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On Writing Romance

  by Leigh Michaels

(about 418 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:

is this person’s name? Why was he named that? Age? Birthday? What astrological sign was he born under? Does it matter to him? Where does he live? Urban? Small town? Rural? Why did he choose to live there? Was this geographical location his choice or someone else’s? Does he live in an apartment? A house? What type or style? Did he choose the residence, and why? Does he live by himself? With others? What kind of vehicle does he drive? What are his important material possessions? Give a brief physical description. What are his hobbies? What kind of music does he enjoy? Does he have pets? If not, why not? Would he like to have pets? What are his favorite foods and drinks? If he has an unexpected free half-day, how does he spend it? How would a friend describe him? What is his education? What is his job? For historical heroes and heroines, describe their place in family life or society. How do they occupy themselves? Is this a long-term career or just a job? Why did he choose that type of work? How does he feel about his work? What does he want to be doing in twenty years? How does he feel about the opposite sex? Why does he feel that way? Is he married? Single? Divorced? Does he have children? Does he have former lovers? How would a former date or lover describe him? Who are his parents? Does he have brothers and sisters? Where was padded… I wriggled some more, then had a brainstorm and sat up. My head banged into something firm but yielding, which gave way when I shoved. Then I was sitting up, blinking in the gloomThen I realized I was sitting in a coffin… I nearly broke something scrambling out… I burst through the swinging doors and found myself in a large, wood-paneled entryway… At the far end of the entry was a tall, wild-eyed blonde dressed in an absurd pink suit. She might have been pretty if she wasn’t wearing orange blusher and too much blue eye shadow… The blonde wobbled toward me on cheap shoes—Payless, buy one pair get the second at half price—and I saw her hair was actually quite nice: shoulder length with a cute flip at the ends and interesting streaky highlights. Interesting Shade #23 Lush Golden Blonde highlights. Heyyyyy… The woman in the awful suit was me. The woman in the cheap shoes was me! I staggered closer to the mirror, wide eyed. Yes, it was really me, and yes, I looked this awful. I really was in hell! Davidson’s heroine has a great reason for looking around carefully and noting details, since her surroundings are like nothing she’s ever experienced. And although the author employs an overused device—the heroine catching sight of herself in a mirror—as an excuse to describe her, Davidson has added some wicked twists. Her heroine literally being caught dead in a suit, shoes, and makeup

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 2087.78 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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