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My Sister, My Love

  by Joyce Carol Oates


(about 711 pages)
177,804
total words
of all the books in our library
55.82%
vividness
of all the books in our library
7.76%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
3.44%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
1.48%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
1.96%
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
if Mum-my makes you do anything you don’t want to do, and I will tell Daddy that you do! I will tell Daddy that you do! Lots of things, that you do! I will tell Daddy you stole my birds! I hate you, I will tell Daddy what the doctor does! I don’t want to beinjected’! My bottom hurts, where I sit, from beinginjected.’ And I don’t want that thing in my mouth! I don’t want that nastybite’ in my mouth! I will tell Daddy! I want my birds! My birds came to me! My birds—” Hurriedly Mummy called for Maria to take Bliss away: “The child is hysterical. She’s being ridiculous. Take her up to her room, Maria, and calm her down. It’s the least you can do, you’ve caused this by being so careless, take her upstairs now.” And so it was done, though not without resistance on Bliss’s part, and Skyler, who’d been astonished by his little sister’s outburst, asked Mummy what was wrong? why couldn’t they keep Bliss’s gift? and Mummy said, crinkling her nose, “The thing is—what d’you call it—‘taxidermy.’ Real birds! Those were real birds! You could tell, they looked so strange, not like manufactured birds would look, and I could smell through the glass that something was wrong. They’ve been treated with something like formaldehyde, and stuffed, and their eyes are glass, but their bodies are real, their feathers are real, and they smell of rot. Ugh! Don’t material was discovered in a musty-smelling alcove off Ruscha’s room, where the pedophile had a kind of workshop, or studio; here, detectives found more pastel drawings, and portraits of Bliss Rampike in acrylic paint, weirdly glossy, at odds with the “poetic” subject matter: —A very young (four-year-old? Bliss Rampike posed en pointe on ice skates, in a daffodil-yellow tulle skirt and sequined top, lavender ribbons fluttering in her pale gold hair —A slightly older, less shy and “seductiveBliss in the sexy red-sequined Boléro costume with the ( just slightly) padded bodice and slit-skirt, peekaboo black panties beneath (which the amateur artist had tried to represent, detectives discover with revulsion, with a small patch of actual black lace) —An etherealangelicBliss in a ballerina’s costume of antique lace fitting her small body tight as a glove, fluffy white tulle skirt, a hint of white silk panties, white lace stockings, ashy-pale hair plaited like a crown upon which a white-gold tiara restedEyes closed, hands clasped on her chest, Bliss lying on her back inside what appears to be an ivory-white casket, in her Hershey’s Kisses costume of dark-chocolate velvet with tinsel trim; seemingly at peace, a small sweet smile on her pink-rosebud lips; yet the eyelids were translucent, as if the little girl was peering through them; if you stood close, you could see the glimmer of a cobalt-blue gaze fixed upon you. In all of Ruscha’s likenesses of Bliss, the little blond girl was crudely and yet tenderly depicted

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 3556.08 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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