Welcome to this review of Verb, an AI platform built with a literary finesse and a workflow that is surprisingly different and refreshing compared to other AI platforms that seem to focus more on writing speed.
Verb, on the other hand, takes a different approach. It mimics the actual linear writing process by allowing the authors to generate words in small chunks before continuing, rather than generate entire chapters at once like Sudowrite does.
But is this the right approach? And does Verb have any other redeeming features that are worth mentioning?
That’s what I’m getting into with this review.
- What Verb is
- An overview of Verb’s features
- How to write using Verb’s AI
- Pros and cons of the platform
Table of contents
With that in mind, let’s dive straight into the program.
As of this writing, Verb is in open beta, which means it is currently free to use while the programmers make improvements to the overall experience.
This is great news for the author who just wants to try some AI platforms to see if it will work for them.
But it also means that this program is not 100% finished, and they are still adding new features and refining others.
What Can Verb Do? My Thoughts
I’ve written an entire short story with Verb. I initially did this back when they first launched, and since then there have been improvements to some of the Large Language Models (LLMs) that they’ve used.
So for this review I had to go through and make sure I was up to date on everything.
In that time, Verb has added a number of features, and the quality of the output has made some improvements.
And let’s be realistic here, Verb isn’t busting at the seams with features. Instead, they’re taking more of a clean, minimalist approach (both in the features they offer and in the design) that is oddly refreshing. It all boils down to the following:
Let’s dive into all five of these individually:
1. Brainstorming Features
This is one of those features that is newer. Brainstorming allows authors to come up with not only your initial story ideas, but a lot of the beginner building blocks as well.
What I particularly like about the brainstorming features is that Verb is really good at identifying some of the most important elements that are needed to start a story.
And it’s focus is fairly minimalist. You can enter in your initial story idea, and it will generate several plot ideas from that concept.
From there, you pick the concept you like the most, and it expands on that, giving you ideas for characters, the first few scenes, and even the opening line.
These are all the more essential bits that you need to get started in Verb, so it’s a great way of getting you ready to write with as little starting material as possible.
And this is something I’ve noticed about Verb so far: it tends to cater well to pantsers (discovery writers) who don’t have a clear outline, and are more willing to just see where the story will take them. Verb gives you the essentials to start, but leaves a lot more for you to explore as you write.
This will become a common theme as I continue to unpack Verb’s features…
Once you have your initial building blocks, you can use Verb’s Planning section to do more plotting of your book.
For those of you who, like myself, prefer to outline more of your book, this is the place where you could do that.
The “Plan” section lets you go chapter by chapter and outline what happens in that chapter. While you will likely have to do a lot of input yourself, each chapter and scene does have the option to generate ideas for what that scene could be about using AI.
What the Plan section doesn’t have is the ability to auto-generate an entire outline using a common template (i.e. The Hero’s Journey, Save the Cat, etc.).
So it’s not perfect, but it does allow you to carefully summarize each scene, giving the AI a little extra context that will be important later on.
One of Verb’s strengths is its character section.
Why? Because you can essentially create a database of your characters, and later, while writing with the AI, this database will directly influence how the AI writes those characters.
So if you state that your character is sassy, they will appear sassy when the AI is writing that character later. The same is true if you describe your characters as gruff, down-to-earth, witty, sad, etc.
In short, you definitely want to make sure you’re taking advantage of this section.
And you can do this not only with characters, but with virtually anything. Because Verb allows you to take notes on any other random object, place, event, etc.
Which means the AI can remember relevant details later on when you’re writing.
Now while this feature is still rather basic, it’s an elegantly simple setup that works, and that many other AI tools don’t really have a good alternative for yet.
4. Writing with Verb
Everything we’ve talked about so far is all pre-writing stuff. What about the actual writing process?
This is, in my opinion, where Verb is the most unique.
While other AI tools try to make it easy for you to generate entire chapters at once, based on an overall chapter outline and story beats, Verb choses to use a more linear approach.
With Verb, you use slash commands that allow you to continue the narrative in smaller, controlled chunks.
There are many slash commands, but the two you will be using the most are:
- /describe – Which lets you briefly describe what should happen over the next 100-200 words
- /continue – Which gives the AI liberty to continue the story on its own to see where it goes without specific guidance.
For me personally, I use the /describe tool a lot more than /continue.
So basically, I’ll describe what happens next in the story, the AI writes 100-200 words of prose, then I edit those words to be what I want them to be, continue with the next 100-200 words, and so on.
And what I found is that this process actually put me in a flow state very similar to how I feel when I’m writing the traditional way. Which is actually pretty cool, and something I haven’t felt from any other AI tool.
I do think the folks at Verb should consider having other methods of text generation, because I do think that generating entire chapters at once using a pre-written outline is going to be how most AI authors will want to write.
However, I found Verb’s writing to be highly creatively inducing, and definitely an option that authors should consider. Especially discovery writers.
5. AI Book Analysis Tool
Another feature that is unique to Verb is their “Review” or analysis tab, which allows you to compare your written work against other bestsellers, which is a really novel (pardon the pun) idea.
It does so with a custom machine learning model that was trained by a variety of publishing professionals and thousands of bestselling manuscripts.
The folks at Verb claim that the “Critic” as they call it has been significantly accurate when tested on published work by professional writers.
The Critic rates your book on three main areas: Style, Themes, and Character, and creates your overall score from this.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t have much in the way of suggestions for how to improve the book, but I’m sure this is something they’re working on.
Pros: What I Liked About Verb
There is a lot to like about Verb, especially since it’s currently free. Here are a few of my favorite features:
- Pricing: Verb is currently free to use while in open beta. This allows authors to try it out before committing to a paid plan.
- Brainstorming features: Verb's AI can generate initial story ideas, characters, opening lines, etc. to help authors get started. It focuses on the key elements needed to begin writing.
- Character database: You can create detailed profiles for each character that will directly influence how the AI writes them later. This helps with consistency.
- Flow state writing: The slash commands allow writing the story in small chunks, which can feel similar to traditional writing and get you in a flow state.
- Book analysis tool: Verb has a unique “Critic” feature that analyzes your manuscript and compares it to bestsellers in areas like style, theme, and character. While basic, this could be useful feedback.
Cons: What I Would Like to See
Despite all of the listed pros, Verb definitely isn’t for everybody. In fact, while I still play with it from time to time, I personally don’t use it for any of my active writing projects. Here is a brief list of the reasons why.
- Still in development: Verb is still in open beta, so not all features are fully polished yet. There may be bugs or changes.
- Limited outlining features: You can outline each chapter, but there's no option to auto-generate a full outline from common templates.
- No chapter generation: Unlike some AI tools, Verb doesn't allow generating full chapters at once from an outline. This may not suit all writers.
- Basic analysis: The Critic feature provides only basic manuscript analysis and limited suggestions for improvement. More advanced analysis would be useful.
- Fewer features overall: Verb takes a minimalist approach compared to other AI writing tools like Sudowrite. Authors who want more advanced features may prefer the alternatives.
Who is Verb Best For?
Verb is a highly conscious piece of technology for writers, one that really understands the writing process and tries to cater to writers in that way.
However, I do think its lack of certain features make it better for some writers, but not for all.
For me, as an outliner, I do not use Verb heavily in my AI writing.
But for a discovery writer, someone who is making the story up bit by bit as they go along, Verb is a fantastic tool.
In fact, it might be better than any other AI tool for discovery writers, because it mimics that flow state for writers who write in a linear fashion.
However, if you’re looking for a tool that will take your chapter outline and generate the entire chapter at once, I would look at Sudowrite instead, because this is currently not a feature that Verb supports.
AI is an ever-shifting resource, and so there are a few additional resources that I would recommend if you want to stay on top of it.
The first, is my own YouTube channel, The Nerdy Novelist (a personal project, not associated with Kindlepreneur) where I provide almost daily videos about the goings on in AI.
The second is Future Fiction Academy, which is a paid subscription that gives you access to daily labs that are constantly exploring and keeping subscribers up to date on what AI can do.
Plus, it gives you a TON of instruction if you’re just starting out and just want to learn the basics.