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Sycamore Row

  by John Grisham


(about 680 pages)
170,085
total words
of all the books in our library
33.41%
vividness
of all the books in our library
8.36%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
3.19%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
1.11%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
2.08%
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
when you are asleep you fidget and have nightmares. You’re not eating well. You’re losing weight. You’re preoccupied, off in la-la land half the time. You’re stressed-out, jumpy, testy, sometimes even nauseous. You’ll wake up in the morning with a knot in your stomach.” “The question?” “Why in the world do you want to be a trial lawyer?” “This might not be the best time to ask that question.” “No, it’s the perfect time. How many jury trials have you had in the last ten years?” “Thirty-one.” “And you’ve lost sleep and weight during each one, right?” “I don’t think so. Most are not quite this significant, Carla. This is exceptional.” “My point is that trial work is so stressful. Why do you want to do it?” “Because I love it. It’s what being a lawyer is all about. Being in the courtroom, in front of a jury, is like being in the arena, or on the field. The competition is fierce. The stakes are high. The gamesmanship is intense. There will be a winner and a loser. There is a rush of adrenaline each time the jury is led in and seated.” “A lot of ego.” “A ton. You’ll never meet a successful trial lawyer without an ego. It’s a requirement. You gotta have the ego to want the work.” “You should do well, then.” “Okay, I admit I have the ego, but it might get crushed this week. It might need soothing.” “Now or later?” “Now. It’s been kitchen, poured herself some coffee, and when she opened the refrigerator to get the cream she saw a bottle of vodka, almost empty. She had never seen liquor in the house; Seth didn’t keep it. Once a month he brought home a few beers, stuck them in the fridge, and then usually forgot about them. The sink was full of dirty disheshow could they possibly be expected to load the dishwasher with a servant on the payroll? Lettie got busy with the cleaning, and presently Mr. Dafoe stopped at the door and said, “I think I’ll get a shower now. Ramona is not feeling well, probably caught a cold.” Cold or vodka? Lettie thought. But she said, “I’m sorry. Can I do anything for her?” “Not really. But some breakfast would be nice, eggs and bacon. Scrambled for me, not sure about Herschel.” “I’ll ask him.” Since they were leaving, as was the servant, and since the house was about to be locked up, then sold or somehow disposed of, Lettie decided to clean out the pantry and refrigerator. She fried bacon and sausage, whipped up pancakes, scrambled eggs and made omelets and cheese grits and warmed up store-bought biscuits, Seth’s favorite brand. The table was covered with steaming bowls and platters when the three sat down for breakfast, complaining the entire time about all the food and fuss. But they ate. Ramona, puffy-eyed and red-faced and unwilling to say much, seemed to especially crave the grease. Lettie hung

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 3401.70 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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