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Before the Ever After

  by Jacqueline Woodson


(about 73 pages)
18,347
total words
of all the books in our library
58.28%
vividness
of all the books in our library
6.51%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
2.86%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
0.35%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
2.50%
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
his pigskin dreams. Even as a little boy, he’d say, I had all kinds of dreams. And I was always somebody’s hero. And I’d say Now I’m a little boy, and you’re everybody’s hero, and my dad would smile, hug me. Sometimes there’d be the beginning of tears in his eyes. I didn’t know why then. But I do now. It’s hard to stay a hero. It’s like everybody’s just sort of waiting for the minute you fumble the ball or miss a pass or start yelling at people when you were never the kind of guy to yell before. They call it pigskin, my daddy once told me, because back in the 1800s, footballs were made out of pig bladders. And we’d crack up when he said Who was the person who thought “I happen to have this bladder sitting around, might as well fill it with air and throw it”? Pig bladders, my dad would say. People were out there playing with the bladder of a pig. Then rubber came along, and I guess the pigs were probably happier than anyone. Some Days Some days my dad doesn’t remember stuff like the day I was born and how it rained for sixteen days straight before I came. My daddy used to swear they had to take a boat. Sailed to the hospital as captain, he used to say. Came home with a first mate. And I’d ask about Mama—what was she. Everything. Your mama was and is even really football. From Outside And some nights everything’s so good. There’s fish fried with cornmeal, mashed potatoes and kale cooked with so much garlic and olive oil, I go back for seconds and almost forget it’s a vegetable. There’s Daddy making Mama sit on his lap. The two of them laughing as the speakers blast Earth, Wind & Fire all through the house, until the guy sings about chasing the clouds away and Daddy jumps up, still holding Mama, and makes her dance with him. They do old-people moves that look like they’re dancing to the words, not the music, but I can’t help dancing too and from outside or from somewhere far away maybe it looks crazy and beautiful, the house with the lights dimmed to gold and the three of us moving through that light, chasing the clouds away. Migraine Monday afternoon after school, I eat ten cookies standing at the sink, wash it all down with one glass of milk and three glasses of water, run to the bathroom because all that water goes right through me, come back to the kitchen and microwave a beef patty. So hungry, I feel like I could keep on eating, singing the song we learned in chorus that day. We come from the mountain, living on the mountain. Go back to the mountain, turn the world around. Me and Ollie laughed the first time we sang it because the chorus teacher said Ollie, you have such a beautiful alto voice

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 366.94 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 Jacqueline Woodson

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