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Writers' News

ChatGPT showed me just how far it is from writing a blockbuster

techradar.com – Sunday February 26, 2023

10,000 hours. That’s how long, at least according to author Malcolm Gladwell, it’s supposed to take to master a craft. Or, if you’re an AI a matter of months, weeks, or days.

When I read that ChatGPT is now such an adept writer it’s already authored hundreds of books on Amazon’s self-publishing service, I experienced a mini freakout. To be clear, OpenAI’s groundbreaking chatbot is not publishing these tomes on its own. People are working with ChatGPT to develop themes, stories, and chapters for their books.

My immediate reaction was, “I’m doomed.” But as the icy chill of that cold reality receded, I considered something else. Anyone can write and publish a book, and most of them won’t be very good.

[Read the full article]

Thrillers, Yes—Join the Genre

By G. Miki Hayden
Instructor at Writer's Digest University online and private writing coach

firstwriter.com – Sunday February 26, 2023

5 Ideas for Finally Making BIG Money

Don’t say I told you this, but Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide is listed by Amazon as one of its big sellers already this year. It’s also a thriller. The book is from Simon and Schuster.

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Roald Dahl publisher to release original versions after backlash

reuters.com – Sunday February 26, 2023

LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Roald Dahl's famous children's books including "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "Matilda" will be published uncensored later this year said publisher Puffin, bowing to pressure after a public outcry over modernised versions.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was among those to have criticised the "airbrushing" of literature on Monday after a report in The Daily Telegraph showed 2022 versions of the children's books had removed or changed references to gender, race and physical appearance to avoid causing offence.

The "enormously fat" Augustus Gloop from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" was just "enormous" in last year's version, while Mrs Twit from "The Twits" was no longer "ugly". News of the changes sparked a national debate.

[Read the full article]

New Literary Agent Listing: Chelsea Hensley

firstwriter.com – Friday February 24, 2023

In general, here are some of the things I love to see in a manuscript: Intricate plots and complex emotional arcs; Whipsmart protagonists who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. There’s nothing I love more than a main character who throws themselves into the thick of things and doesn’t look back; Female friendship, partnerships, rivalries, and everything in between are high up on my wishlist. Girls, girls, girls basically. I prefer narratives to be female driven, and I’d love to see more F/F romantic pairings; I’m a big fan of spies, assassins, thieves and other rogue-ish characters; I love, love, love heists; and I’d love to see some great antiheroes or characters embarking on redemption arcs.

[See the full listing]

Andlyn founder Andrew-Lynch joins Curtis Brown

thebookseller.com – Thursday February 23, 2023

Davinia Andrew-Lynch, the founder of boutique agency Andlyn, has joined Curtis Brown. 

Andrew-Lynch ran Andlyn for seven years, representing mainly children’s content and adult commercial fiction across all genres. Among her clients are Annabelle Sami, Malcolm Duffy, Bex Hogan, Faye Brann and Adam Douglas-Bagley.

Prior to this, she worked as a film and TV agent and freelance editor. She also helped to co-create the FAB Prize alongside Faber Children’s. The prize aims to discover Black and minority ethnic authors and illustrators. 

As she joins Curtis Brown, Andrew-Lynch is looking to grow a list of commercial adult fiction alongside her existing list in children’s and YA. She will be based in London, joining the Curtis Brown team at their new offices on Regent Street.

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Sci-fi publisher Clarkesworld halts pitches amid deluge of AI-generated stories

theguardian.com – Wednesday February 22, 2023

One of the most prestigious publishers of science fiction short stories has closed itself to submissions after a deluge of AI-generated pitches overwhelmed its editorial team.

Clarkesworld, which has published writers including Jeff VanderMeer, Yoon Ha Lee and Catherynne Valente, is one of the few paying publishers to accept open submissions for short stories from new writers.

But that promise brought it to the attention of influencers promoting “get rich quick” schemes using AI, according to founding editor Neil Clarke.

In a typical month, the magazine would normally receive 10 or so such submissions that were deemed to have plagiarised other authors, he wrote in a blogpost. But since the release of ChatGPT last year pushed AI language models into the mainstream, the rate of rejections has rocketed.

In January, Clarke said, the publisher rejected 100 submissions, banning their “authors” from submitting again. In February to date, he has banned more than 500.

[Read the full article]

Publisher of Roald Dahl books in French has ‘no plans’ for rewrite

theguardian.com – Wednesday February 22, 2023

The French publishers of Roald Dahl have ruled out any changes to the late British author’s translated books after it emerged that English editions were being rewritten for modern audiences.

Gallimard said on Tuesday the original texts would “remain intact” after the UK publisher Puffin hired sensitivity readers to remove language deemed inappropriate.

“This rewriting only affects Great Britain. We have never modified Roald Dahl’s writings and we have no plans to do so today,” a spokesperson for the publisher’s children’s department said.

The changes to characters and language in the author’s popular children’s books provoked a wave of debate. The author Sir Salman Rushdie wrote on Twitter: “Roald Dahl was no angel but this is absurd censorship/ Puffin Books and the Dahl estate should be ashamed.”

[Read the full article]

These authors are using ChatGPT to write books and sell them on Amazon

nypost.com – Wednesday February 22, 2023

Until recently, Brett Schickler never imagined he could be a published author, though he had dreamed about it. But after learning about the ChatGPT artificial intelligence program, Schickler figured an opportunity had landed in his lap.

“The idea of writing a book finally seemed possible,” said Schickler, a salesman in Rochester, NY. “I thought, ‘I can do this.'”

Using the AI software, which can generate blocks of text from simple prompts, Schickler created a 30-page illustrated children’s e-book in a matter of hours, offering it for sale in January through Amazon’s self-publishing unit.

[Read the full article]

Brian Cox and Salman Rushdie lead backlash against 'absurd censorship' of Roald Dahl's classic books to remove 'offensive' language - as 'woke' publishing censors are accused of 'McCarthyism'

dailymail.co.uk – Monday February 20, 2023

Sir Salman Rushdie and Brian Cox have led an angry backlash against 'absurd censorship' of Roald Dahl's classic children's books after 'woke' publishers removed 'offensive' language and are accused of 'McCarthyism'. 

Cox, who has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, said the censorship is a form of 'woke culture' which wants to reinterpret everything.

Rushdie, who was stabbed, losing the sight in one eye, for protecting free speech and 'attacking Islam', said the changes were 'absolute censorship'.

The intervention comes as hundreds of changes have been made to the beloved children's books, including no longer referring to Augustus Gloop as 'fat'. 

Other characters have had their genders changed and words like 'mad' and crazy' have been removed by sensitivity readers. 

[Read the full article]

People are Flooding Magazines With AI-Written Fiction Because They Think They’ll Make Money

themarysue.com – Saturday February 18, 2023

Neil Clarke, editor of the science fiction and fantasy magazine Clarkesworld, recently reported an unsettling trend: a huge increase in the number of fiction submissions plagiarized using AI.

The essay Clarke links to goes into more detail about would-be contributors using AI programs to scrape existing published stories and repackage them as original works. AI writing tools have proliferated in recent years, claiming to write original stories but delivering mixed results. In one Clarkesworld submission, Clarke writes, someone submitted a story with the following sentence: “Sitting on its three years’ experience, the fittest Shell was originally the size of more android subliminal observations than any other single subject in the Grandma.” The submission was reconstituted from a story published in 1956.

Clarke writes that he bans plagiarists from submitting again, but at least one has complained that they “need the money.” As his graph shows, the amount of Clarkesworld submissions has ballooned over the past few weeks, and many of them are AI-generated.

Woof. Where to start?

[Read the full article]

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