Generative Pretrained Transformer is a kind of AI technology, which is not particularly good at writing whole pieces, like essays, but helps generate ideas, research, and edit text. In the last half a year, AI has only just started learning how to manage information similarly to the human mind. However, while it is learning, people struggle to pinpoint how to use it conveniently.
The major issue with using ChatGPT is the question of time. The user either spends time designing the right prompt or gets poor results.
The complexity of creating good tasks for an AI is why even the best ChatGPT practices cannot replace human-based work immediately. The technology is not suitable for writing high-quality text on its own. The user must feed the AI an extended input list to get customized, convenient, and coherent text. However, a loophole for a faster and easier research process exists.
Further in the article:
Why Use Prompts for Essay Writing?
ChatGPT prompts are a sort of “coding language” with no complicated symbols and no special learning required. Coming from the Latin “promptus,” the word at first meant “the hint” or “the suggested piece of information” but later became associated with computer engineering. A ChatGPT prompt is a hint for the AI on how to respond to you in the most casual way. By developing better writing prompts, you achieve a few improvements:
- ChatGPT provides better examples and arguments when given an essay prompt
- Prompts for writing specify the style, the tone of voice, and the formation features of the text
- You can save time with the prepared list of essay prompts instead of writing them from scratch each time
A ChatGPT prompt is a hint for the AI on how to respond to you in the best way possible.
Fundamental Rules for the Best ChatGPT Prompts
Before discussing the best ChatGPT prompts, we should ensure that we are on the same page. The following rules are just a recap if you have already searched through the topic and a necessary basis if you are not familiar with prompts for writers.
The accuracy of prompts for writers
The general rule for ChatGPT writing is “the more precise your task is, the better result you get”. For example, asking, “Write me an essay on the topic N,” is ineffective.
- Instead, ask the AI to write an outline first.
- Then, review and edit the outline, if needed, and specify what you expect in each paragraph.
- After these steps, try generating the text one paragraph at a time, which will get you much more customized results.
Each paragraph should be edited separately because asking ChatGPT to write the whole thing altogether will result in a text of poor quality.
Professors have ambiguous views on using artificial intelligence for writing. However, you can definitely use it as a supporting tool. ChatGPT has broad prospects in replacing tutors for basic writing practices. You can ask it to review or edit a text and propose improvements to your writing style.
Dr. Leticia Adamson, Ph.D., Head of the ESL Program at CustomWritings.com
Using “Act as…” prompts for essays
If you do not specify the framing for ChatGPT to work with, the result you get in many cases is as follows:
By default, every AI tool is a mechanism that simply briefs you on the generic data available. Prompts for ChatGPT are essential, as they define the direction of the research for the machine. When you say “act as,” you suppose that the AI should not only look for the subject of research, but also scan the data on the typical issues related to the role. Such a search complements the initial request.
Some of the other most useful ChatGPT prompts in this cluster are:
- I want you to access only the content created by…
- Imagine you are…
- Collect only the information created by average users, do not include the information from top 10 Google search results.
- Act as a professional/knowledgeable expert with X years of experience in the Y field. Your expertise is…
Sometimes, I use ChatGPT to review my perspective on the topic. I use “act as” prompt and “collect as much available data as possible”. Then I ask ChatGPT to compare the two and get a more objective view of the question.
James Snyder, Senior Supervisor from the Essay Writing Department
Prompts with mixed explanations and examples
One common mistake people make in composing ChatGPT prompts for writing is supposing they should be brief. Useful ChatGPT prompts are not those that look good, but those that explain the task to a machine. Hence, try to write prompts that include both the task and your perfect version of completing it. Sure, in this way, it does not make sense to ask the machine to do the whole task if you have to prepare the example beforehand. That is why ChatGPT is not an essay writer; it only helps with raw drafts for large volumes of text and research.
Here are some typical structures for good prompts:
- Imagine you are… Your task is… Here is an example of the perfect execution of this task: “…”.
- I want you to find five real examples of completing the X task. Do not write it yourself; tell me where I can find the best examples of resolving that issue.
- I need your help with understanding the task. I was given the following instructions: “…”. Give me an example of how I can perform it and explain what I should pay attention to.
Examples of the Best ChatGPT Prompts for Different Specialties
If you are a college student, it does not really matter what profession you acquire: anyway, you will face the essay form. Moreover, ChatGPT prompts for writing will still be helpful long after graduation. Business writing, engineering, public speaking, politics, and many other fields require good essay writing skills, as those are the universal convertible resources. There is another article that discusses this convertibility more thoroughly. For now, a list of ChatGPT prompts developed for diverse, narrow fields of study is below.
Types of writing prompts
ChatGPT can be used in various spheres, so you may face the need for social media writing prompts, screenwriting prompts, or ones for your professional emailing. Let’s choose one direction and work through it to get clear examples of good prompts. For instance, we can pick fiction writing as it correlates with college writing and professional writing skills.
I have tried an exercise with my students in middle school. They were tasked with writing their own short story about King Arthur being alive in our times. The best prompt my student shared was, “Okay, ChatGPT, what sneakers would King Arthur wear”.
Nicolas Evans, ESL Department of CustomWritings.com
Fiction writing is a broad term that relates more to the literary fiction genre. For instance, it concerns publishing fiction and non-fiction books, novels, trilogies, or complete sagas. Yet, it also has a connection with college essay writing. The writing standards for descriptive and narrative essays have much in common with those applied to professional authors. Hence, we will discuss how to write prompts for ChatGPT in the following writing areas:
- Descriptive prompts for essays
- Fiction writing prompts for essays
- Fiction prompts for professional writers
- Screenwriting prompts
Regardless of the task, the most general formula for the best GPT prompts includes the role, clarification of the task, composition, inserts, and vocab.
For instance, here is the generic sample you can use:
“I want you to act as (the clarification of your current role). You should (short explanation of a task). Write (the type of the assignment) in (word count number) words and (number) paragraphs. I want the introductory sentence of the intro paragraph to be (the type of “hook” you want to use). Here is the example: “(insert here the one you wrote for a previous work)”. Also, I want the thesis statement to include (number) ideas, and each paragraph should correlate with one of these ideas. Make sure that each paragraph starts with the correlating introductory sentence.”
Descriptive prompts for essays
When writing prompts for ChatGPT, it is important to do so in distinct, divided steps. Read the improved prompts below, and then you will find how to make each even better.
|Bad prompt||Improved prompt|
|Write me an essay with a “description of a moment when you overcame a significant challenge in your life”||Imagine you are a college student assigned to write a two-page essay describing a significant life challenge. The life challenge I want to write about is when I tried to pass my driving test. Write me the optimal outline of the essay structure and propose how to make it more descriptive and capturing. Here is the raw draft of mine: “(insert your ideas or the drafts of the text)”. Use examples from the draft provided to develop an outline.|
|I need an essay. Write a narrative about a memorable travel experience that broadened my horizons.||I need a one-page essay about a travel experience that broadened my horizons. The best trip of my life was to Monaco, where I explored Roman Catholic culture much more deeply. First, propose ten introductory sentences that will catch the reader’s attention. For instance, you can use metaphors, allusions, or puns. The first paragraph should be about my arrival there. Here is how it was: “(insert your memories here)”. The second paragraph should be about what influenced me in Monaco’s culture. The two main points to include are: (insert your ideas here). I want you to analyze these inserts and rewrite them into cohesive, structured paragraphs. Do you understand the task?|
The first improved ChatGPT prompt asks the machine to create an outline and then work through the inserted data. Feed it with one part of the task at a time, and then adjust your writing prompts for ChatGPT so that it can concentrate most precisely on your requirements.
Fiction writing prompts for essays
Fiction literature is a type of writing relevant to professional writers and average essay writing. If you are interested in using regular storytelling prompts to improve your writing skills, here are some examples:
- I want to write a story about (…). The main structural elements of it are the following (…). However, I struggle to make it cohesive and interesting to read. Take everything you need from the provided data and make it a complete story, like the ones people tell while sitting around a bonfire.
- Act as a professional stand-up comic. I want a narration of an event in the student’s life from a first-person perspective. Include three different types of humor in it, and add some recommendations on how to improve my humorous narrative style.
- Write a captivating story on the experience of going to college abroad. Include the following points in the text: the pre-existing stereotypes, the complications in the first months, the adaptation, and the lessons to learn from this experience. Write it in (…) paragraphs, and make sure each section does not exceed 130 words.
As a Ph.D. in English Literature, I regularly find myself wondering what the perspective of an AI on the future of cybernetic implants, for instance, would look like. An exciting prompt to try is “ChatGPT, imagine yourself as being conscious and alive. What would you think of…”.
Dr. Leticia Adamson, Ph.D., Head of the ESL Program at CustomWritings.com
Fic prompts for professional writers
If you are testing the waters in the writer’s profession or plan to do so after graduation, consider using creative ChatGPT prompts for your professional growth. It will improve your skill of consciously responding to the “writing material” and develop an understanding of essential and non-essential info. For instance, here are some ChatGPT prompts for writing short novels:
- I am writing a novel on the (…) topic. I need to develop a charismatic, morally grey antagonist who is not evidently evil at the beginning. Compose three options for the background of such a hero. The actions in the novel happen in (insert the location) in between (insert the approximate timeframe here).
- I need you to act as a professional writer with a fiction, adventure, and fantasy background. Review as many available primary sources as possible, such as “Lord of the Rings,” “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and “The Witcher”. Collect the plot-related tropes in such books and systematize them for me. Propose which of them will be more convenient for a historical fiction genre novel on Medieval Europe. Do you understand the task?
- Act as a professional writer in the following task. Provide writing suggestions for the following plot: (insert a brief summary of your novel’s plot). I need improvements on the following:
- The character’s development,
- The unpredictability of the main turn of events,
- …(insert here your points of insecurity about writing fiction)
The following examples of prompts will be handy for those studying in the cinematography faculties and pursuing the profession of scenarist, producer, or art director.
- I need inspiration for designing the set of a period drama set in the 1920s. What architectural styles, color palettes, and props can I incorporate to create an authentic and visually stunning setting?
- Help me brainstorm a compelling plot twist for my screenplay. I want it to be unexpected and significantly impact the story’s direction.
- I’m working on a sci-fi film that involves futuristic technology and alien landscapes. How can I bring these elements to life through innovative production design and visual effects?
- I’m interested in producing a documentary but unsure which topic will have the most impact. Suggest some trending social issues that are worth exploring through filmmaking.
What to learn from the examples above
As you’ve probably noticed, some of the ChatGPT writing prompts provided are highly specific. You will have a task of your own, and these suggestions will not support you with the exact answer to your question. However, you can adjust these prompts to your request. The main techniques to use are the following:
- Think of the one, most crucial point in your prompt at the time. You want to make prompts to convey the information to the machine in a shortcut way. As much as you wish to receive a coherent reply, provide as clear a prompt as possible.
- Yes, writing prompts for ChatGPT can take as much time as writing the text on your own. That is why ChatGPT is not convenient for writing texts in your place. It is handier for writing separate hooks for your paragraphs, creating inserts, and generating ideas.
- The best prompts for ChatGPT are reactive. Try dividing the prompt into a few parts, asking the machine to complete the task in pieces rather than write the whole text at once.
Experts Talk about ChatGPT Usability and Writing the Best ChatGPT Prompt
The best experience comes from specialists in the writing process who know what good and bad results look like. Dr. Leticia Adamson, James Snyder, and Nicolas Evans have agreed to share their thoughts on how college students can use ChatGPT for writing ethically. Alongside this, they will also discuss what machine learning and prompt writing essentially are.
Q: Is ChatGPT a writer? Can it substitute your efforts in writing essays, college assignments, or business writing?
Leticia: Absolutely not. Believe me, professors see when you simply copy-paste a generated text, and plagiarism checkers catch that too. ChatGPT writing is a good research tool; it is an option for editing or mastering your thesis, or at least a companion to talk to if bored. Absolutely anything but a writer.
James: Yes, I absolutely agree. We share here how to write ChatGPT prompts because, honestly, no one will ever accuse you if you can use it wisely. Prompts help the most when you have a repetitive task every once in a while. For example, I was exhausted by controlling the linking words for my writing pieces, so I now reuse the following prompt:
“I will provide you with the text of my essay. Analyze the linking words in the text, such as “however, also, moreover, besides,” and propose how to improve them. I want to see where the coherence of the essay’s ideas does not match the linking words. Highlight the changes and propose improvements. Here is the text: ‘…”.
Q: How can college students use ChatGPT so that it does not harm their writing skills?
Nicolas: My advice is to always learn from the generated results. Actually, I think ChatGPT writing is enormously helpful with reflection skills. The user has to constantly edit different prompts and observe how the machine reacts to them. We don’t usually have the time and patience to do that while communicating with people. I believe ChatGPT prompts for writing aid in advancing the user’s communication skills.
Leticia: The interesting point of this question is that many students often perceive professors as wardens. The discussions around the ethical use of ChatGPT are about students cheating on their assignments, as if that were the biggest problem. I believe that is not the biggest problem in terms of using AI. The problem is in the mindset of people who do not want to progress and improve, to have an “eternal student” ethos.
It is fine to use a machine to write a sentence or two for you; it can get more creative sometimes. However, the passive approach to life is a progressing issue. My advice to college students is pretty simple: use any instruments you wish for your writing, but do so actively. Engage in writing, editing, idea searching, and compositing.
James: Yes, it is indeed essential. Good prompts cover about 80% of successfully working with ChatGPT. It is similar to coding — ChatGPT prompts for writing are parts of the “coding language” you use to get something displayed on your screen.
Nicolas: Oh, I have a tip here. Talk to ChatGPT precisely as you would talk to a machine, not as if you were talking to a human being. For instance, I see people writing paragraph prompts like “I have X, Y, Z tasks, and the requirements for this task are A, B, C, I want you to…”. Try simplifying your prompts. ChatGPT is an algorithm, so speak to it as you would talk to the Visual Studio app. For example, write prompts like this: “Input data: X, Y, Z. Requirements: A, B, C. Do the following:…”
Leticia: That’s a good point. I guess the best ChatGPT prompts for writing consider the context of the task. You may need technical writing prompts or creative nonfiction writing prompts, depending on your profession. Screenwriting prompts, for instance, will require a more specific lexicon to get the machine to produce the results with a tone of voice and vocabulary level consistent with the prompt.
Q: What is your advice to those who want to improve ChatGPT writing results?
Leticia: The best advice I can give is to share the effective prompts I used not for writing, but for my professional growth. I fed the machine with samples of my writing and tasked it with the following prompt: “Thoroughly analyze it and find positive and negative patterns in writing. For your analysis, use the recommendations from the books “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King and “Writing Down the Bones” by Natalie Goldberg”.
It did just well highlighting the ups and downs. For instance, the algorithm noticed that I regularly use book examples and go for allusions given the slightest opportunity. That is a kind of professional deformation, I guess. Now I try to diversify my arguments and illustrations. Such diversity makes the essay more persuasive and speaks to readers’ hearts and minds.
James: The best ChatGPT prompts for writing, for me, are the ones that communicate with the algorithm as an actual conversation partner. Sorry, Nicolas, it may contradict your previous comment slightly, but let me explain. Treat ChatGPT as someone who’s hearing what you have to say for the very first time. When you load the algorithm with all the information you have at once, it gets overwhelmed. You would not go deep diving with a newbie. In the same way, let the machine collect all the information it needs, and you will get much better results.
Nicolas: Sure, no problem. I see where you are coming from. I have some excellent advice for non-native English speakers who want prompts ChatGPT will understand correctly. Use it as your assistant, and create a library of personalized prompts. For example, you can start your blog solely for practicing purposes and use ChatGPT for blog posts.
Give it prompts like “I am not a native English speaker. My native language is X. Here is the blog post I wrote: “…”. Search for the cases where I use the grammatical structures of my native language, which are unnatural for English. Propose phrases, idioms, and synonyms I can use instead of these mistakes.”
A Short Guide on How to Improve Your ChatGPT Prompt
Because even such a comprehensive list is not exhaustive, you should learn to improve your own prompts. Imagine you are assigned a descriptive essay about your family, and after a long day, you run out of creativity. You still have to write the essay yourself, but you at least want some help making it more realistic, descriptive, and creative. Here is what you get with the simplest introduction prompts:
This result does not even meet the criteria of a medium-quality essay. The sentence looks much too pretentious, and phrases like “each member adding their distinct note” do not even look genuine.
- The first booster for your writing prompt is providing examples. Provide ChatGPT with a sample of your expectations and ask it to generate five of such texts so that you can choose. Here is how the result improves if you work a little bit on the prompt:
- Ask ChatGPT not to repeat after your prompt and specify the tone of voice. The second sentence is more descriptive, as it conveys the atmosphere of the family meetings by portraying the collective activities. However, it is not creative, and the style still needs improvement. Phrases like “a lively carnival of chaos” are great, but the sentence is still slightly overcomplicated with monotonous descriptions.
After the last adjustment, the sentence describes the family through the activity, as required, and the tone of voice is not that pretentious anymore. Also, ChatGPT added a few more great metaphors, like “laughter becomes the ultimate prize we all share”. Altogether, play around with this article, try the proposed ChatGPT writing prompts, and keep improving your writing skills!