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The Better Sister

  by Alafair Burke


(about 336 pages)
84,044
total words
of all the books in our library
55.46%
vividness
of all the books in our library
9.30%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
3.02%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
1.02%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
2.00%
non-ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library

clippings from this book

We’ve analyzed hundreds of millions of words, from thousands of different authors, training our linguistic models to recognize the most vivid words in the English language… the words that create the most intense sensory experiences: colors, textures, sounds, flavors, and aromas.

Based on our analysis, we’ve scanned through the pages of this book to find the two pages at the extremes, both the most-passive and the most-vivid pages, so that you can compare them side-by-side and see the difference:

MOST PASSIVE PAGE
MOST VIVID PAGE
my husband had just been murdered. If I had seen it—if I had known I needed to protect Ethan—I wouldn’t have done the walk-through. I wouldn’t have answered a single question or let them speak to Ethan. They would have nothing. I pictured Ethan telling Olivia that he had just been confused about carrying those items back to the apartment. It sounded exactly like the story I had fabricated after he took the gun to school. A person could only forget what’s in his bag so many times. No jury would buy it. And I didn’t want to admit it, but I wasn’t sure I was buying it, either. “Did he really tell you he was confused?” I wanted to believe there was a rational explanation. “Like I said, I can’t reveal anything he said to me.” Nicky paced back and forth in frustration. “This is bullshit. It’s obvious that’s what he told you—hypothetically—and it sounds ridiculous, so it’s not true. Just let me talk to him. I’ll find out what’s going on.” “This is what I meant about it only being the beginning,” Olivia said. “Even if you thought you had everything sorted out today, there’s nothing procedurally we could do with it right now. I know it’s frustrating to be stuck in a system, but that’s what this is, and I promise that I’ll work the system as well and as fast as I can. But I need to be the one to do perched on the foot of the bed so long that my legs hurt when I stood. Looking in the mirror, I barely recognized myself. My normally straight shoulder-length dark brown hair had been shaped into a perfect wave of spiral curls tumbling from a deep side part. My skin looked natural, but dewy and flawless. She had used light blush and a nude gloss, and given me dark, smoky eyes. My heart-shaped face had previously unknown contours. “You’re a miracle worker, Valerie.” We had first met when one of our usual makeup artists was hit with a stomach flu and sent a friend to replace her. When I set eyes on Valerie’s hot-pink Mohawk and array of facial piercings, I wasn’t sure she was the right person for the job. But she was proof that some people simply choose to march to their own beat, even if they can keep perfect time with the rest of the band. “Do you want to get dressed before I do one final blast of hairspray?” “My gown feels like a sausage casing. I want to wait until the very last minute.” “All right. Just be careful. The makeup will rub off. And your lips are so perfect right now. Try not to mess with them, but if you need a touch-up, I’m leaving you both the liner and the gloss. And use this brush for the gloss, not the applicator that comes with the tube.” “Message received, Michelangelo. I won’t destroy the artwork

emotional story arc

Click anywhere on the chart to see the most significant emotional words — both positive & negative — from the corresponding section of the text…
This chart visualizes the the shifting emotional balance for the arc of this story, based on the emotional strength of the words in the prose, using techniques pioneered by the UVM Computational Story Lab. To create this story arc, we divided the complete manuscript text into 50 equal-sized chunks, each with 1680.88 words, and then we scored each section by counting the number of strongly-emotional words, both positive and negative. The bars in the chart move downward whenever there’s conflict and sadness, and they move upward when conflicts are resolved, or when the characters are happy and content. The size of each bar represents the positive or negative word-count of that section.

similar books by different authors

other books by Alafair Burke

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