So you can read my books

Monday, June 2, 2014


Scientists find secret to writing
a best-selling novel!

Computer scientists have developed an algorithm which can predict with 84 per cent accuracy whether a book will be a commercial success -

 and the secret is to avoid cliches and excessive use of verbs

A technique called statistical stylometry,

which mathematically examines the use of words and grammar, was found to be “surprisingly effective”

in determining how popular a book would be.
The scientists grudgingly admit that external factors such as luck can also play a role.
There is also a thing called WRITABILITY:
There must be more than detailed world building, a great evil to fight, very high stakes, and memorable, flawed characters.
There used to be a history program on Sundays in the early days of TV:
It made history alive by putting a modern reporter at the seige of Troy or at the building of the pyramids or interviewing Christopher Columbus as he was sailing across the ocean that first time.
It is called IMMEDIACY -- as you read, the prose is so compelling that you are there with the main character, rooting her on.
What makes a novel great for you?
What was the last novel that swept you up into its magic world?


  1. I have had a good run with novels recently.
    I loved The Golem and the Jinni (Helene Wecker) and have just devoured River Fairchild's Jewel of Chandra series - or at least those she has completed.
    No stereotypes - in character or situation, evocative writing, and evocative prose get me in - and keep me.

  2. Interesting. I understand why cliches don't sell books. But verbs? Action-less characters? I thought it was a good thing to use strong verbs. Maybe it's a matter of quality vs quantity. (?) I like sassy, quick-witted characters. Anne Lamott's my favorite author.

    I hope you're well, Roland. Thinking of you.

  3. I am totally into Game of Thrones (book 1)!!! I'm in super awe at the complexity and depth!! I like to tell those who are into the TV series that at least I'm at the stage where the Starks are all intact! LOL!

    Take care

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  5. Two books have drawn me into their story: Death in the House of Life (it had many of my fave characters-especially McCord, Oscar Wilde and others); and the last fiction book of Hillerman that I reviewed today called Skinwalkers. . .on the Rainforest Blog.

    I seldom read books about motivation (I have lots), or inspiration (I have many sources of this too), but I love books that teach me something I didn't know or transport me to other locales.

  6. I think that language that doesn't get in the way of the story is critical for keeping me engaged in the moment--nothing I have to look up, limit description to the stuff that matters to the story. I also like being in a 'close' PoV--I want to know a bit what they're thinking, not just be told what they're doing.

    The couple series I have dived into and LIVED though, are, Harry Potter and Game of Thrones and both of those have pieces that satisfy ALL of the things I like, mystery, romance, complicated social relationships, early hints at later events. The stories aren't just told, they're built.

  7. I too am confused on the verb thing. People don't want to read books where things happen, I guess?

    I can hardly wait until science can create a computer program that churns out award winning novels for me. It would save me SO much work!

  8. Elephant's Child:
    I am currently reading the new HARRY DRESDEN novel, so I am happy ... until it ends. Like you, I love it when I stumble upon a series I enjoy.

    I quoted exactly about the verbs but I suspect it was an editing error on the article's part -- and it meant to say ADverb. :-)

    I am facing another cancer surgery -- this time on my left ear.

    I have so many dearly loved authors that it would be hard to pick out one.

    I was tempted to start GAME OF THRONES but with so many maimings, betrayals, and deaths of favorite characters -- I decided like with many Stephen King's novels to bypass it.

    I hope you enjoy the series. I am tempted to start the Walt Longmire mystery series since I enjoy the TV show.

    You've re-interested me in Tony Hillerman with your latest post.

    Thanks for the compliment about DEATH IN THE HOUSE OF LIFE. Mr. Hillerman's ghost is probably muttering under his breath about putting me in with his prose! :-)

    Writing my sequel to it is teaching me even more about ancient Egypt and Egypt in the late 1890's.

    A perceptive comment. Yes, sometimes language does gets in the way.

    CRAFTING a story shows in the quality of the feelings in the reader as she busily turns the pages, caught up in the moments of characters that seem real to her, right?

    Issac Asimov kept his characters at arm's length from the story it felt -- and so I could not get "close" to them which I want to do in any novel.

    Like I told Robyn, I think the author of the article I read meant ADverbs which makes more sense. :-)

    I think these days folks want very short chapter as in James Patterson -- who I hear doesn't even fully write his novels anymore.

    And where would the sense of accomplishment and pride come when you just thumbed an equation to life to write your award-winning novel?

    But you're right: it would be tempting!

  9. Small Island by Andrea Levy


  10. Janie:
    Why did you like it? Dialogue? Subject matter? Characters? I'll have to look it up. :-)