Forget the controversy over whether to use AI in your prose. This issue will shake out as writers use AI more and develop best practices in writing fiction with AI. This tool can help you with mundane writing tasks that help to speed up your work without arguments over whether or not using AI is appropriate.
And since discussing all five ways in one post makes for a very long post, we’ll take them individually. Today, we’ll talk about rough outlining your novel.
If you have an idea for a story (what some writers call a plot) and a character or two rattling around in your head, and maybe a key scene or more, you can enter this into Chat GPT and ask it to provide an outline.
This outline will be short, probably chopped up into five sections, and it is not definitive. But it will be a logical sequence where the action takes place, which is a big help.
For this exercise, I’m using my WIP, Master’s License, the first Kelleen Rynin/Byetishen Morastan story in her sequence of stories. What I gave ChatGPT was my short synopsis of the story:
Please provide an outline from the following short synopsis: Candidate Rynin, this is not a drill. This vessel, The Golden Bough, a hazardous materials transport, is off course. The International Traders Union is unsure of her captain’s condition or the disposition of the crew—if they are sick or have mutinied. The ITU deputizes you to take command of The Golden Bough and bring her to the nearest ITU port. How you do it is at your discretion. If you complete your mission, subject to the review of the Captains’ Board, you will have earned your Master’s License. Good luck.” Twelve-year-old Kelleen Rynin had lived on a spaceship with her father, Captain Sted Rynin, all her life. He has been a relenteless taskmaster in teaching her everything she should know to captain a spaceship. Intellectually gifted, she obtained a pilot’s license at the precocious age of ten, and now her father insists she take the Master’s License test that would give her the credentials to captain a starship. No one thinks this is a good idea, except for Sted, so Kelleen is extremely surprised to find herself on a spaceship with the impossible task of taking command of it. That was before she discovered that pirates commandeered the vessel and held its crew captive.
What Chat gave back was this:
I. Introduction A. Kelleen Rynin’s background and upbringing 1. Raised by her father, Captain Sted Rynin, on a spaceship 2. Rigorous training in spaceship operations 3. Obtained a pilot’s license at the age of ten B. Captain Sted’s insistence on Kelleen taking the Master’s License test C. Kelleen’s surprise and apprehension when tasked with taking command of a spaceship.
II. The Urgent Mission A. The mysterious communication addressed to “Candidate Rynin” B. Information about The Golden Bough, a hazardous materials transport C. The International Traders Union’s concern about the vessel’s situation 1. Off-course trajectory 2. Uncertain condition of the captain and crew D. The ITU’s deputization of Kelleen to take command of The Golden Bough E. The objective: Bring The Golden Bough to the nearest ITU port.
III. The Challenges Ahead A. Kelleen’s initial shock and disbelief B. Realization of the ship’s capture by pirates C. Discovery of the captive crew and the gravity of the situation.
IV. Kelleen’s Determination A. Kelleen’s decision to accept the mission despite her doubts B. The weight of responsibility as she takes command C. The need to outsmart the pirates and free the crew D. The motivation to prove herself and earn her Master’s License E. The uncertainty of the Captains’ Board’s review
V. The Journey Begins A. Kelleen’s preparations for the mission B. Assembling a team or allies, if available C. Plotting a course to intercept The Golden Bough D. The challenges and obstacles she faces during the journey E. The evolving relationship between Kelleen and the ship’s crew.
VI. Conclusion A. The climax of the mission B. The outcome of Kelleen’s efforts C. The potential consequences of her actions D. The resolution of her quest for a Master’s License E. The future implications for Kelleen as a spaceship captain.
This, of course was not my final outline. Actually, I plotted the book to running this throught ChatGPT. And you can see, this does not provide the rich details that make for interesting fiction. No. What this is a frame, much like a frame of a house, one that many writers could use. You will be refining this, and adding more to the plot. But it’s a start.
What I will be using this for in this book is plotting each chapter, which we’ll talk about in the next post.
Cover by Starry Night Graphix, (which is me fiddling around with Photoshop) using a background asset from Deposit Photos, and the image of Kelleen from (ta-da) Quickwrite AI image generator, of which I used three different renderings of my prompt and put them together in Photoshop.