Dr. Strangebot: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love AI

Dr. Strangebot: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love AI

I'm not afraid to say that I use generative AI as a tool in both my writing and my graphic design.

I don't use it to draft my stories. I do my own writing. But I will use it to brainstorm character names, or a list of models of hot rods or even bounce around some story ideas if I get stuck. But ultimately, I'm the one deciding what happens in my story and what words I use to write it.

Writers already use a wide range of tools for these tasks. To pretend like we don't is a fucking lie. We get story ideas from news stories, fairy tales, urban legends, movies, overheard conversations, each others lives, and *gasp* other books we've read. We use baby name lists and IMDB and Google and Wikipedia to come up with names.

We use story structures from Save the Cat or the Hero's Journey or even Gail Carriger's The Heroine's Journey. We use tropes that have been used a million times before. We use the collection of thesauruses from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi.

So using ChatGPT to help brainstorm ideas is no more stealing or unoriginal than anything else we use. And anyone who disrespects me for doing so isn't worth my time.

And yes, I use generative AI as a tool in my cover design and marketing graphics. So do other cover designers. Damonza, one of the biggest cover designers in the business, just sent out an email saying so. We don't use it to design the cover as is. But to create elements that can't be found on industry standard stock art sites.

I then combine these elements with elements from other paid sources, add dozens of adjustment layers, layer masks, fill layers, and of course typography to create a finished cover.

If you want to disrespect me for using generative AI, then I say take a fucking number, buddy!

People have been disrespecting me for arbitrary reasons my whole life. For being transgender, for being lesbian, for leaving Christianity, for walking away from traditional publishing and going indie, for designing my own covers.

I don't write carbon copy police procedurals or cat cafe cozy mysteries (and I have nothing but respect for those who do).

Generally speaking, the people who get their panties in a twist over disruptive technology (automobiles, moveable type, computers, the internet, ebooks, self-publishing, etc.) are usually the people invested in maintaining the current patriarchal power structure. So fuck them!

I write crime thrillers about lesbian outlaw bikers, transgender bounty hunters, and vigilante tattoo artists. Very unique stories about unique characters. Stories with grit and diversity and heart. I am nothing if not original.

And I am the most prolific openly transgender author in the mystery/thriller genre, all while keeping a fulltime day job and taking care of a disabled wife. So don't bother calling me lazy. I know it ain't true.

Keep your disrespect to yourself. I don't give a shit. I write my own stories using the tools that I want to use. I don't need your permission or your blessing. Never have. Never will.

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