In the ever-evolving world of AI and writing, there's a plethora of tools claiming to make our lives easier.
One such tool, Sudowrite, has piqued the curiosity of many writers, promising a variety of features to help craft their stories. But can it live up to the hype and truly assist authors in their creative process?
Well if you’re just looking for the bottom line, I do believe that Sudowrite is the best AI tool out there for fiction writers. It’s got a massive amount of features that make it stand out, and they’re genuinely good too, not just fluff features for the sake of having features.
Sudowrite is not perfect, so if you’d like to learn more of my thoughts on this program, continue reading.
- What I look for in an AI writing program
- The list of Sudowrite’s many features and how they can benefit authors
- What I liked and didn’t like about Sudowrite
Table of contents
- A Note on Reviewing AI Tools
- Pricing: How Much Does Sudowrite Cost?
- Features and Benefits
- Pros: What I Liked About Sudowrite
- Cons: What I Didn’t Like About Sudowrite
- The Bottom Line: Is Sudowrite Worth It?
A Note on Reviewing AI Tools
There is a misconception at large, especially among many writers, that AI writing tools will simply do the writing for you.
This is, thankfully, not true.
We are still a long way away from being able to push a button and an AI will automatically produce a genuinely good story. I think that is unlikely to ever happen in our lifetime.
Instead, AI writing tools are not meant to replace human writers, but rather serve as helpful assistants. They can't do all the writing for you, but they're great for tasks like brainstorming ideas, fixing typos, or suggesting better word choices.
The best way I've ever heard it described is this: AI does for writing what calculators did for math. They let us have an easy way to deal with simple calculations so we can save time and achieve results that we could never have reached otherwise.
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Here’s what I love about it and what I want in a tool: AI can handle some of the basics that you might find yourself spending too much brain power on, like fixing typos, suggesting better word choices, or even generating ideas when you're stuck in a rut. This means you can focus your energy on the more important aspects of your writing, like developing characters or story development.
And just so we’re on the same page, here’s a quick reality check on what AI is realistically able to do.
What AI Is Really Good At
AI has made some incredible leaps forward in recent years, and it is almost hard for me to picture what I did before I had some of these tools at my fingertips because they have severely lessened the amount of creative headaches I get.
- Brainstorming: AI is currently really good at helping with brainstorming. I personally prefer ChatGPT for a lot of this, but as we will see, Sudowrite is busting at the seams with brainstorming power. Sometimes just seeing a few ideas on the page, even if they are really basic, is enough to get the creative juices flowing.
- Outlining: Since outlining involves structure, and AI is really good at understanding structure, it makes sense that AI is also really good at creating outlines. Most tools can pull off decent outlines from a simple synopsis as your prompt.
- Improving Your Writing: AI has actually been in use in proofreading programs like ProWritingAid or Grammarly for years, but AI is also becoming really good at more complex tasks, like improve the Flesch reading ease score, or changing the tense of your story with a simple prompt.
- Descriptions: Speaking from personal experience, I’m really bad at descriptions, and could really use more of them in my books. This is something AI is great for. You can give it a little context and it’s relatively easy to get some additional descriptions that you can layer into your prose.
Things AI Is Not Good At…Yet
As of this writing, there are a few things that AI is still not great at, though the world of AI is constantly changing and improving, so this may not be the case for long:
- Long-form Writing: Long-form writing seems to be hard for AI still. If you want a long-form document, it usually needs to be assembled in much smaller pieces. This is especially true of fiction. Some of these problems are due to bad or overly-simple prompts, but even with good input, AI can sometimes struggle.
- Consistent Styles: It’s difficult for most AI to be consistent in the style you use. This is especially true if you have multiple characters with different speech patterns and personalities, requiring them to be written differently.
- Research: AI can’t do good research, and even the models that have crawled the Internet often get things wrong.
- Staying On Task: AI will often get distracted and stray from the outline/prompt without a LOT of human guidance.
What I Look For
Some of the things I look for in a tool include:
- The User Experience: does it easily guide you through the AI-creation process
- Accuracy: while not always perfect, I like to compare the actual output for every AI tool. How well does it match what I wanted it to do?
- Peace of Mind: As I mentioned earlier, so far AI hasn’t actually saved me a ton of time in my experimentation (that may change as I get more experience). But what a good AI tool does is free up my mental headache. Creative writing is an intense experience, and for some (myself included) it can be creatively draining. Using AI almost always leaves me feeling less drained and I end up writing more and longer as a result. This is also why AI is a really good option for those with certain disabilities and mental illnesses.
So with all that in mind, let’s dive into this review of Sudowrite. Does it satisfy my requirements and leave me with less creative drain than I would otherwise?
Pricing: How Much Does Sudowrite Cost?
Sudowrite has three pricing tiers that you can purchase at a monthly rate, or annually for a slightly lesser fee.
- $19/month or $120/year for 30,000 AI words each month
- $29/month or $240/year for 90,000 AI words each month
- $129/month or $1200/year for 300,000 AI words each month
Compared to a variety of other AI tools out there, this comes in roughly middle of the road. It’s not as cheap as ChatGPT, but it’s far better for the number of words you get than Jasper (which until ChatGPT came along was the undisputed king of AI copywriting).
Of those options, I personally recommend the middle $29/month or $240/year plan. It has the best value.
Is there a free version of Sudowrite?
There is not a permanently free version of Sudowrite, but if you use our special link, you can actually get 10,000 free AI generated words. That is plenty to try it out for yourself.
Features and Benefits
There are a LOT of features that Sudowrite offers, so many that I’ve decided to group many of them together and talk about each in a bulleted list. Hopefully this will help you wrap your mind around the many different options Sudowrite gives you.
The Writing Tools
First, let’s start with what most people are probably interested in: the writing tools. These are the tools that are best for longer-form writing.
In other words, if you’re hoping to use Sudowrite to actually help you write the first draft of your manuscript, this is what you want to look at.
- First Draft: This is perhaps my favorite feature, and the one that (as AI improves) is likely to be the most important. With First Draft, you simply add in your description of a scene, and Sudowrite will write up to 1000 words for you. And it does a decent job. Not perfect, but enough that I can get started editing and adding my own flare to it. I almost always start with this first, then edit from there.
- Guided and Auto Write: These two options are how you continue writing each subsequent section of your story. With Guided Write, you can add a sentence or two about what happens next, and Sudowrite will take that and generate up to 250 words. Auto Write is similar, but without the guidance, meaning you can just see where it goes.
- Tone Shift: This is a handy feature that allows you to change the tone of your story. A pretty simple but often needed feature.
- Expand: Let’s say you have a paragraph that quickly covers some action, and you want to expand that moment to include more detailed descriptions, or perhaps more dialogue, etc. The Expand feature is perfect for that. It’s probably the feature I use most after First Draft and Guided Write.
Revision is one of those things that AI is pretty good at these days, and you can see that in action with these tools. These are the tools I will often use once I already have my manuscript in decent shape, or after importing my own manuscript from elsewhere.
- Rewrite: The Rewrite feature is one of my favorites. It lets you rewrite any text to either Rephrase the text, make it shorter, more descriptive, to show instead of tell, add more inner conflict, or make the text more intense. I especially love using the “Show not Tell” feature, since AI often tells too much, I can easily select those passages and fix them. You can also customize your Rewrite to conform to any specific prompts you might want to give it.
- Describe: I’m personally horrible at descriptions. They say you should try to use as many senses as possible when describing, but I’m barely able to get one. With Sudowrite, you can highlight a section you want to describe in more detail, and it will do so using all five senses, plus some metaphors. This is a very useful tool for expanding my descriptions.
Here is one area where Sudowrite shines. They have a ton of different ways to brainstorm your novel or different elements of it.
The way each of these work is the AI will generate a list of things like names, dialogue, attributes, etc. It’s a giant list builder, and it does so in each of the following categories:
- World Building
- Plot Points
- Article Ideas
- Something Else (a custom field where you can ask the tool to brainstorm just about anything)
I’ve found these to be very useful, if only to get my creative juices flowing. I might not even use the items I’m given, but sometimes I’ll pick a piece of one, combine it with something else, and have a much better idea of what I want.
Overall a great tool.
Beyond the writing, editing, and brainstorming, there were a few unique tools that I really loved that don’t fit in some of the other categories:
- Visualize: Sudowrite has some visual integrations that allow you to use AI to generate images of parts of your manuscript. All you have to do is highlight a portion of your story and click on visualization and it will add something. If you don’t use an AI Art generator like Midjourney, this can be a fun option.
- Shrink Ray: The Shrink Ray is a powerful feature. It takes everything in your current document (not the entire manuscript) and generates 2 loglines, a blurb, a synopsis, and an outline.
- Twist: The twist is one of my favorite features, because I’m horrible at coming up with good twists. Like the brainstorming features, this is a great one to get the juices flowing. You add a brief summary of your plot, and it gives you ideas for good plot twists you can use.
- Poem: This is exactly what it sounds like. You enter in your topic, and an optional number of seed lines, and it does the rest.
- Themes: Sudowrite not only has a dark mode, but has several other visual themes that you can use. I personally prefer Aurora Borealis.
In Sudowrite’s Canvas area, you have the option of adding a lot of your own notes. It’s kind of like a blank wall where you can post your virtual sticky notes related to plot or character.
You can create notes on virtually anything. They have some examples of character, but you could theoretically use the notes for worldbuilding, locations, and a lot more. Plus you can use AI to help you populate your notes and flesh them out further.
Personally, I find the Canvas to be a little disorganized and difficult to manage, but it is in beta as of this writing, so there may be improvements coming. And I understand that being an author and planning a book can be chaotic, so I know that some authors probably appreciate the open-endedness of Canvas.
There is, however, one feature in Canvas that I love:
Within Canvas, you have the option of creating an outline. Sudowrite provides you a variety of templates, at which point you can enter in the summary of your story, and it will generate an outline for you within that template.
You can have the entire outline populate from your summary, or you can move one step at a time, fixing/editing your outline as you go, before moving onto the next step.
It’s actually pretty cool if you play around with it. I mentioned above that AI is good at outlining, and you can see the truth of that in this feature.
Pros: What I Liked About Sudowrite
So now that we’ve discussed all the features, let’s talk about the ones I really like, and that make this program stand out to me.
- First draft: This is my favorite feature, and saves the most time for me. I believe the quality of the AI output will only get better as time goes on. In an ideal universe, you would be able to hit this button and it would create a mostly clean chapter based on your description. We’re not there yet, but we’re not too far either.
- The expand feature: Another great feature that, next to First Draft, is one of the best ways to get new words down that you can then edit.
- Brainstorming features: There’s so much here that I can’t really say I will ever have problems coming up with ideas again.
- The outlining feature: I love this. There is something incredibly satisfying at entering your story treatment, and getting a genuinely good outline in return. I’ll be using AI to aid my outlines for the foreseeable future.
- Rewrite: Rewrite is a game-changer, especially some of the different options like the “show don’t tell” rewrite feature. Since many authors struggle with this (and AI does too, honestly), having a way to directly target passages that are telling too much is a huge headache-saver.
- Twist feature: Like the outline tool, sometimes it helps to have a way to brainstorm twists in the plot. This feature has produced a number of genuinely good twists that I was able to use or adapt to my book.
Cons: What I Didn’t Like About Sudowrite
Despite the many good things that Sudowrite has going for it. There are a few things that I would like to see improved.
- Can be overwhelming: While I applaud Sudowrite for its massive list of features, sometimes it feels a little too much. Something I would like to see is a massively-simplified interface that I could use while doing the actual writing. I find that having to select between all of the different tools pulls me out of my flow state that I need to write. Having something a little more streamlined, and that requires fewer clicks, might help with focus. As it stands now, it feels a bit bloated.
- Canvas needs more structure: As it currently stands, I found Canvas to be more overwhelming than helpful. There’s no structure to help you list your characters, worldbuilding, etc. I think it would be better to have some kind of Story Bible feature where you can create various entries of each one. But that might just be my style. The outlining portion is great, but doesn’t seem to fit the Canvas setting well.
The good news is, the Sudowrite team is very responsive to critiques and is constantly putting out new features.
In fact, there was one that I asked for (being able to have 1 card generated instead of 2-6) that had already been added by the time I started writing this review.
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The Bottom Line: Is Sudowrite Worth It?
Sudowrite is, in my experience, the best AI tool for fiction authors on the market.
It’s certainly not the only tool out there that fiction authors can use. ChatGPT and the OpenAI playground show some promise. But these tools usually require a better understanding of prompt engineering and how AI works.
Sudowrite, on the other hand, will hold your hand through the entire process.
Overall, I think its massive collection of features, combined with a select few like the First Draft feature, make it well-positioned as a fantastic fiction writing program.