How to use AI to write an opinion column

(Image by Maria Korolov via Adobe Firefly.)

So. You have some thoughts about where OpenSim is going. Or there’s a cool new fashion designer in OpenSim you want to tell people about. Or there’s a feature you’d really like to see implemented.

You’ve been thinking for a while about writing it up and sending it to Hypergrid Business to be published, but writing is just so much work!

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get an AI to read your mind and just write the article for you?

But you can’t. And if you just tell ChatGPT or Claude to “write an article about how great OpenSim is” you’ll get something generic and unreadable. Plus, it won’t have any of your unique insights or information that only you know, which is why you wanted to write the article in the first place.

(Image by Maria Korolov via Adobe Firefly.)

Here’s what you do.

If you’re like me, and think best while talking, then get a transcription app — I use the free Otter AI app and love it — and dictate your thoughts. Now, Otter only supports English, but there are other apps for other languages. Just Google for it.

Or, if you think in bullet point lists, create a list with the points you’d like to make. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, or organization. Just do a brain dump.

Then open your favorite AI app — I recommend Claude AI because it doesn’t use your info for training data — and follow the following steps:

Cut-and-paste the following prompt:

I’d like to turn the following notes into an opinion column. The first thing I’d like you to do is read the notes and ask me questions. Is there anything that needs clarification or should be expanded on? Is there anything that doesn’t make sense? Are there any points that could use personal anecdotes or concrete examples? Thanks!

Then cut-and-paste your notes and hit the button to ask the question.

The AI should now ask you some follow-up questions. You can provide more information, or you can tell the AI to just skip that question, or ask the AI for what it would suggest.

Once you’re happy that everything has been pulled out of your head, you can go ahead and ask the AI to write the article.

Cut-and-paste the following prompt:

Please write a column based on my notes and our conversation. It should be in the first person, using Associated Press format, in a casual, blog writing style. Paragraphs should be short. Quotes should begin paragraphs. No conclusion needed. Use the inverted pyramid structure. Stick carefully just to the information that I provided.

Now it should provide you with a first draft of the column.

Now you can ask it to, say, rearrange sections, or add more information. And if it got anything wrong, tell it, and  Once you’re generally happy with how the column looks, ask the following questions:

  • Please review the story for accuracy. Are there any places where it contracts the information I gave you?
  • Please review the story’s organization and structure. Is the order the best possible order for this topic? Is anything repeated? Are any significant points not given enough time?
  • Please review the story for writing style. It should be casual and conversational, written at a fifth-grade level, and paragraphs should be short. Are there any areas that can be simplified or rewritten to be more personal?
  • Please review the story for grammar. Remember it should use American spelling and grammar and Associated Press style.

Then say:

Please rewrite the article per your recommendations.

Take one last look at the result. After all, this is going to go out under your name. Make sure that the AI isn’t putting words in your mouth that you wouldn’t say!

Now copy the final results into a separate document and make any edits you want to make. For example, you might change some wording to be more like something you’d say.

Also, add any relevant links. For example, if you’re talking about your OpenSim grid, add a link to the grid.

Then email it to me — in the body of the email is fine — at If you have snapshots or illustrations that you want to use, just attach them as JPG or PNG files to the email.

If you’d like to have AI generate an illustration to go with your column, I recommend that you use Adobe Firefly. Adobe only uses fully-licensed images for its training data — no lawsuits from artists here! — and pays artists when their work is used. In fact, the first payments to artists went out last September.

Use the “Widescreen (16:9)” aspect ratio for at least one image that you submit to Hypergrid Business, since we use wide images for the featured images on our site. You can also upload a reference image to give Firefly an idea of the kind of style you’re going for, or select a particular art or photography style from the lists provided.

Of course, you don’t have to submit your column to us! You can post it on your own blog or social media. And you can use the same approach to write any other kind of content — just adjust the prompt to fit. You can use this approach to write emails or to write marketing copy for your website.

And yes, being polite helps. The AIs seems to return better results when you’re nice to them.

Maria Korolov