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Private Life

  by Jane Smiley


(about 507 pages)
126,855
total words
of all the books in our library
41.09%
vividness
of all the books in our library
8.21%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
3.23%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
0.87%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
2.37%
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
she should have. Dora never saw that hanging, and so she has always gone looking for one.’ “I never heard that.” Then Margaret said, “The truth is, I’ve never seen anything! I didn’t even see that hanging, as far as memory serves. I should have just gone to Europe, and now it’s too late.” “I should have taken you with me years ago, but now is not the time.” Dora’s tone was sympathetic, but idle, as careless of what she had enjoyed as of what Margaret had not enjoyed. “Andrew wouldn’t have stood for that, as there was typing to do. I have been such a fool!” Dora’s eyebrows lifted at this flash of anger, but she didn’t respond other than to say, “He would have gotten used to it.” “I wish you’d said that fifteen years ago.” That night, in her bed, Margaret lay awake thinking of her conversation with Dora, how she had strayed into indiscretions that she had resisted for years, and how it had felt. There was the surprise that nothing she had said surprised Dora, and then there was the other surprise, that what she had said was still so emphatic, in spite of the equanimity she thought she had attained. No, she was almost sixty and she had not been to London or Paris or Rome, and there was no going there now. Yes, she was balanced, as she had gotten into the habit of congratulating herself for being. But, she saw, she was rugged slopes rose in the foreground, steeper than anything she had seen even in the Sierras. In the middle of the scene, more distant peaks were still more jagged, and on those slopes, several stunted pine trees were bunched together. The mountains were painted in a vaporous dark ink, so as to seem especially threatening, and the farthest ridges were partly hidden by clouds. A river flowed through a U-shaped cleft in the mountains, and in the river floated a long narrow boat with a rounded prow, carrying a man in a kimono. Her eye was drawn straight to the tiny face of the man, who was sitting quietly, looking upward, not, it seemed, in fear, but in curiosity and interest. The water flowed, the clouds drifted, the trees huddled, but the man seemed undaunted by his surroundings. The second screen was smaller—only about four feet tallalso four panels, entirely painted on gold. The largest object was a black tree with rough bark, twisted and bending to the left. Willowlike fronds of leaves seemed to toss in a breeze. Turf, or perhaps moss, spread in irregular dark-green patches around the trunk of the tree, and colorful birds flew in and out among the blowing leaves, or perched on rocks sunk into the moss. Above the tree, golden clouds billowed in the golden sky. To the left, clouds of red flowers on long, frondlike stems also tossed about, and the branches and leaves of some other variety of tree

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 2537.10 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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