I just finished writing a book with help from ChatGPT and I’m currently writing several novels using the information in this guide.
Here’s how to write a novel with ChatGPT:
Write a novel with ChatGPT by generating outlines, descriptions, dialogue, and scenes. Using prompts like, “Describe the setting of the scene” or, “Create a dramatic confrontation,” ChatGPT generates unique and compelling output, scene by scene. Refine and edit the output to fit your story’s needs.
In this complete guide, you will learn everything you need to know to use ChatGPT to write a novel.
Can ChatGPT Write a Novel?
The idea of using an AI language model to assist in the process may seem futuristic and almost too good to be true. However, with the advancement of AI technology, it is now possible to write a novel with the help of ChatGPT.
But the question is, can ChatGPT actually write a novel on its own?
The answer is both yes and no.
While ChatGPT is an incredibly powerful language model that can generate human-like text, it still lacks the creativity and imagination required to come up with a compelling plot, multidimensional characters, and an engaging storyline (all on it’s own, anyway).
Therefore, it cannot write a novel on its own without significant input and guidance from a human writer.
But, that’s where prompt engineering comes in (see my thirteen steps below – trust me, it’s easier than you think).
With ChatGPT, you can quickly generate ideas, improve your writing style and grammar, and receive suggestions for plot points, character arcs, and dialogue.
In the following sections of this guide, we will explore how to use ChatGPT to write a novel effectively.
From writing descriptions and dialogue to creating compelling scenes, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to leverage the power of ChatGPT to write a novel that readers will love.
If you’d rather watch the video of me going through the process first, check it out there:
13 Steps for How to Write a Novel With ChatGPT
When writing a novel with ChatGPT, the best method is to move step-by-step through the entire process of story creation.
Below, you will find my personal 13-step workflow for building out any type of novel or story with ChatGPT (or any AI writer for that matter). It works like a charm.
The key is to complete each step at a time, guiding the masterfulness of ChatGPT like an orchestra conductor.
Step 1) Ask ChatGPT to Come Up With a Genre and Subgenre
The first step in writing a novel with ChatGPT is to determine the genre and subgenre that you want to write in.
This step is crucial because it sets the tone and direction for the entire novel.
ChatGPT is trained to recognize and understand various genres and subgenres, so it can help you narrow down your options and choose the one that best fits your interests and writing style.
Honestly, the AI software is brilliant at it.
To get started, you can prompt ChatGPT with a question such as, “I want to write a Thriller Novel. Please give me a list of subgenres that I could write about.”
ChatGPT will then generate a list of subgenres that you can choose from, such as Psychological Thriller, Legal Thriller, or Spy Thriller.
Once you have chosen a subgenre, ChatGPT can help you further by providing examples of successful novels in that subgenre or giving you suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.
This first step helps you narrow down your options and get a clear idea of the type of novel you want to write.
By using ChatGPT to help you choose a genre and subgenre, you can save time and avoid writer’s block by having a clear direction to follow. Everything else builds on this starting point, so don’t skip it.
Example prompt: “I want to write a Romance Novel. Can you give me some examples of subgenres and popular tropes within the Romance genre?”
If you’re looking for a massive list of prompts, read my article on 550+ Best ChatGPT Prompts for Writing a Novel (linked at the bottom of this post).
Step 2) Ask ChatGPT to Come Up With a Story Premise
Once you have decided on the genre and subgenre, the next step is to come up with a story premise.
This is the foundation of your novel and will shape the plot, characters, and themes. ChatGPT can help you generate a premise by asking you questions and using your responses to create a unique and engaging story idea.
You can prompt ChatGPT with a question such as, “Can you help me come up with a story idea for a Legal Thriller?”
ChatGPT may ask you follow-up questions such as, “What is the protagonist’s occupation?”, “What is the conflict or challenge that they are facing?”, and “What is at stake if they fail?”
Based on your responses, ChatGPT will generate a story premise that you can use as a starting point for your novel.
You can also simply ask ChatGPT to give you a premise that includes:
- A title
- A protagonist
- An antagonist
- Internal conflict
- External conflict
- One main goal
- A setting
- A ticking clock
- Emotional story consequences
- Physical story consequences
It’s important to remember that the story premise is just the beginning and can be refined and developed as you write your novel. ChatGPT can help you with this process as well by providing suggestions for plot twists, character development, and thematic elements.
Just like the first step, you don’t want to rush this part.
It gives you a clear idea of what your novel is about and helps you stay focused on the main story arc. Your entire novel will flow from this premise.
Example prompt: “I want to write a Historical Fiction Novel. Can you help me come up with a story premise set during World War II?”
Step 3) Ask Chat GPT to Expand the Premise into a Back Cover Blurb
After coming up with a story premise, the next step is to expand it into a back cover blurb.
A back cover blurb is a brief summary of your novel that is typically found on the back cover or inside flap of a book. It’s designed to hook readers and give them a taste of what the book is about.
You can use this eventually in a query letter or book description but the purpose here is to slowly flesh out your story.
ChatGPT will help you create a back cover blurb by using the story premise you generated in Step 2. To get started, you can prompt ChatGPT with a question such as, “Can you help me write a back cover blurb for my Legal Thriller novel?”.
ChatGPT will then use the story premise you provided to generate a brief summary of your novel.
It’s important to remember that a back cover blurb should be concise and engaging, not to mention give readers a reason to pick up your book.
ChatGPT can help you achieve this by using its natural language generation abilities to create a compelling summary.
At the end of this step, you will have a full summary of your novel.
Example prompt: “Can you help me write a back cover blurb for my Historical Fiction Novel set during World War II?”
Step 4) Ask ChatGPT to Create an Outline from the Blurb
Now that you have a back cover blurb, the next step is to use it to create an outline for your novel.
An outline is a roadmap that helps you organize your story and ensure that it flows smoothly from beginning to end. ChatGPT can help you create an outline by using the information from the back cover blurb (and premise) to generate a list of key plot points and scenes.
You might prompt ChatGPT with a question such as, “Can you help me create an outline for my Historical Fiction Novel based on the premise and back cover blurb you generated in Steps 2 and 3?”.
ChatGPT will then produce an outline that includes the major plot points, characters, and themes.
Another method is to ask ChatGPT to create an outline based on Save the Cat’s 15-Beat Plot Structure Outline System.
Try it out. While this is a plot structure for screenplays, I’ve found it useful in plotting my novels.
Of course, if you don’t like the outline, you can ask ChatGPT to refine it in any way that you choose. You might want more plot twists, a subplot romance, or more of the story to focus on a certain conflict or setting.
All you need to do is ask ChatGPT to rewrite or edit the outline to include what you want.
As you move further into the novel-creation process, ChatGPT can further help you with this outline by suggesting ways to improve the structure or pacing of your story.
I have personally found that ChatGPT will create an outline this is cohesive and compelling.
Example prompt: “Can you help me create an outline for my Romance Novel based on the back cover blurb you generated in Step 3?”
Step 5) Develop a Style Prompt for the Novel
Once you have a genre, subgenre, premise, and outline for your novel, it’s time to start developing the style and tone you want for your story.
This is where a style prompt comes in handy.
A style prompt is a set of guidelines you give to ChatGPT that will influence the way it writes your novel. It can include details such as the pace of the story, the level of detail in the descriptions, and the tone of the dialogue.
Why does this step matter?
A style prompt is essential because it allows you to define the feel of your novel and ensures consistency throughout the writing process.
Without a clear style prompt, ChatGPT may generate scenes that don’t match the tone or pacing you envision for your novel.
By giving ChatGPT specific guidelines, you can ensure that the writing matches your desired style and tone.
Here’s an example of a style prompt: “I want to write a Thriller Novel. Please write in a fast-paced style with short, punchy sentences. Focus on building suspense and tension throughout the story. Use vivid descriptions to create a sense of danger and urgency.”
By providing ChatGPT with this style prompt, you’re setting clear expectations for the type of story you want to write.
This allows ChatGPT to generate scenes that are consistent with the tone and pace you have in mind.
As you work through the writing process, you can continue to refine and adjust the style prompt to ensure that the writing matches your vision for the novel.
You can also ask ChatGPT to give you suggestions for possible writing styles. Then you simply pick the one you like best.
Example prompt: “Please give me 5 writing style and tone briefs for a thriller novel. Please make each style brief unique and different from the others.”
Step 6) Ask ChatGPT to Write the Intro to the Novel
The intro to your novel is crucial as it sets the tone and draws the reader in.
It’s also a great opportunity to introduce your main characters and their conflicts. With ChatGPT, you can get an instant intro to your novel without having to spend hours brainstorming.
Provide ChatGPT with a brief prompt that includes the genre, subgenre, and a general idea of what you want the intro to convey. For example, “I want to write a Thriller novel. Please write an intro that sets a suspenseful tone and introduces the main character.”
Better yet, simply ask ChatGPT to write an outline based on your premise, back cover blurb, writing style brief, and outline.
Now you are seeing how all of this coming together.
ChatGPT may generate something like this:
“The sound of footsteps echoed through the empty alleyway. Sarah turned the corner, her heart racing, and saw a figure lurking in the shadows. She knew she was in danger. As a private investigator, Sarah was used to dealing with dangerous situations, but this one felt different. The figure stepped out of the shadows, revealing a menacing grin. Sarah reached for her gun, ready to defend herself.“
This intro sets the tone for a suspenseful thriller and introduces the main character, Sarah, who is a private investigator.
You can use this as a starting point and tweak it to fit your specific story and characters.
With ChatGPT, you can quickly generate multiple intros and choose the one that works best for you.
Example prompt: “Please write the introduction to this novel based on the outline, premise, back cover blurb, and writing style brief pasted above.”
Step 7) Ask ChatGPT to Continue the Novel Scene By Scene
Once you have a solid outline in place, it’s time to start writing your novel scene by scene.
This is where ChatGPT really shines. You can ask it to write the next scene in the outline, and it will generate a new section of the story based on the information you’ve provided.
You’ll start to see your novel take shape as you work through each scene, and ChatGPT will help you stay on track and keep your story cohesive.
Plus, by working scene by scene, you can focus on small pieces of your story at a time, which can make the writing process feel less overwhelming.
For example, you might ask ChatGPT to, “Write the next scene in the outline.”
Here’s an example of what ChatGPT might generate based on your outline and style prompt:
As James walked into the dimly lit bar, he immediately noticed the man in the corner booth. It was the same man who had been following him for days. James hesitated for a moment before approaching him, unsure of what he would say. But as he got closer, he realized that the man was holding a file folder with his name on it.
“Mr. Smith?” the man asked, looking up at James. “I have something for you.”
James took the folder and opened it, scanning the pages quickly. It was a dossier on his latest client, a high-profile politician who had been accused of embezzlement. James felt a knot form in his stomach as he read through the evidence against his client. He knew he had to act fast if he wanted to save his reputation, but he also knew that the information in the file could put him in danger.
With ChatGPT’s help, you can continue to build on this scene and bring your story to life.
By working through each scene one by one, you’ll be able to create a cohesive narrative that remains true to your premise.
Example prompt: “Please write the next scene in chapter 1. Make sure that the action and dialogue flow from all prior scenes mentioned in the outline and that this scene moves the overall plot in the book blurb forward. Always keep the premise in mind when writing each scene.”
Step 8) Redirect ChatGPT If It Goes Awry
Even though ChatGPT is an incredibly powerful tool for generating a novel, it can still make mistakes and produce results that are not quite what you were hoping for.
This is why it is important to redirect ChatGPT if it goes awry.
By redirecting, you can help ChatGPT get back on track and produce the kind of content you are looking for.
For example, if ChatGPT produces a scene that is too passive and lacks action or dialogue, you can redirect it by providing a prompt such as, “Rewrite the scene with more action and dialogue.”
This prompt will give ChatGPT a specific direction to follow and help it produce a scene that is more engaging and exciting for the reader.
By redirecting ChatGPT in this way, you can ensure that your novel is of the highest quality and meets your standards.
Redirecting ChatGPT is not only important for improving the quality of your novel, but it also helps you to become a better writer. By actively engaging with ChatGPT and redirecting it when necessary, you can develop a better understanding of what makes a good novel and improve your own writing skills.
So, if ChatGPT produces content that is not quite what you were hoping for, don’t be afraid to redirect it and help it get back on track.
The more specific your redirects, the better.
Example prompt: “Please rewrite this scene by expanding the physical fight into several paragraphs where the two characters go back and forth, each one gaining ground and then losing it. The outcome of the fight should be uncertain until the very end.”
Step 9) Regenerate Until You Get What You Want
This step involves asking ChatGPT to generate new text until you get what you want.
It’s not uncommon for the generated text to be slightly off-topic or not quite what you were looking for. In this case, you can simply ask ChatGPT to generate a new version until you’re happy with the result.
This step is important because it allows you to refine the text and get it to a point where you’re satisfied with it.
It also helps to ensure that the text is on topic and aligned with the story you want to tell.
For example, if you’re writing a romance novel and the generated text is focused on action scenes, you can ask ChatGPT to generate new text until it’s more focused on the romance elements of the story.
This will help to refine the text and get it to a point where it’s more closely aligned with your vision for the story.
Keep this principle (of regeneration) in mind at every step of this process.
Example prompt: “Please give me another version that focuses more on the romantic tension between the two main characters.”
Step 10) Reuse the Same Prompt Space (With Scene Direction Changes)
After completing several scenes with ChatGPT, you may find yourself reusing the same prompt space multiple times.
This is perfectly normal and can actually be beneficial in maintaining consistency throughout your novel.
However, it’s important to remember to make changes to the scene direction instructions to ensure that ChatGPT doesn’t recycle the same plot points over and over again.
By reusing the same prompt space, you can save time and avoid having to constantly create 100% brand new prompts for every scene.
Provide ChatGPT with fresh instructions for each scene to keep the story moving forward and prevent it from becoming stagnant or repetitive. You want a cohesive story based on your promise, book blurb, and outline.
So, you’ll want to keep those instructions pasted in the chat but simply use the “regenerate response” feature of ChatGPT to write each sense at a time.
This step is essential in ensuring that your novel stays on track and stays true to your original vision.
If this is confusing, don’t worry.
Simply watch the video I made of me going through all 13 of these steps. You can find the video embedded right above step #1.
Step 11) Keep a Running Summary of Major Actions & Info
As you write your novel with ChatGPT, it’s important to keep track of all the major story actions and information.
This includes things like character bios, world-building details, plot points, and more. By keeping a running summary of these elements, you can ensure consistency throughout your novel and avoid any plot holes or inconsistencies.
One way to keep track of this information is to paste it directly into the chat GPT instructions.
Along with things like the initial story premise, outline, back cover blurb, and writing style brief. As you continue to work with ChatGPT and generate new scenes, you can add new information to this running summary.
By summary, I mean concise bullet points.
Having a summary of all major actions and information can also be helpful when it comes time to edit and revise your novel.
You’ll be able to quickly reference important details and ensure that everything fits together seamlessly.
Step 12) Review the Completed Novel for Consistency
Once you have completed the novel with ChatGPT, it is essential to review it for consistency.
Reviewing the completed novel is crucial to ensure that the story flows smoothly and that there are no inconsistencies in the plot, characters, or settings.
The human touch is critical in reviewing the novel because sometimes the AI-generated text may not align with the intended story.
One of the essential aspects of consistency is making sure that the characters’ traits and personalities are consistent throughout the novel. It’s essential to ensure that the characters’ actions, thoughts, and dialogue are congruent with their personalities.
Additionally, reviewing the novel allows you to check if there are any plot holes or gaps in the storyline.
Identifying any discrepancies early on will enable you to make necessary revisions before publishing the novel.
Ultimately, reviewing the completed novel for consistency is essential to ensure that the readers can fully immerse themselves in the story without any distractions or confusion.
Step 13) Get ChatGPT to Edit and Improve One Scene at a Time
Once you have completed writing your novel with ChatGPT, it’s time to move on to the editing phase.
This is where you will go through your novel scene by scene to ensure that everything is coherent, consistent, and polished. While ChatGPT is an excellent tool for generating content, it may not always be perfect in terms of grammar, spelling, or flow.
This is where you will need to step in and take charge of the editing process.
To edit a scene or chapter with ChatGPT, start by reading through the content that has been generated. Identify any errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation, and make the necessary corrections.
Next, look at the flow of the scene or chapter.
Is it consistent with the rest of the novel? Does it make sense?
If not, you can make changes to the scene or chapter until it fits seamlessly with the rest of the story.
For example, if ChatGPT has generated a scene that is confusing or does not fit with the rest of the story, you can ask ChatGPT to revise the scene.
You can provide specific feedback to help ChatGPT understand what needs to be changed. For instance, if a character’s behavior seems inconsistent, you can ask ChatGPT to revise the scene to make the character’s behavior more consistent with their personality.
Overall, editing with ChatGPT can be a collaborative process.
You can work together to ensure that your novel is the best it can be. By using ChatGPT’s AI capabilities to generate content and your own editing skills to refine it, you can create a novel that is well-written, engaging, and satisfying to read.
Example prompt: “Take on the role of a professional book and story editor. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this scene? Are the characters consistent? What changes would you recommend in terms of language, structure, etc.?”
How To Write Description in a Novel With ChatGPT
If you’re looking to write a novel, one of the most important aspects to master is description.
From introducing characters to setting the scene, description is essential in creating a vivid and immersive story that readers can get lost in.
Descriptive language has the power to create a vivid mental image for readers, making them feel as if they are part of the story and experiencing events alongside the characters.
ChatGPT can be a powerful tool in helping you write detailed and evocative descriptions for your novel.
With its vast database of knowledge, it can generate descriptions of people, places, and things that are both accurate and engaging. By utilizing ChatGPT, you can free up your own mental bandwidth to focus on crafting your story, rather than getting bogged down in descriptive details.
Consider using description prompts like:
- “Describe the main character’s appearance, including their clothing and any distinguishing features.”
- “Write a paragraph describing the setting of the scene, including details about the time of day, weather, and any notable landmarks.”
- “Describe the mood of the scene, including the emotions of the characters and any sensory details that help to convey it.”
By using prompts like these, you can give ChatGPT a starting point to generate descriptive language that you can then refine and incorporate into your novel.
Whether you’re a seasoned writer or just starting out, using ChatGPT as a tool for writing descriptions can help take your novel to the next level.
Remember, for hundreds of prompts – even genre-specific prompts, check out my article on more than 550+ best novel-writing prompts. You can find the link at the bottom of this article.
How To Write Story Dialogue With ChatGPT
When it comes to writing a novel, crafting engaging dialogue can be one of the most challenging aspects.
However, using ChatGPT can help you to generate realistic and natural-sounding conversations between your characters.
Here’s how to write story dialogue with ChatGPT.
First, you need to decide on the tone and style of the conversation you want to create. Do you want it to be casual or formal? Are your characters angry, sad, or happy?
Once you’ve decided on the tone and style, you can use prompts like:
- “Write a conversation between two characters where they argue about a specific issue.”
- “Generate dialogue between two friends who haven’t seen each other in years.”
- “Create a conversation between a couple on their first date.”
Using these prompts, ChatGPT can help you generate dialogue that is appropriate for the situation and reflects the personalities and emotions of your characters.
After you’ve generated the dialogue, you can refine it to fit your specific needs and the overall tone of your novel.
Another useful tool in writing dialogue with ChatGPT is to use it to create realistic speech patterns and verbal cues.
For example, you could use prompts like:
- “Generate dialogue for a character who speaks with a strong accent.”
- “Create a conversation between characters who use a lot of slang or jargon.”
- “Write a scene where a character uses a specific verbal tick or phrase repeatedly.”
By using these prompts, you can add depth and authenticity to your characters, making them feel more realistic and relatable to your readers.
How To Write a Novel Scene With ChatGPT
ChatGPT can help you to generate novel scenes that are both unique and compelling.
Here’s how to write a novel scene with ChatGPT.
You need to decide on the type of scene you want to create. Are you looking to write a suspenseful chase scene, a romantic meet-cute, or a dramatic confrontation between characters?
Once you’ve decided on the type of scene, you can use prompts like:
- “Generate a suspenseful chase scene in a forest.”
- “Write a romantic meet-cute at a coffee shop.”
- “Create a dramatic confrontation between two characters in a courtroom.”
By providing specific details like settings and actions, you can help ChatGPT generate a scene that fits your needs and the genre of your novel.
When working with ChatGPT to write a novel scene, it’s important to remember that the more information you give it, the better the output will be.
For example, if you’re writing a chase scene, be sure to specify the type of terrain, the vehicles involved, and the actions of the characters.
By providing this level of detail, ChatGPT can generate a scene that is not only thrilling but also realistic and immersive.
Final Thoughts: How To Write a Novel With ChatGPT
Yes, you can absolutely write a good novel with ChatGPT.
In the next few years, technology and prompt engineering will only improve. The time to jump in and learn this technology is now.
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