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Websites to Diagnose Sentences and Suggest Rewrites

Is it cheating if you let an AI right your novel? What if it just helps you write it?

This site will judge your writings readability


Throw hard to read sentences in here for rewrite suggestions. It even gives you the option to select different wordings if you don't like the ones that generated.
 
Cheating? No more than a human editor. But, like a human editor, they might not do you that much good, heh heh. Readability is... umm... meaningless. Or close enough to it. They are handy for catching a limited number of errors and pointing out crazy sentences. But then, I like complicated sentences so long as they "work."
 

pmmg

Vala
I dont know if its cheating or not. I'd like to think I will remain an important part of the whole, but if it gets to I just fill in some characters, and some plot, and it spits out the completed novel. We may be in trouble. I'd say, as things are right now, its not cheating, but I suspect AI will be one us faster than we know it.
 
I have a mentor helping me out from time to time and he sent me an excerpt from a Greg Bear sci-fi novel and one of the sentences was longer than some of my paragraphs lol. To each their own.
 
Well, all things in moderation, even short sentences, heh heh. Hemingway himself wrote sentences longer than I have found useful. One was beautiful, of a man skiing down a mountain, with the flow of the words flowing and taking turns, but not stopping, like the skier. Well over 100 words.

There's a class on Great Courses by a prof from the Iowa Writers Workshop who goes into the beauty of long sentences. It's good. I think the drive toward short sentences was fueled by editors and agents getting manuscript after manuscript of poorly written long sentences, heh heh. It might go hand in hand with the dumbing down of readers.
I have a mentor helping me out from time to time and he sent me an excerpt from a Greg Bear sci-fi novel and one of the sentences was longer than some of my paragraphs lol. To each their own.
 

Mad Swede

Maester
Readability "statistics" are meaningless and useless. The length and complexity of your sentences should vary with what you are trying to convey. Trying to convey a sense of pace and/or rising tension might require shorter choppier sentences, where as longer sentences might be used when conveying the feelings a character gets when they first see the countryside spreading out beyond a mountain ridge. This is where a good editor (and a good working relationship with that editor) is so useful, they can help you work out the best mix of sentence structures and lengths for what you are trying to convey.
 
Not totally on topic, but I was just running through some work with grammarly and the program is flat out obsessed with changing every reference to dagger, blade, and rapier to "sword".

It started out an annoyance, moved to bringing a chuckle for a time, and now wants makes me want to slap the back of the programmer's head in LeRoy Jethro Gibbs style.
 
Maybe try stabbing the programmer with a dagger, a blade and a rapier, and ask if he noticed any difference between them... ;)

I think the main thing with many of these editing programs is that you need to be aware of their original intent. Most (if not all) were designed to edit formal, business letters (and similar). They're probably very useful if you're trying to writing a cover letter for a job application. However, that's very different from fiction (tone-wise at least...). And it requires very different editing.
 
Yeah, they're trying to get more fiction oriented, but it's a process. Plus, it's not meant to be a rubber stamp, it's more of a "think about this" situation. Some of them are just noodle-brained to demonstrate that the thing has no idea what the sentence is doing to remind you that it's a machine and not a person, LOL. I glance at but dismiss almost all suggestions that aren't basic spelling, punctuation, and grammar issues. Those I give a little more thought.
 
I might give one a try sometime, just to see if I can get it to fix my comma's. Somehow, I always put them in the wrong place. At least, my editor seems to move all I put in and add them wherever I left them out....
 
The trouble being that comma rules are not all set in stone, with optional commas. Commas are my curse, LMAO. Every time I get a grip on them I start overthinking them and screw myself up.
I might give one a try sometime, just to see if I can get it to fix my comma's. Somehow, I always put them in the wrong place. At least, my editor seems to move all I put in and add them wherever I left them out....
 
I was thinking of signing up for a Grammerly subscription. It seems pretty useful, but I agree that the AI would not have a clear understanding of most sentences and their underlining intent. I used a bit of flair when describing a home with a bunch of bobbles everywhere as "strewn with knicks and knacks of all sorts". The AI just wasn't having it. For me, Quilbot is useful for when I struggle with a sentence that just doesn't read out well. I can throw it into the AI blender and start adjusting it into something that really rolls of the tongue.
 
It seems pretty useful, but I agree that the AI would not have a clear understanding of most sentences and their underlining intent.
Calling Grammarly (and similar programs) an AI is vastly overstating its abilities. Grammarly, as far as I understand it, is simply a rule based program. It has got a bunch of grammar rules, which it uses to check text. Yes, they're complex rules, and they're improving them constantly. But it's still just a computer program applying rules.
 

pmmg

Vala
Yeah. I would not call grammarly an AI. AI are already able to write whole stories, make art in other forms, and have whole conversations with ppl that feel authentic. And we are at the point where is not slow advances anymore. They may be writing novels of their own before you know it. If AIs move to understanding art and complex concepts like humor and drama, they will certainly be able to make stuff that makes it tough to compete.

I am not sure where something improved by an ai becomes cheating, but i think it does at some point. One day i am driving in a car with a gps telling me where to turn, another the car cuts out the middleman and makes all the turns for me. Somewhere in there i stopped being the driver.
 
In my experience these are useless if you're fluent in English. If you're still learning basic English, things like Grammarly can help, but if you know the language then you know more than those programs do. They'll only throw up false flags and stifle your writing.

As for AI, they generally aren't able to write full stories. oh, sure, you see those "I forced this AI to read all of harry Potter and made it write a chapter" things going around, but they're usually one good chapter in twenty tries, the most coherent parts are copy-pasted straight from the learning data sets, and they can't hold up coherently for very long at all.

AIs can write passable repetitive music and have short conversations with forgiving conversation partners. But if you want them to write stories or draw art, your choices are "so generic a product there's barely a reason for it to exist", "vague and artsy to the point of uselessness", or "needs so much editing I might as well do it myself from scratch". They can be fun for idea generation though.
 

Puck

Minstrel
AI was also responsible for creating the content of KFC's ill fated Kristallnacht promotion.

They also release an AI chat bot on Twitter a couple of years back and, since it learns by Machine Learning, it quickly learnt to troll people and be racist and offensive.

They can write coherent short form blogs though. As long as it is standard output you are looking for. They can't do anything really creative or different. They are trend followers not trend setters.
 

Ban

Troglodytic Trouvère
Article Team
There is only one "cheating" in literature and it's called blatant plagiarism. Using a tool, regardless of how much code is involved, is fair game.

I tested the Hemingway app on an old unedited prose poem of mine, and I'd say it was fairly useful. Of course, one should use these things as a way to discover things to think about. User discretion is advised.
 
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