artificial intelligence with my manuscript.

There are a plethora of tools out there that are along the same line as ProWritingAid, but I use it exclusively, per my own personal preference. I would encourage each person to explore their options and find the program that suits them best in their particular project.

Now, back to editing.

Once I started the deep dive into my manuscript, I began to question my fundamental understanding of the English language. Not that I was ignorant of the basic concepts of grammar, or the placement of the punctuation. No. My epiphany was more profound. I was a habitual repeater. Whether it was a two, three, or four-word phrase, I had a preference for certain words throughout my manuscript.

Without the tools, such as ProWritingAid, I doubt I would have been able to pinpoint what could have made for a clunky read.

Okay, so we’ve established that AI is useful for editing. But how else can it be helpful for writers? This brings me to my next revelation.


Before you start breaking out the pitch forks and dousing your torches in kerosene, hear me out. I used to be a staunch villanizer of AI for all forms of creativity. Yet, after having spent countless hours diving into the mouth of the monster, I’ve come to realize that nothing can truly take the place of human creativity. Whereas some people will undoubtedly abuse the power of AI and try to make a quick buck, most of us care about putting out a quality product.

Here is what I’ve found when using ChatGPT with my writing. (And yes, I even used it to help me with this post.)

Grammar and style enhancements, such as refining sentence structures and improving style, ensuring readability.

Contextual suggestions in your prose. Whether it's a thriller's tense plot or a romance novel's emotional depth, ChatGPT provides genre-specific suggestions that enrich the narrative.

Interactive Brainstorming on demand. Partner with ChatGPT to get those creative juices flowing by offering ideas for plot development, character arcs, and even dialogue refinements.

I’ve even uploaded my entire manuscript and had ChatGPT do a chapter by chapter developmental edit. That experience was a painful trial and error to convince it to stick to my needs, but in the end, it proved to be a vital tool in helping me strengthen my plot, characters, and overall arc of the story.

All that being said, while AI provides invaluable assistance, the human element in editing is and will always remain crucial. AI tools support and enhance the editor's expertise but cannot replace the nuanced understanding and emotional intelligence of a human editor, especially in fiction, where storytelling is deeply connected to human experiences and emotions. So fear not brave soul. Humanity isn’t in danger of being replaced by our AI overlords just yet.

Remember, ideas are easy. Writing is hard. With the right mindset and tools, the editing journey doesn’t have to be a daunting one. You made it through the hard part by getting your amazing story out of your head. Make things a little easier by utilizing the many tools at your disposal.

Here is a list of a few noteworthy programs that utilizes AI to assist writers.

AI Writing Assistants:

ProWritingAid - As we delve into the realm of editing tools, let's first explore my experience with a well-known companion in the editing journey—ProWritingAid. It’s my preferred editor, employed after several manuscript rewrites. Keep in mind that you want your story to be well-developed before utilizing the extensive tools provided by this software. You don’t want to hammer out 50,000 words only to rewrite a good chunk of it and go through the process again. Learn from my mistakes.

 ProWritingAid meticulously analyzes grammar, style, and structure, presenting authors with detailed reports and insightful suggestions for improvement. This makes it a vluable resource for in-depth   editing. Additionally, there's a version called ProWritingAid Everywhere, seamlessly integrated into   everyday use, including emails and various editing software.

Fictionary - This powerful software is an excellent tool in your writing. Fictionary won't spit out prose like ChatGPT or Sudowrite, rather it uses mathematical algorithms and minimal AI to help you craft a powerful story using the 38 story elements. This highly detailed program takes you on a deep dive into your story and helps you understand where it shines and where it may fall flat. Using characters, plot, settings and more, Fictionary, in my opinion, is invaluable to both editors and authors. I especially love the numerous videos and tutorials that Fictionary provides. The community is active, welcoming, and helpful.

I hope to see a lifetime purchase option in the future, but for now it is a monthly or yearly subscription model. I still believe it is a good investment in your writing journey.

ChatGPT - While ProWritingAid addressed the technical aspects of my writing, I found myself yearning for a more dynamic companion. This led me to explore the fascinating realm of ChatGPT. This web-based software stands as one of the most widely recognized AI assistants.

The free version provides basic functionality, but opting for the monthly subscription transforms ChatGPT into a robust writing assistant and developmental editor. With a subscription, users gain the ability to customize their GPT model, tailoring parameters to meet specific needs. Even in the free version, users can leverage ChatGPT for valuable insights and suggestions, aiding them when faced with challenges of too many or too few directions in their writing.

Grammarly - Similar to ProWritingAid, Grammarly is an AI-powered writing assistant that extends beyond fundamental grammar checking. It offers suggestions to improve clarity, style, and tone, catering to a variety of writing contexts. While not as comprehensive as ProWritingAid, Grammarly's versatility makes it suitable for applications ranging from emails to creative manuscripts.

Hemingway Editor - While I don't have extensive personal experience with Hemingway Editor, it consistently ranks at the top of recommendation charts. Hemingway Editor prioritizes enhancing readability and simplicity in writing. It identifies complex sentences, suggests alternatives, and provides a readability score. This tool is beneficial for authors striving for clear and concise prose.

Novel Crafter - I recently joined the beta testing for this program and, although I haven't delved deeply yet, the features suggest promising AI-driven capabilities. This writing and editing tool caters specifically to novelists, offering scene organization, character development tools, and a distraction-free writing environment. Designed to streamline the novel-writing process, it provides AI assistance as needed. It's important to note that the AI model incurs a cost, utilizing a pay-per-usage model.

Sudowrite - Having invested numerous hours in this software, I've witnessed its rapid evolution. The option to effortlessly generate engaging content sets it apart, making it exceptionally versatile among AI assistants. This tool offers real-time suggestions for enhancing writing style, clarity, and coherence. It provides contextual suggestions to elevate the overall quality of writing. Users can personalize their experience by defining their writing style using sample text, specifying point of view (POV), tone, and genre.

Scrivener - Scrivener deserves an honorable mention as a potent tool for novelists. While Scrivener doesn't incorporate AI directly, its standout features, including innovative scene organization and character development tools, make it an invaluable asset for writers. With a focus on a distraction-free writing environment, Scrivener streamlines the writing process.

Where does AI come in to play, you might ask. Scrivener can benefit from AI assistance through the seamless integration of ProWritingAid Everywhere. This collaboration brings sophisticated editing insights, including grammar checks and style enhancements, directly into the Scrivener environment. Together, Scrivener and ProWritingAid Everywhere form a dynamic partnership, enhancing the novel writing experience for authors.

man shaking hands with robot

At the end of the day, love or hate it, there is no denying the benefits of using AI to assist in our writing journey. But let’s not forget the essence of our craft. The heart and soul of storytelling will forever be a human endeavor, intertwined with our experiences, emotion, and the ceaseless pursuit of creative expression. Whether you lean on the meticulous suggestions of ProWritingAid, engage in creative brainstorming with ChatGPT, or explore the numerous other AI writing assistants available, remember that these tools are companions, not replacements.

In this realm where ideas transform into words and stories unfold, let the collaboration between human ingenuity and AI innovation propel us toward new heights of literary excellence. Embrace the future, for in our hands, guided by the tools at our disposal, lies the power to weave tales that captivate and endure.

Have you ventured into the world of AI-assisted writing? I would love to hear about your experiences with ProWritingAid, ChatGPT, or any other writing assistant in the comments below.

And if you're intrigued by the magic of storytelling, dive into the realms of "Destiny Unbound," my latest novel.

Grab your copy on here.


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