Writing Revolution: How AI Will Transform Your Book’s Outline

outline story with AI

It’s not easy to write a story. This is coming from an author who has placed dozens of books on the Amazon bestselling thriller lists.

Outlines make the process easier, but who enjoys constructing an outline from scratch and dealing with the minutia? By the time we finish the outline, we’re already sick of the story.

That’s where AI comes in. Today, I’ll show you how to build your outline with AI as a creative partner. Note: You will not ask AI to write your entire outline for you, although the latest technology advances allow for this. As powerful as tools like ChatGPT are becoming, they can’t compete with human ingenuity and creativity. Rather, we want to use AI as a partner, a friend to bounce ideas off, a developmental editor who will suggest changes to take our stories from mundane to extraordinary.

As aspiring and seasoned authors alike understand, the significance of a well-thought-out story outline is crucial for the success of your project. It streamlines the writing process and lays the groundwork for a more engaging and immersive reader experience.

AI prompts opens new door of inspiration and creativity. We will explore how these artificial intelligence-driven suggestions can act as sparks of ingenuity, helping authors overcome creative blocks and enrich their storytelling. 

The Role of AI in Storytelling

AI-Generated Prompts

 AI-generated prompts serve as tools for authors seeking inspiration and direction in their storytelling. By leveraging artificial intelligence, writers gain access to a diverse range of ideas and suggestions that can ignite the creative process. These prompts provide a starting point, offering themes, character traits, and plot elements that authors can use as a foundation for their narratives. The beauty of AI-generated prompts lies in their ability to break through creative blocks, presenting authors with fresh perspectives that they might not have considered on their own. Through understanding and utilizing these prompts, authors can enhance the depth and richness of their stories, infusing a new level of creativity into their writing.

AI as a Source of Inspiration for Authors

 AI plays a transformative role in storytelling by acting as a source of inspiration for authors. Its algorithms analyze vast amounts of data to suggest unique and unconventional ideas, pushing writers beyond their comfort zones. This injection of fresh concepts stimulates creativity, helping authors envision storylines and characters they might not have imagined independently. By embracing AI as a creative partner, authors open doors to new ideas for their stories, enriching their work with innovative elements.

Advantages of Incorporating AI into your Outlines

 The integration of AI into the outlining phase brings forth a multitude of advantages for authors. Firstly, it enhances efficiency by expediting the idea generation process, allowing writers to develop comprehensive outlines quicker. The collaborative nature of AI prompts authors to structure their narratives cohesively, ensuring a logical and engaging flow. Moreover, the benefits extend to overcoming writer’s block, as AI prompts provide a constant well of inspiration to draw from during the outlining phase. Ultimately, by embracing AI in the initial stages of crafting a story, authors stand to benefit from a streamlined and enriched creative process, leading to more compelling and well-structured narratives.

Getting Started with AI Prompts

 Choosing a reliable AI tool is the first crucial step in incorporating AI prompts into your writing process. Look for platforms with a proven track record, user-friendly interfaces, and positive reviews from fellow authors. A reliable AI tool should offer a diverse range of prompt options, ensuring it aligns with your specific storytelling needs. 

ChatGPT is my tool of choice. But I also like Sudowrite, which utilizes various AI platforms to help you build outlines, story beats, and even prose from your ideas.


Give me an idea for a horror novel with disturbing overtones that doesn’t include a serial killer, ghosts, or demonic possession.


Mother’s Recipe

  • A young woman finds her late grandmother’s recipe book. Every dish she makes from it is incredibly delicious. But as she tries more recipes, she realizes the secret ingredient is something sinister.

Customization Options for Your Prompts

 Choose AI tools that allow you to adjust parameters such as tone, genre, and complexity. This enables you to fine-tune the prompts to match your story. The ability to customize prompts ensures that the AI serves as a flexible and adaptive creative assistant. Never forget your creative intentions. AI should help you, not replace you.

Adding AI prompts into Your Creative Process

 Start by setting aside time for brainstorming and prompt exploration. Ask AI suggestions to influence your initial ideas if you’re struggling to come up with a good story, but ensure the prompts enhance rather than dominate your creative process. 


Here is my story synopsis: <insert synopsis> Can you help me with the pacing so the story arc doesn’t feel rushed?

Enhancing Character Development With AI

Ever create a character who felt flat and needed something extra to make the story interesting?

I’m sure you haven’t. But I have. This is where AI shines.

Allow me to provide an example for a book I’m creating right now. Yes, I’m giving you a peek behind the curtains.


Here is a description of my story’s protagonist, Nia Carter: A determined black female private investigator in her mid-30s. Former NYPD detective who moved to the Finger Lakes region to escape the haunting memories of a case gone wrong. She has a sharp mind and is haunted by a past that often intrudes into her dreams. She’s driven by a passion for justice and a keen sense for detail.

Nia has a neighbor in her 80s named Janet Smith. Please help me weave Janet into the story and make her a motherly figure who helps Nia grow in life and as an investigator.


Mrs. Janet Smith is a spry octogenarian with snow-white hair, always neatly pinned in a classic bun. Her eyes, a sharp blue, shine with mischief and wisdom. Always dressed in modest floral dresses, with a string of pearls adorning her neck, Janet radiates a sense of timelessness. She walks with a cane, more out of habit than necessity, and has an uncanny ability to appear just when someone needs a listening ear or sage advice.


Janet has lived in the Finger Lakes region all her life. Widowed early, she’s known her fair share of heartache but has always believed in the resilience of the human spirit. Janet was a schoolteacher, much like Nia’s own mother, and has an insightful understanding of human nature, often drawing from her own experiences.

 The Smith property, adjacent to Nia’s, has been in Janet’s family for generations. The land is dotted with apple orchards, and every fall, Janet’s homemade apple pies are a much-awaited treat in the community.

Wow. That’s more than I asked for, and a lot of it is quite good. I can pick and choose what I want to keep or reject. Regardless, ChatGPT provided color and depth to Janet Smith’s character and sparked my imagination for more brainstorming.

We can use AI to develop unique traits, backstories, and motivations for our characters. AI tools often suggest unconventional character elements which we wouldn’t have considered. This contributes to the creation of more nuanced and dynamic personas. Integrating AI into the character development process helps authors break away from predictable archetypes, fostering the creation of well-rounded and engaging characters that resonate with readers.

Finding Your Balance With AI

 While AI prompts offer valuable ideas, you must infuse your characters with your unique voice and vision. You’re the creator, after all.

What do I suggest?

Use AI suggestions to enhance rather than overshadow your authorial creativity. Make sure your characters remain authentic and aligned with your storytelling style by combining artificial inspiration with personal insight.

How AI Can Benefit Plot Structure

Authors can utilize AI-generated prompts to refine their story structure, ensuring a well-defined and engaging narrative progression. This collaborative approach enhances the coherence of the plot, providing a framework that guides authors through the essential elements of a compelling story arc.


Acting as a developmental editor, use the hero’s journey to suggest ways for Nia’s character to more gradually complete her growth arc by the end of the story.

Using AI to Overcome Writer’s Block

 Not only does AI help you overcome writer’s block, it provides tips for a seamless plot progression. When authors encounter creative hurdles, AI prompts offer alternative ideas and directions, acting as a catalyst for inspiration. By incorporating AI suggestions during the writing process, authors can navigate through challenging plot points. 


I’m writing a short story for a horror anthology. Please suggest a plot idea that has supernatural or paranormal overtones, but does not include vampires or werewolves.


The Children’s Playground

  • A man moves into a house next to an old, dilapidated playground. Every night, he hears children laughing and playing, but there are no children in sight. As he investigates, he discovers the children died in a tragic accident years ago.

Creating the Outline

Now that you know how to piece your ideas together with AI as your assistant, you can write your outline line by line. Or you can ask AI to take your characters, plot, and arcs, and build the outline.


Please create an outline for my horror short story “The Black Rain”, based on our conversation to this point.


I. Introduction
A. Setting the stage: A beach town in Southern New Jersey called Seavista Cape
B. The narrator recalls the legend of “the black rain” – a stormy period in late fall that brings a sense of unease and foreboding to the town.

II. The Arrival of The Black Rain
A. The town is deluged in storminess and dark clouds, and the atmosphere becomes eerie.
B. The narrator describes the peculiar changes in the environment, such as the scent of salt and wet sand in the air.
C. The community is excited about the arrival of the black rain, which gives way to the joys of the Christmas holidays, but the narrator has an ominous feeling.

III. The Mysterious Murders
A. A series of brutal murders occur in Seavista Cape during the black rain.
B. The victims are all blond women, and their bodies are found in various locations.
C. The town is in a state of panic as fear and suspicions grow.

IV. The Narrator’s Growing Paranoia
A. The narrator becomes increasingly paranoid as the murders continue.
B. They question their own sanity and struggle with a flu-like sickness that leaves him feverish and drained.
C. The narrator suspects that someone close to him may be the killer.

V. The Shocking Twist
A. The narrator discovers that they are too sick to recall events from the past week.
B. The narrator discovers a bloody-crusted knife, matted with blond hair, hidden beneath the sink.
C. The story ends on an ambiguous note, leaving the reader with lingering questions about the nature of the narrator’s evil.


All that’s left to do is edit the outline to your specifications. Then you can write the story, knowing everything is in place for the perfect narrative.

Refining Your Unique Voice

While AI provides helpful prompts, it’s crucial to filter these ideas and align them with your unique voice. AI is a complementary tool, not a replacement for your creative gift with words. The fusion of AI suggestions and personal authenticity guarantees an authentic (and unique) piece of work.

Blending AI With Your Unique Voice

Authors should incorporate AI suggestions that resonate with their vision. Find a balance that elevates the story (or provides a starting point for a plot) without diluting your voice. This ensures that AI serves as a supportive tool that offers ideas and suggests ways to tighten your narrative.

Showcasing Your Unique Voice in Your Final Product

The ultimate goal of integrating AI into your creative process is to showcase your unique voice in your final narrative. Through a thoughtful combination of AI-driven suggestions and personal insights, authors craft a narrative that reflect their distinctive styles. The final story is a collaboration between human creativity and AI assistance.


Weaving AI prompts into the outlining process of your story fosters creativity, refines the outline process, and introduces innovative ideas. This collaborative integration streamlines the writing journey and enhances the depth and structure of narratives.

Embrace experimentation and find your distinct approach to integrating AI prompts. Writers, each on their unique creative path, can uncover unexplored possibilities by striking a balance that resonates with their personal style. Experimentation with AI prompts allows authors to expand the horizons of their storytelling.

The use of AI in writing reflects a dynamic shift in the creative landscape. Authors are presented with unprecedented opportunities to refine their craft. While AI stands as a valuable ally, it is crucial to remember that the heart of storytelling lies within human voice and creativity. Utilizing AI in writing invites thoughtful consideration, recognizing the potential for collaboration between human ingenuity and artificial intelligence to shape the future of narrative expression.

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