Episode 95

How to Write Better Than AI (Part 1 )

Since the release of ChatGPT, the number of freelance writing jobs is shrinking. Can writers even compete? I hope so, which is why today we are beginning a four-part series that will highlight several writing techniques that elevate any work, be it fiction or nonfiction. Let’s see how many of them you already incorporate into your work.

Music licensed from Storyblocks:

“More Jam Please” by Raighes Factory

“Warm Spring Groove: Chill Lo-fi” by The Turquoise Moon

“Our Love Will Fight” by Humans Win

“Midnight Cool” by Yagull Music

“Late Night Jam” by Eno Orefice

Rosemi Mederos:

If you have plot bunnies coming out of your plot holes, it’s time for a writing break.

I am back from Spring Break, which I realized I forgot to tell you about in the last episode. Thank you to those who checked in on me and most especially to you for joining me in another Writing Break.

Since the release of ChatGPT, the number of freelance writing jobs is shrinking. Can writers even compete? I hope so, which is why today we are beginning a four-part series that will highlight several writing techniques that elevate any work, be it fiction or nonfiction. Let’s see how many of them you already incorporate into your work. But first, the news.

The Writing Break cafe is open, so let’s grab a table and I’ll fill you in on some publishing news.

challenges to book titles in:

Early Wattpad users might remember stumbling upon a story or two about a protagonist who wakes up to find her parents have sold them off to some celebrity. Quite often it was the band One Direction. That should give you a timeframe for the Wild West Wattpad era I’m referring to here. Of course, one of the band members inevitably falls in love with the protagonist, and they live happily ever after. Celebrity fan fiction like that used to only be found on sites like Wattpad, but there is a growing trend of authors writing romance and erotica books whose main characters are based on celebrities. Readers sometimes refer to these as “real-person fan fiction,” and now you can find a growing number of these books for sale on Amazon. Plot lines centered around musicians like Taylor Swift and Harry Styles are popular, as are those centered around real-life athletes, with hockey players being especially popular. Sometimes the characters are not actually given the celebrity names, but it is clear who the celebrity is supposed to be. Some readers find these books fun, and others are totally creeped out by them. So, creepy or fun? What do you think?

The graphic novel market keeps growing, and publishers are using graphic adaptations of classic titles to bring middle grade readers to their previously published books. The hope is that graphic adaptations will bring new readers to older stories and will help make classic books more appealing to modern audiences. I have seen graphic novel adaptations of everything from The Babysitters Club Series to Octavia Butler’s Kindred at my local Barnes & Noble.

hat GPT was released December:

Check the show notes for more information about this and all of today’s news stories.

Before we get into today’s writing tips, how about we go underground to find an independent bookstore?

Underground Books is located below street-level in Carrollton, Georgia’s historic downtown. Descend the stairs into a hundred-year-old basement to uncover used, rare, antiquarian, bargain, and new books.

Opened in:

During today’s writing tip, we will be discussing writing big, so let’s take a look around to see if we can find an example of an independent author doing just that.

The Forgotten Painting by Gabriel Farago is a historical mystery novella and part of the Jack Rogan Mysteries series.

l Winner at Readers' Favorite:

“When celebrated author Jack Rogan stumbles upon a hidden diary, he can’t resist investigating.

Honoring the last wish of a dying friend, he is irresistibly drawn into a web of intriguing clues, hinting at a long-forgotten treasure. Joining forces with Cecilia Crawford, a glamorous New York journalist, and Tristan, a remarkable boy with psychic powers, Jack soon finds himself on a precarious journey of discovery, exposing dark secrets from a distant, violent time, when life was cheap and cruelty ruled without mercy.

Will Rogan succeed? Can he find the forgotten treasure he has been searching for, or will it be lost forever, depriving the world of a masterpiece that belongs to all mankind?”

This novella is available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback formats. It is free to read on Kindle Unlimited, and the author has made it available for download for free on his website. Check the show notes for a link to that.

Now, let’s head to the Overthinking Couch for today’s writing tips.

Today we are starting a four-part writing series aimed to help you write better than AI. I haven’t figured out what to call this series yet, but maybe you have some ideas you can send to me. This series will review several writing techniques writers must implement in order to be masters of their craft. These are things that humans do well but ChatGPT does not, at least not yet.

To start, you already know the age-old advice of “Show, don’t tell.” But this is something many writers struggle to do successfully. One reason they struggle is that they don’t know how to make sure the reader has vital information without just… well, telling them, especially when it’s about things that happened before the book began. One way to do this is to incorporate it into the dialogue. Using dialogue to reveal information keeps the reader engaged and makes sure that you’re not revealing too much at once.

For nonfiction writers, there is a little more wiggle room to tell things as needed, but where things can go wrong for nonfiction writers . . . for fiction writers too, actually . . . where things can go wrong is when the author overstates something. Sometimes the author is unsure of their own writing ability, and sometimes they don’t trust the audience to pick up on things, which can lead to the author repeating details and facts they feel are important. This drags down the writing and bores the reader.

Cliches also drag down good writing. It doesn’t matter what you’re writing, using your own words will always result in better writing than if you were to use cliches. Leave the cliches with ChatGPT.

Another thing to leave with AI is the use of dead metaphors. While unique metaphors can be impactful if done right, dead metaphors (dead as a doornail, for example) do absolutely nothing for your writing except make it feel stale. So, yes to unique, new, and fresh metaphors, no to dead metaphors.

That is all we have time for this writing break. Join me again in two weeks for part two. Until then, thank you so much for listening, and remember, you deserved this break.

You still here? One more thing. Surprise the reader. That’s something that Chat GPT becomes memorable for because of the errors which are so surprising you can’t forget them. But if you surprise the reader, or the listener in this case, or the viewer if you’re screenwriting, you become what you truly are, which is unforgettable.

If you would like us to visit your favorite independent bookstore, feature your favorite independent author (even if it’s you), or discuss something you’re overthinking about, please email me at podcast@writingbreak.com.

Thank you for making space in your mind for The Muse today.

Writing Break is hosted by America’s Editor and produced by Allon Media with technical direction by Gus Aviles. Visit us at writingbreak.com or contact us at podcast@writingbreak.com.

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Rosemi Mederos


Rosemi is the founder of America's Editor, a book editing company.