Top crime writer admits to using AI to help construct his latest novel

Top crime writer admits to using AI to help construct his latest novel and reveals the technology even provided the inspiration to save his hero

  • Ajay Chowdhury has admitted using ChatGPT to help write his latest novel 
  • The author says he uses AI to generate story ideas and ‘jazz’ up his prose 

The world’s best-loved authors will be using AI to help write their novels ‘within a few years’, says a leading crime writer.

Ajay Chowdhury admits he has already turned to the technology to help his hero escape in the latest thriller in his detective series.

He also employed ChatGPT for speeding up research and generating story ideas, while AI editing software was used to improve the pacing and ‘jazz’ up his prose.

The process reduced the time it took to get a ‘decent draft’ to his publisher by a third, he estimated.

His confession comes as thousands of authors are fighting against the tech, which they claim is using their work without consent or credit. 

Crime writer Ajay Chowdhury has said he uses ChatGPT to help him write his books

An open letter signed by authors including Margaret Atwood and Philip Pullman called on the firms behind the AI to fairly compensate them.

In contrast, however, former tech entrepreneur Mr Chowdhury has embraced it – and says he believes that bestselling authors will soon do the same.

He said it was ‘great to bounce ideas off’ and ‘unleash creativity’, acting as a ‘super-editor’ to structure ideas and brainstorm more effectively. 

He said: ‘I would be amazed if in three to four years the majority of authors weren’t using it in some form.

‘We’ve gone from writing by hand, to using spellcheckers, and word processing. This is just another tool in the arsenal.’

In his previous career, Mr Chowdhury was chairman of the song-recognising app Shazam, which was sold to Apple for over £300million in 2018.

The crime writer uses ChatGPT to generate story ideas, carry out research, and ‘jazz’ up his prose

His first crime novel, The Waiter, was published in 2021. He has since published two follow-ups in quick succession, but it was for the fourth instalment called The Spy, due to be published next year, that he turned to AI.

For one storyline, he asked the chatbot how his hero detective, who was trapped in a shed with a bag of fertiliser and a spade, could escape when the villain pulls open the door and points a gun.

‘ChatGPT then gave me a bunch of ideas – for example make a bomb, distract him and then hit him etc. Nothing hugely novel but it helped me put a few ideas together and come up with a third,’ he said.

‘Authors like Wilbur Smith and Stieg Larsson have passed away but they still have books coming out, they’re just written in the same style by younger writers.

‘Some are very good. I can see AI doing something similar in a few years time – and doing a very good job that will keep fans happy.’

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