Tuesday, February 21, 2017

4 How to Use IBM's WATSON Artificial Intelligence to Improve Your Writing -- FOR FREE

It's no secret in the tech world that IBM's artificial intelligence program is poised to do amazing things in terms of predicting and improving the likeabilty, accuracy, efficacy, and even tone of communications. ANY communications. H&R Block is even advertising this year that they are using it as part of their tax preparation process.

So, it occurred to me, can we--as writers--use Watson in some way to improve our own writing?

Yes, I think we can. Tone is a huge part of writing, especially in particular genres. We need our opening chapters to draw people in, to give them that sense of familiarity and comfort that tells them they are IN the genre they are expecting. That doesn't mean that the tone or likeability of the text in a work of horror will be the same as that in a romance, obviously. But I wondered if it might mean that there would be some commonalities in scores between best-sellers within a genre.

And there is. I also found that books that didn't do as well often didn't share those commonalities.

IBM has a free sample "tone" analyzer online. You can use it here:


You can paste in a chapter of your work, or someone else's work, and get immediate feedback on everything from the emotions displayed. I used a sample from the first two chapters of Stephanie Garber's AMAZING gothic fantasy Caraval that just hit the New York Times bestseller list to generate some screenshots.

This is the overall document level result for that sample first two chapters, which analyze the text both at the document and the sentence level.

As you can see from the above, the results are broken down by emotion, language style, and social tendencies. Each of those results is also provided in a more precise breakdown showing, sentence by sentence, what contributes to a score. If you want to see where you exhibit what will (most likely) be interpreted as joy in your pages, you simply click on that emotion and each sentence that tends toward joy will be highlighted in the text.

An explanation of each result is also provided so that you understand the function of each result.

It also analyzes the style of language and shows the specific instances that display the tone being analyzed:

Similarly, social tendencies like openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional range--all of which contribute to likeability, can be analyzed on a granular level.

Using this tool, you can make sure that your writing says exactly what you want it to say, and you can tweak it online until you are confident.

About the Author

Martina Boone is the author of Compulsion,  Persuasion, and Illusion in the romantic Southern Gothic Heirs of Watson Island trilogy from Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse, and the new upcoming romance for adult readers, Lake of Destinya magical exploration of destiny, family, healing, and the often twisted path to love set in the Highlands of Scotland (and featuring delicious men in kilts.)

She is also the founder of AdventuresInYAPublishing.com, a three-time Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers Site, and YASeriesInsiders.com, a site dedicated to encouraging literacy and reader engagement through a celebration of series literature. She's on the Board of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia and runs the CompulsionForReading.com program to distribute books to underfunded schools and libraries.


  1. Thank you so much, Martina. This is a very useful tool.

    1. I hope it works for you! It fired up my inner geek. : )

  2. Replies
    1. Let me know if you find it useful. It definitely helped me find some weak spots in my own writing.


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