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The Spooky Art

  by Norman Mailer

(about 452 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:

you’re never going to get much done. If I find something is stimulating to me and arousing my energy, that’s fine; I’ll trust it. If you’re a serious young writer and find that you’re writing a lot, then don’t listen to what anyone else says—do your book. There is probably a deeper truth than you’ll ever know in the fact that you’re able to work so well. Of course, you could be writing in absolutely the wrong direction. You could be doing a dreadful book. No matter what you find yourself writing about, if it’s giving you enough energy to continue, then the work bears a profound relationship to you at that point and you don’t question it. Let me take this further. You can write a book with a powerful sense of inner conviction and a year or two later say, “How could I have so deluded myself? This is awful.” Your instinct can betray you, but you still have to go with it. Very often the instinct sees some light at the end of the tunnel, but that’s because you’ve been trapped in a situation where your creative energies can’t get together. Now, at last, you’ve found a way to work. You may be writing out some very bad tendencies in yourself, but this can be good, too. You might be feeling happy because soon you’re going to be done with that malfunctioning side of yourself. That’s what your enthusiasm can be about. Only rarely is one’s machine, that enormous machine, that intellectual leviathan which is obliged to eat, each day, tidbits, gristle, gravel, garbage cans, charlotte russe, old rubber tires, T-bone steaks, wet cardboard, dry leaves, apple pie, broken bottles, dog food, shells, roach powder, dry ballpoint pens, grapefruit juice. All the trash, all the garbage, all the slop, and a little of the wealth go out each day and night into the belly of that old American goat, our newspapers. So the reporters smell also of this work, they smell of the dishwasher and the pots, they are flesh burning themselves very quietly and slowly in the service of a machine which feeds goats, which feeds The Goat. One smells this collective odor on the instant one enters their meeting room. It is not a corrupt smell, it does not have enough of the meats, the savory, and the vitality of flesh to smell corrupt and fearful when it is bad—no, it is more the smell of excessive respect for power, the odor of flesh gutted by avidities that are electric and empty. I suppose it is the bleak smell one could find on the inside of one’s head during a bad cold, full of fever, badly used, burned out of mood. The physical sensation of a cold often is one of power trapped corrosively inside, coils of strength being liquidated in some center of the self. The reporter hangs in a powerless power—his voice directly, or via the rewrite desk indirectly, reaches

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 2261.38 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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