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The Hangman’s Sonnet

  by Reed Farrel Coleman

(about 349 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:

in my own head and heart. Even when Diana was still alive, I thought of the two of us as a pair, not like a couple, exactly… I don’t know. I meant it when I said I was never anybody’s Miss Right and I don’t want to be, but I thought that two loners like us, we might be able to be something more than friends and less than… that we were good together. This isn’t coming out right.” “Say what you’ve got to say.” “I used to dream about being with you.” “Then why didn’t you—” “I don’t know, maybe because I’m a fool.” “You’re a lot of things, Doc, but a fool isn’t one of them.” “Then because lovers have always been easy to come by for me. I’ve never had trouble getting men in my bed, but I’ve never had a lot of friends. I’ve never had any like you.” He laughed. “Not sure how to take that.” “As a compliment, you ass.” She shook her head at him. “I guess I’m not willing to risk what we have. Because no matter what you might say, I’d be your rebound girl and that’s how you would think of me. I don’t think I could stand that.” “But last night doesn’t have to mean anything more than it was. We can go back to what we were, you showing up at my door and drinking, talking.” “You see, Jesse, I don’t think we can go back. I don’t dresser drawers out one at a time, running his latex-gloved hands through the old lady’s clothes. He’d turned the drawers over, searching for a hidden key, a note with instructions, or an envelope. Something. Anything. Now he moved on to her bedroom closet, gagging at the lavender, lilac, orange peel, and clove stench of the big potpourri sachet on the shelf. It wasn’t just the potpourri getting to him. It was the way the mildew and camphor mixed and clashed with each other. Maybe it wasn’t that at all. Since coming into her bedroom, he hadn’t been able to escape the memories of his own grandma. Memories of how she used to powder herself up and pile on the clownish face paint over her sagging chicken skin, how she sprayed on sickly-sweet old-lady perfume to cover up the telltale scent of her own decay. He couldn’t escape the feeling that she was watching him, judging him, especially when he touched the old lady’s underthings. That really gave him the creeps. After patting down her dresses, her coats, and inspecting each of her shoes, he grabbed a chair. He stood on it and began to remove things from the shelf: hat boxes, cardboard boxes, photo albums, letters bound together with faded red ribbon. This was more like it. He tossed each item onto the bed, gladly leaving the white satin sachet bag behind. As he stepped off the chair, there was a knock at the bedroom door. Heart thumping, he froze

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 1746.18 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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other books by Reed Farrel Coleman

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