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Let Me Die In His Footsteps

  by Lori Roy


(about 387 pages)
96,744
total words
of all the books in our library
63.10%
vividness
of all the books in our library
8.28%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
2.64%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
0.50%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
2.14%
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
is over. Juna has worn Daddy out. Maybe he’s not afraid anymore, or maybe he’s afraid but figures it can’t get any worse. No matter which, Juna’s days living in this house are over, and soon enough, I’ll be alone. Abraham waits until Daddy is gone, and once Abigail has slipped back into the room, he closes the door, shutting us all in the room together. It’s as good as saying “I do.” He is telling everyone, not just Daddy. He is telling Juna and me and Abigail too. He and Juna aren’t just passing time anymore. Juna is his now. She can never again tell him no, and he’ll never again beg for a yes. Juna will have to leave Daddy’s house. She is Abraham’s and will be his for the rest of her life. There will be babies. There will be as many babies as Abraham can father, as many as Juna’s body can mother. She will live in a small house with a loosely woven ceiling and floors that are hard and cold. They will eat greens and pone, she and Abraham, and Juna’s clothes will always be worn and faded and they’ll never fit quite right. She will be closed up in that house and turn soft like me, but not a pleasing sort of soft. Her arms will grow thick; her breasts will fill up and sag more with each child; her hips will flare and dimple. I know these things because it’s what would without speaking another word, walks from the room and closes the door. “Let’s sit you up,” I say, sliding one hand behind Juna’s head. “Too much sun, is all. Be feeling better soon.” I strip her of her limp dress, leaving her to lie in her cotton slip, its straps frayed and yellowed from too many washings. Then I help her lie back again and drape her with a sheet. Outside, the orange light has faded. Shadows dart past the window, bats frightened from under the sill. I leave and return with a saucer. I douse a stiff gray rag and twist it with both hands. Water drips through my fingers and into the saucer. Outside, insects buzz. Trucks crunch over the gravel. Footsteps pass by. I pat the cool cloth to Juna’s cheeks, chest, and forearms. The sharp smell is vinegarvinegar water to soothe her sunburned skin. “You need to drink as much as you can manage,” I say, pressing a tin cup to her mouth. The cool water makes her lips shine. Her face is burned to a dark red, and a white streak cuts across her forehead where she had been wearing a hat. Her hair, which usually hangs in loose waves well past her shoulders, now hangs like twisted straw. Her fingers are stained brown. Each time I try to clean them with my rag, she cries out. After she drinks the water, I feed her cornbread dipped in cane syrup. The yellow pieces crumble

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 1934.88 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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