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The Pale-Faced Lie

  by David Crow


(about 480 pages)
120,071
total words
of all the books in our library
49.16%
vividness
of all the books in our library
7.01%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
2.13%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
0.58%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
1.55%
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
off the passenger window. But I was too numb to feel it. “You’ll never be much of a man. I should leave you with her, you goddamn coward.” Dad had that right: I was a coward. What else would you call a son who wouldn’t protect his completely helpless mother? I lacked the moral fiber to stand up to him—and to help her. A better son would have stayed. My siblings didn’t ask where we’d been, and I didn’t tell them. Something broke inside me that day. Many nights afterward, I dreamed of Mom. She’d beg me for help, but Dad would smash her face to pieces before I could save her. In other dreams, Dad would hit Mom and she’d fall to the floor. By the time I reached her, she would be dead from the blow. Then I’d look up, and Dad would be pointing a gun at my head. Dad didn’t believe in God, but I did. The most frightening nightmare of all was hearing God say, “You won’t be forgiven for hurting your mother. You’re a lost cause.” Waking up, I’d always ask for a second chance. WHEN DAD WAS AROUND, he often had whiskey on his breath and told us about the women he’d been dating. He was shopping for our new mother, he said. I couldn’t imagine who would want that job. If Dad was happy working with his Navajo brethren in Fort Defiance, he didn’t show it. “Most of those morons couldn’t door. While Dad, Lonnie, Sally, and I unloaded boxes from the car, Sam threw rocks at the dogs, but that didn’t work. Even after Dad kicked them hard, they kept coming. Inside, the drywall had large cracks and stains. Sheets of shiny pink-orange insulation hung from the ceiling, and beams of sun filtered into the living room through holes in the roof. As we walked into the kitchen, we kicked up clouds of dust from the thick layer of dirt coating the floor. In some places, water had mixed with the dirt, and our shoes left footprints in the semi-dried mud. The flimsy plywood floor buckled under my feet. The heater didn’t work, and it was cold enough to see our breath. We would have been warmer in a tent. There were three tiny bedrooms, and you could hardly turn around in the bathroom. Spiders ran out of the drain in the tub when I turned on the light. A puny kitchen with peeling linoleum led to the back door and our backyard: a large pit filled with rocks, whiskey bottles, wine jugs, and weeds. Our wooden box didn’t have a number. Mail was delivered to PO Box 82. The tribal ledger listed it as house 231. The ground on Eighth Street was harder than concrete when we arrived, but within days, I learned “Mud Flatswas the right name for the neighborhood. Rain turned the ground into a goopy stew of red clay, garbage, wine bottles, urine, and feces

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 2401.42 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.

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other books by David Crow

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