An Introduction to AI Story Generation
Storytelling is an age-old tradition used for entertainment and education. For centuries, stories have been told orally or through written texts. It is a powerful tool to convey messages, emotions, and knowledge to fellow humans. In fact, those who mastered the art of storytelling have been revered for their ability to captivate an audience.
What was once deemed a natural or acquired gift is now one step closer to becoming an automated process with the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Relatively new in the world of AI, story generation is a technology that uses a host of algorithms and techniques to generate stories. This technology makes waves in the writing world, allowing virtually anyone to create stories with an AI-generated twist.
This blog post will discuss what story generation is, how it works, and why it has become so popular. We’ll also look at some of the challenges associated with this technology and potential applications for writers who want to explore this exciting field.
Table of contents
- An Introduction to AI Story Generation
- What is Automated Story Generation?
- Non-Learning Story Generation Systems
- Story Planners
- Case-Based Reasoning
- Neural Language Models
- Neuro-Symbolic Generation
- Best Ways to Use AI Story Generators for Your Business?
- How do you choose the right AI story generator?
- How can you ensure your AI story generator produces quality content?
- What are the risks of using AI story generators?
- What are the Best AI Story Generator Tools?
- Final thoughts on AI story generators
What is Automated Story Generation?
Before we dive into how you can leverage AI to write stories, let’s quickly cover the basics of automated story generation. As the name implies, it involves using AI algorithms to generate stories. In this case, stories are simply narratives, usually involving characters and a plot. In order to get the most out of an AI assistant, it helps to understand the underlying technology that makes it possible.
There are various approaches to story generation, which we’ll discuss in the following sections.
Non-Learning Story Generation Systems
Non-learning story generation does not involve any type of machine learning technology, instead relying on predefined rules to generate stories. They rely on knowledge engineering, which means rules are created for different story elements, such as characters, plotlines, and dialog. When combined, these rules can be used to generate a digital story.
Non-learning systems typically require humans to provide an input sequence, such as the genre, setting, and characters, to generate the story. This type of system works well when creating a basic narrative framework for pre-defined stories. For instance, Dave Rumelhart proposed a grammar for story understanding in 1975.
However, one of the main drawbacks of non-learning systems is their limited ability to understand a story’s context and adapt it to create something relevant or engaging.
Although not quite categorized as artificial intelligence, story planners like Tale-Spin exhibit some AI-like behavior. Tale-Spin is a computer program that allows you to plan stories, such as novels, scripts, and short stories. It uses various techniques to automatically generate a list of events with characters, scenes, and settings.
The goal-driven process of a story planner allows users to create unique and interesting stories by providing them with high-level objectives. A list of propositions is given to carry story ideas from the initial stage to the ultimate goal. The goal hierarchies of story world elements, such as characters and locations, are then used to generate the content for the different story segments.
Just like a human writer, case-based reasoning uses the memories of solutions to similar problems to generate new stories. This approach utilizes a database of existing stories, which can be stored as templates or plots. The events in stories are represented as cases and stored in the system.
As such, a linkage between story coherence and the story database is established to provide a meaningful narrative. The story generator can match a new problem with an existing solution, making modifications as needed to produce a suitable output.
Character simulation is another similar technology used in conjunction with case-based reasoning. However, instead of working from the author’s point of view, it assumes the point of view of a character in the story. It then simulates their emotions and decisions, thus creating an interactive story for readers to enjoy.
Different characters with different goals form their own plans with a hierarchical task network planner. Depending on the context, the agents may be forced to replan, thus creating more interesting and dynamic stories.
Neural Language Models
In contrast to the previously mentioned methods, neural language models use machine learning techniques to generate stories. These models use deep learning algorithms to process large amounts of data and understand underlying patterns in the text. The power of a neural network enables these models to acquire knowledge from corpora of text and generate stories with coherent structures, even when they have not been seen before.
This is full-fledged artificial intelligence. An explanation generation language model can be trained to generate explanations for why something is the case. For example, a story about two characters might explain how one character felt jealous of the other. This natural language understanding of the characters and situation would be hard to achieve with non-learning models.
One problem with using a natural language output is the data it was trained on. Since stories are naturally made to be unique, thus vastly different from each other, using story corpora of existing works may lead to unpredictable results. In 2018, Martin et al. addressed this issue by converting stories from natural language to event tuples, which can be used to make more robust training data.
For instance, the story “A thief breaks into an old mansion” could be converted to: (Person1, Action, Location). By converting stories into this form first, the neural networks can generate more accurate stories. Natural language understanding is also improved as the model can learn how to connect different event tuples when generating stories. Since the converted stories are hard for humans to understand, they can undergo “eventification” to turn them back into natural language through a lossy process.
Finally, generating natural language sentences is usually done using tokens of memory. These tokens represent strings of words that are combined to produce meaningful sentences. The AI can “look back” at memory tokens when generating a sentence so that it can reference prior statements and create more accurate stories. All modern transformers, such as GPT-2, GPT-3, and BART, use this method.
One problem with the above method is the backward-looking approach. Narrative psychology has shown that stories are generated by looking forward rather than backward, the perfect solution has yet to be found.
The new field of Neuro-Symbolic Generation is tackling this problem by combining machine learning with symbolic AI. It uses the strengths of both approaches to generate stories in a way that more accurately reflects how a hypothetical reader would interpret the story. The mental models readers form are not representable by data in the same way story corpora are, so this approach is advantageous.
In this method, a system can parse generated sentences to mimic human narrative understanding. The system can reject or modify its generated sentences if the generation does not match the expected understanding. This enables a more accurate generation of stories that fit our narrative structure and expectations. As such, we can say that it is as much a reader as it is a generator.
Best Ways to Use AI Story Generators for Your Business?
With all these approaches to story generation, businesses of all sizes have started to leverage AI story generators for various use cases. The most common is using input sentences as prompts and having the AI generate relevant stories. Businesses can use this to create
captivating content such as news articles, blog posts, or even advertising copy.
Here are the main benefits of doing so:
The ability to generate high-quality content quickly and easily
Creative writing is often seen as a laborious task that takes a lot of time for a story writer to get right. It requires countless edits, revisions, and plenty of time. But perhaps the worst part about it is writer’s block. Many people get stuck looking at a blank page, unable to move forward. This is where AI story generators come in. They can provide a much-needed spark of inspiration, helping kickstart the creative process.
In addition to saving time, these tools provide high-quality outputs often indistinguishable from human-written stories. AI story generators can also generate content on specific topics, which helps businesses target their content more effectively. The amount of time you can save by using these tools is substantial, and it can help you get your content out faster than ever before.
Improved Customer Experience
Artificial intelligence algorithms can be used to generate stories in a more personalized manner. AI story generators can take a customer’s preferences, interests, and other data about them into account when generating content. Businesses can provide customers with engaging content tailored just for them.
Plus, with the arrival of AI-assisted chatbots, businesses can use AI story generators to power their conversations with customers. This technology can help create an engaging customer experience, which will lead to more sales and better customer retention rates. Businesses can measure insights into reader reactions in real-time, allowing them to respond quickly and adapt their content.
Generate ideas for stories
Coming up with a relevant story plot takes more than commonsense knowledge. It requires you to tap into the collective consciousness and develop a creative idea that resonates with the target audience. AI story generators use vast amounts of data to do the heavy lifting for you and come up with ideas for stories.
For instance, they can generate stories using various parameters such as genre, tone, length, and plot structure. A company selling a product can use these parameters to generate stories that showcase its product in a positive light. In addition, businesses can use these generators to come up with ideas for marketing campaigns, promotional videos, and much more.
Create entire stories on your own
The process of writing a creative story goes far beyond ideation. It requires you to weave the characters, settings, and plot elements together in a way that engages readers. Even dialogue and description must be crafted in a precise manner if you want the story to be effective. Knowledge acquisition, understanding, and creative thinking are all essential components of the writing process.
With AI-assisted storytelling, businesses can generate entire stories on their own. Trained AI models can generate stories from scratch, meaning businesses no longer have to rely on human writers. This strategy will save them money in the long run and provide a platform for experimentation and exploration that would otherwise not be possible.
Edit and improve existing stories
A human reader will only respond to engaging stories. Oftentimes, the first draft of a story is not enough, and it needs to be edited for clarity, structure, and flow. AI-assisted editing can help with this process by suggesting improvements or alternatives for the existing story. AI-assisted editing is also a great way to find potential errors the writer may have overlooked.
AI story generators can automate certain editing processes, such as grammar correction, spelling checks, and sentence structure optimization. Plagiarism checkers also help ensure the content is publish-worthy.
How do you choose the right AI story generator?
Not every story generator AI technology is the same. To get the most out of your AI story generator, you need to ensure it has the right features and capabilities for your business needs. You need to evaluate several aspects to choose an AI story generator that fits your needs.
The type of content you want to create
AI-generated stories vary greatly depending on your goals. If you need to create content for marketing purposes, then it is important to choose a story generator that is tailored for this purpose. Similarly, if you are creating stories for entertainment purposes, you should select an AI story generator specializing in these types of scenarios.
You can then further analyze your needs depending on the exact type of content you want to create. For example, marketing copy might be a blog post or an email, whereas entertainment stories may be for a novel or comic book with image-generation capabilities.
Of course, business owners should account for the cost of the AI story generator in their budget. Prices vary depending on the features and capabilities, so it is important to research different options and select one that meets your budget needs. The end goal is still to turn a profit, so it is best to find a balance between cost and quality.
When selecting an AI story generator, also consider the cost of training the models. If you want to use custom datasets or need additional features that require more data, then be sure to factor in these costs as well.
Your skills and experience
Creating compelling stories requires skill, even when using AI technology. It is crucial to evaluate the skills and experience you bring to the table to ensure you have enough knowledge to create high-quality stories. Understanding how AI works, the form of story corpora you have available, and other related topics are all important factors to consider.
You may also need to invest in additional training or tutorials if you don’t have enough experience with using AI-assisted stories. It will help ensure that your stories effectively reach the intended audience to achieve the desired goals.
The features you need
What kind of artificial intelligence algorithms are used in the AI story generator? Do you need natural language processing (NLP) capabilities or text-to-speech features? How many tokens of memory does the AI story generator have? These are all questions you should consider when selecting an AI story generator.
You should also look at non-writing features. Image generators like Stable Diffusion and DALL-E are becoming just as important as AI writers. They can help you create visuals to accompany your stories, making them more engaging and immersive for readers. Additionally, it is also essential to consider the amount of time needed to generate a story or image with the AI story generator, as this may affect deadlines.
Using an AI story generator online is usually done through a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform. That means a third-party provider manages the model, providing easy access to the robust AI technology behind the scenes. In this case, it is important to evaluate the customer support provided by the provider to make sure you can get help if you encounter any issues.
There may be unscheduled downtime or maintenance breaks. Issues may arise with the model, or you may need help understanding how to use the tool to get the best results. In these cases, customer support is essential. So make sure you select a provider offering phone and email support and other channels like live chat.
Evaluate how fast their response time is and if they have a team of experts available for deeper inquiries. Reading customer reviews can also be helpful in this regard. Lastly, some generators have large communities behind them where members can ask questions and get help from experienced users, so consider this as an option when selecting a generator.
While a completely free AI story generator is rare due to the nature of token-based models, some services offer free trial periods. Taking advantage of these can be helpful in getting an understanding of how the tool works and if it meets your needs before you commit to paying for a subscription.
If you want more access after the trial period is up, you can upgrade as needed. Additionally, some providers offer lower-cost subscription plans that allow you to access the basic features of the AI story generator. Take the opportunity to test drive multiple services to find the one that best suits your needs. It’s the perfect solution to test the AI story generator without any risk.
Finally, a story AI generator might come with a money-back guarantee. This is an important factor to consider as it assures you that you won’t be out of pocket if the generator doesn’t meet your standards. In this case, it is advisable to evaluate the terms and conditions of the guarantee to understand what is covered and what isn’t.
Money-back guarantees are ideal when upgrading to a higher plan that promises extra features and abilities. If the new version does not deliver the expected results, you can get a full refund and save yourself from wasting money on something that doesn’t work for you.
How can you ensure your AI story generator produces quality content?
We are not yet at the stage where AI can produce content as good as human writers autonomously. As such, a collaborative effort is needed between human writers and AI to create a coherent story. Your main task is to oversee the process, make sure the model is producing content that matches your vision, and edit where necessary.
It all starts with story elements like the appearance of character conflict and character goals. The AI won’t necessarily come up with the same elements you have in mind, so providing precise and detailed instructions is vital. This will help the AI model better understand what kind of content you seek and increase the chances of producing a coherent story.
You should also provide explicit feedback about what works and does not work in terms of content. Steer the AI model in the right direction and help refine the output until it meets your standards.
Finally, pay attention to the data you are using for training. The data quality will determine how accurately the model can generate content that matches your vision. Make sure you curate high-quality datasets and use them for training a robust model. Fine-tuning and tweaking are often necessary to get the best results.
What are the risks of using AI story generators?
Using machine learning approaches to write long-form stories isn’t without risk. For one, machine learning algorithms still struggle with context history. Most will be able to recall the earlier context, but only up to a certain point. The longer a story is, the greater the chance of forgetting crucial plot points and characters.
In addition, machine learning models can be quite brittle when it comes to understanding nuances in language and writing style. There is a risk that some stories may sound robotic or overly simplistic due to the lack of sentiment and emotion. It is your job as the writer to bring the story to life by adding a human touch.
Finally, the fact that neural networks use past data to generate content means that stories generated may contain plagiarized content. It is always recommended to double-check stories generated by AI story generators and make sure nothing has been copied from another source. In a similar vein, bias can also be introduced into stories if the datasets used for training are not properly curated. From racial biases to gender stereotypes, it is important to monitor and edit stories to reflect more inclusive values.
What are the Best AI Story Generator Tools?
Most AI tools on the market today use memory tokens, sentence-level language models, or a hybrid of both to generate stories. While the following is not an exhaustive list, some of the most popular AI story generator tools include:
As a language model AI, ChatGPT is quite good in generating stories. It can generate coherent and logical plots and characters, and create captivating narratives. However, the quality of the stories generated by ChatGPT is highly dependent on the quality and quantity of training data it was trained on. Additionally, the language used in the stories generated by ChatGPT can sometimes be repetitive or lack originality, as the model is limited by the patterns it has learned from the training data. Overall, ChatGPT can be a useful tool for generating stories, but the output may still require significant editing and refinement to be suitable for publication.
Jasper AI is the biggest name in the AI story generator space at the time of writing. Based on OpenAI’s GPT-3 language model, this tool offers an easy-to-use interface and powerful features. It allows you to generate stories with a few simple clicks and customize the output in terms of length and genre.
Jasper is mostly geared towards the corporate world, with dozens of templates for content ranging from product promotions to marketing stories. It is cloud-based and requires no downloads, making it ideal for those who need on-demand and automated story-generation capabilities. It also has larger context windows that allow it to recall more information and generate longer stories.
Finally, image generation is part of the app, although it does come at an additional cost. Once again, it relies on OpenAI, using DALL-E to generate images based on descriptions. Jasper’s annual plan lets you save up to 17% on monthly fees.
An AI story generator free of charge, Rytr is a good choice for those just starting to explore the world of AI-generated content. Rytr is great for copywriting tasks, with many templates and customization options. As such, it may be better suited for short-form stories such as ads and emails.
The free plan allows up to 10,000 characters of text per month. Still, it offers great features, such as an editor for customizing stories and a natural language processing tool for polishing the end results. A premium community of writers is also available, even for free users. As for the paid plan, it is still much less expensive than Jasper AI, at $29 per month. You’ll benefit from unlimited characters and access to priority customer service.
While the two previous AI story generators focus on corporate customers, SudoWrite is a great option for aspiring authors writing fictional stories. Whether it be a screenplay or novel, this tool is fine-tuned on a story corpus, making it ideal for speculative fiction. You can create captivating stories with their various tools.
Some of these include the “show, don’t tell” mode, which helps you add more vivid details and descriptions to your stories. You can also access character dialogue prompts and a “word cloud” feature for seeing commonly used words in the text. A brainstorming mode is also available, allowing you to visualize your ideas on an intuitive board.
SudoWrite is a paid app with plans ranging from $10-$100 per month, depending on the number of words you plan to generate.
AI Dungeon is slightly different in that it takes the idea of a choose-your-own-adventure book to a whole new level. By combining text generation with AI, this tool gives users an interactive story experience where they can control the direction of the narrative. Use it to create your own fantasy stories, play RPG games, and even go on simulated adventures.
What you do with these stories is up to you, as AI Dungeon allows you to export them in various formats. You start by giving the AI short descriptions of the world, characters, and plot. From there, it takes over and asks you what you want to do next. As you progress in the story, it will keep asking for input and adjust its narrative accordingly.
The good news is that AI Dungeon is completely free to start. You can opt for a monthly plan for additional features, such as generation speed boosts and image generation.
Another GPT-3 based AI story generator, ShortlyAI, creates content for various purposes and topics. There are no characters per month limits, so you can write unlimited words for $79 per month. It’s perfect for those who need to generate long-form content quickly, such as research papers and articles.
Their story generation approach is unlike Jasper, with expand, rewrite, and shorten commands. The interface is much simpler, with fewer distractions and a straightforward design.
If all you need is copywriting help, ClosersCopy is the tool for you. This AI-driven software specializes in producing persuasive sales and marketing copy. It uses GPT-3 to analyze copywriting best practices and generate high-converting messages. Think of it as your personal writing coach.
You’ll get SEO recommendations, persuasive language features, and automated writing audits. Plus, ClosersCopy allows for team collaboration and version control. It’s not available for free, though they offer a full refund within 14 days if you’re not satisfied with the results.
If budget is your consideration for stories, StoryLab is a great option. It’s free to start and features a minimalist interface without extra frills or distractions. Their most expensive plan caps out at only $19 per month and gives you unlimited AI runs.
Their story generator is powered by natural language processing, allowing you to create stories in any genre or length. Ideal for blog posts and creative writing projects, StoryLab can also generate content for product descriptions and customer reviews.
Much like SudoWrite, NovelAI trained its model on stories from the public domain. The result is a fine-tuned AI that can generate stories around specific topics or genres. It’s perfect for those who want to write novels, screenplays, and short stories efficiently. Image generation is also included in the mix.
They also have a “Choose your own Adventure” feature, where you can control the flow of the story by selecting different paths. All their plans, including the free one, have 2048 tokens of memory, meaning the AI can look back at roughly 8100 characters of text.
Final thoughts on AI story generators
AI story generators are a great way to get creative and produce more content in less time. As you can see, there are a variety of options available. Whether you’re looking for something free or feature-rich, there’s sure to be an AI story generator that meets your needs. Most businesses can benefit from using AI story generators, making them a powerful tool in any content creator’s arsenal.
Give one of the tools mentioned above a try and see what kind of stories you can create!
“AI Story Generators: Top 3 Tools Compared [2021 Update] — AIArtists.Org.” AIArtists.Org, https://aiartists.org/ai-story-generators. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.
Dey, Victor. “Deep Dive: How AI Content Generators Work.” VentureBeat, 9 Sept. 2022, https://venturebeat.com/ai/deep-dive-how-ai-content-generators-work/. Accessed 6 Feb. 2023.