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Waiting to Exhale

  by Terry McMillan


(about 537 pages)
134,368
total words
of all the books in our library
37.29%
vividness
of all the books in our library
10.14%
passive voice
of all the books in our library
3.19%
all adverbs
of all the books in our library
0.54%
ly-adverbs
of all the books in our library
2.65%
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
to do it, he’d be enraged. I know he would.” “So what can we do, Ma?” I asked, knowing she didn’t have an answer. I wish Russell—or somebody—was here, somebody that could help me think of what to do. I wish somebody was here who could put their arms around me and her, too, and make everything all right. I wish somebody would stop my daddy from dying the way he is, make all his pain go away. And I wish I was ten years old again and we were still living in Sierra Vista and everything would be like it used to be. Like it should be: normal. “I’ve got to think about this a little longer, although the lawyer told me I don’t have much time. If I’m going to do it, it had better be soon, so as not to look suspicious.” “I truly wish I had some way of helping, Ma. I don’t have anything that’s worth anything. Which is embarrassing. At my age, I should be in a position to help you and Daddy. But I’m not.” “You’re doing the best you can, Robin, and don’t worry. We’ll figure something out. We’ll figure something out.” “Is he asleep now?” “Yes, he is.” “I wish I could take tomorrow off, but I have a meeting with these transportation people, an account I’ve written the proposal for, and it’s a biggie—a ten-million-dollar account. I think we may get it, so I have to be green and blue veins popping through her skin and remember when her hands used to be smooth and brown. Her hair is still in rollers, and she’s wearing a dull floral housedress. Ever since her operations, she still wears a bra but stuffs the cups with foam. When I bend down to hug her, I feel them cave in. It breaks my heart. “Where’s Daddy?” I ask. She shakes her head back and forth and points. “In the kitchen, making his lunch.” I walk through the living room—which is full of the same furniture they had when I was little—to the kitchen, and there he is, with at least ten slices of whole-wheat bread spread out on the counter and a jar of mayonnaise in front of him. He has a plastic case knife in his hand, because my mother’s hidden all the real ones. He’s a big man, which is where I get my height from, but now he’s as thin as thread. His blue jeans sag, his once broad shoulders are round and narrow, his long arms are bonier than mine. My daddy’s hair is white, full of tiny curls that lay flat against his head. But I see patches of his scalp, because he’s been pulling his hair out. “Hi, Daddy,” I say, and when he turns around, he nods and keeps on spreading the mayonnaise on a slice of bread. “What’s doing, pumpkin?” he says, and I feel a smile come on my face

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 2687.36 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 Terry McMillan

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