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Paper Ghosts

  by Julia Heaberlin

(about 337 pages)
total words
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
passive voice
of all the books in our library
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
of all the books in our library
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:

what kind of blood runs in my veins. You owe it to me.” The first and last line, at least, are true. “That wasn’t so hard, was it? So we’re clear this trip isn’t about bonding or breathing fresh air. If you were really my daughter, you would have told me that from the start. You would have talked about how you don’t want your babies to be killers. You would have cried big tears. And you would have gotten out of here just as fast as you could. That’s what normal girls do.” I open my mouth to disagree and close it. Carl is right. I am not a normal girl. He is being extremely lucid for a change. I don’t want to interrupt. “Just so you know, this is an exercise in madness,” he continues. “I can’t remember. Every now and then, a cop drops by here to be sure. He thinks I’m giving him shit. If he can’t break into my head, how do you think you can?” What cop? Someone I know? For a second, I feel another man’s fingers. “I have a plan to help you remember,” I wheedle. “Places. Photographs. Don’t you want to know?” “Why would I want to know? You’re much prettier than that cop, though. A lioness on the hunt.” On the wide arm of his chair, he’s smoothing out the wrinkled yellow paper he pulled from his pocket. I can’t make out the words from here, just that he’s been to painstakingly fold them to put away. Anything to keep my hands busy, to make this night pass faster. When I lift the lid of my suitcase, I choke down a scream. Carl has left me a present. Lying on top, the scarf that was wrapped around Lolita’s pretty neck at Mrs. T’s. For seconds, I don’t breathe. The pink and white snails march innocently across the fabric, their smiles like tiny eyelash curls. I remember another piece of fabric, swirling in water in one of Carl’s photographs. A missing girl named Violet. My head jerks toward the door that connects my room to Carl’s. Chain in place. Knob, still. When I turn back to my suitcase, Lolita’s sweet, youthful smell drifts up and with it a silent, panicked prayer that she’s alive, that I have not stirred up a hibernating killer. In the bathroom, I grip the scarf by its edges and hold it up to unforgiving light. I search every happy snail for a spot of blood. There’s nothing. Just a faint mustard stain, the scratch of a pencil mark. I picture the muscled knot in Carl’s forearm. His chuckling face when he heard my muffled scream through the door. The taut shape of him in the darkness, waiting. This scarf, torn from my hands, drawn tight across my neck until I see the glimmering, sunny spots of the end. Would you like a cigarette first, dear? I curl up on the bed. Coil my hands into fists

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 1684.22 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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