Author Topic: Plots and Shapes of Stories  (Read 597 times)

RBC

Plots and Shapes of Stories
« on: January 25, 2020, 07:15:48 AM »
If anyone has seen Kurt Vonnegut's 'Shapes of Stories' video here is a data-driven continuation and interesting deep dive into 'shapes' of plots. Apparently, text-mining is a thing and scientists dig into stories to analyse all kinds of things about them

Maybe this can be interesting way to get yourself out of a rut or being stuck with plot... looking at things in this weird way could lead to something.

A Novel Method for Detecting Plot
http://www.matthewjockers.net/2014/06/05/a-novel-method-for-detecting-plot/


Actual, very deep deep dive into this:
http://sappingattention.blogspot.com/2014/12/fundamental-plot-arcs-seen-through.html

Dunno if it's useful, but figured I'd throw it out there.  :icon_think:
 
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Tom Wood

Re: Plots and Shapes of Stories
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2020, 07:39:28 AM »
...
A Novel Method for Detecting Plot
http://www.matthewjockers.net/2014/06/05/a-novel-method-for-detecting-plot/
...

Mathew Jockers and Jodie Archer co-wrote a book that details their computer-based method of analyzing plots:

https://www.amazon.com/Bestseller-Code-Anatomy-Blockbuster-Novel-ebook/dp/B01B1MWKIU/
 
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RBC

Re: Plots and Shapes of Stories
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2020, 07:45:22 AM »
...
A Novel Method for Detecting Plot
http://www.matthewjockers.net/2014/06/05/a-novel-method-for-detecting-plot/
...

Mathew Jockers and Jodie Archer co-wrote a book that details their computer-based method of analyzing plots:

https://www.amazon.com/Bestseller-Code-Anatomy-Blockbuster-Novel-ebook/dp/B01B1MWKIU/

Have you read it yet? Is it dry and hard to read? If not, I might just get it.
 

Tom Wood

Re: Plots and Shapes of Stories
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2020, 08:00:41 AM »
...
A Novel Method for Detecting Plot
http://www.matthewjockers.net/2014/06/05/a-novel-method-for-detecting-plot/
...

Mathew Jockers and Jodie Archer co-wrote a book that details their computer-based method of analyzing plots:

https://www.amazon.com/Bestseller-Code-Anatomy-Blockbuster-Novel-ebook/dp/B01B1MWKIU/

Have you read it yet? Is it dry and hard to read? If not, I might just get it.

I wasn't impressed. Their computer model correlates several metrics to a book's position on the best-seller list. For example, word-usage such as the frequency of the use of the word 'very' was inversely related. More usage of 'very' correlated with a lower rank. That article hints at the most useful revelation - that a plot's 'emotion' curve is highly correlated to being a best seller. It found that The DaVinci Code and 50 Shades of Gray have the perfect pattern and are almost identical, with the exception that 50 Shades ended on a downbeat so she could write a sequel. At the time, the model predicted that The Circle would be a big hit.

It's not particularly hard to read, but I thought they spent too much time justifying their process. I think they were aware they would get some blow-back, so they over-compensated on making the process seem bullet-proof.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 08:03:05 AM by Tom Wood »
 
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RBC

Re: Plots and Shapes of Stories
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2020, 08:12:22 AM »
...
A Novel Method for Detecting Plot
http://www.matthewjockers.net/2014/06/05/a-novel-method-for-detecting-plot/
...

Mathew Jockers and Jodie Archer co-wrote a book that details their computer-based method of analyzing plots:

https://www.amazon.com/Bestseller-Code-Anatomy-Blockbuster-Novel-ebook/dp/B01B1MWKIU/

Have you read it yet? Is it dry and hard to read? If not, I might just get it.

I wasn't impressed. Their computer model correlates several metrics to a book's position on the best-seller list. For example, word-usage such as the frequency of the use of the word 'very' was inversely related. More usage of 'very' correlated with a lower rank. That article hints at the most useful revelation - that a plot's 'emotion' curve is highly correlated to being a best seller. It found that The DaVinci Code and 50 Shades of Gray have the perfect pattern and are almost identical, with the exception that 50 Shades ended on a downbeat so she could write a sequel. At the time, the model predicted that The Circle would be a big hit.


Ouch... The Circle was not a hit really... that said there are more variables in movies that make or break them then books... but you can't predict 100% everything either. Wonder how they would fare with 100 books/movies selected.
 

Vijaya

Re: Plots and Shapes of Stories
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2020, 10:54:31 AM »
I read the Archer/Jockers book and found it interesting and entertaining. It's an easy read. The big takeaway is having emotional highs and lows on a regular basis--think sine wave. I'm revising my historical keeping that in mind. I was also reading the Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass and it's a lot meatier and useful.


Author of over 100 books and magazine pieces, primarily for children
Vijaya Bodach | Personal Blog | Bodach Books
 
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RBC

Re: Plots and Shapes of Stories
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2020, 01:29:03 PM »
I read the Archer/Jockers book and found it interesting and entertaining. It's an easy read. The big takeaway is having emotional highs and lows on a regular basis--think sine wave. I'm revising my historical keeping that in mind. I was also reading the Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass and it's a lot meatier and useful.

Good stuff!  :tup3b
 

VisitasKeat

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Re: Plots and Shapes of Stories
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2020, 12:40:56 AM »
Some initial thoughts:

I feel words and sentences can be classified vertically and horizontally based on the emotional intensity, reach, gravity, and buoyancy, and so on.

The reach of a sentence depends on how the writer throws it. So, that may determine it's lenght along the x-axis. A sentence that screeches, for example, would have a longer line than that of a politely spoken one.

The depth or height along the y-axis would depend on the weights - gravity and buoyancy - of the words. However, their intensities can be represented on +y or -y depending on whether they are positive or negative words  Eg: 'Laugh' has more intensity than 'Smile', and because it's a positive emotion, it has more buoyancy on +y axis, a higher amplitude. In the same manner, 'Depression' has a larger amplitude than 'Brood' along -y axis.

Yes, emotions can be represented as vectors.

Sentences also have a take off angle and a landing angle. Example: 'e' has terrific landing power in sentences and words, not just because it's a vowel, but your lip gymnastics will screech along the +x axis before halting; in fact, +z axis from the lips.

Similarly, 'O' gives the maximum opening angle for the sentence projectile. Your lips open at 90 degrees. The sentence flies vertically before dropping.

 
 
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RBC

Re: Plots and Shapes of Stories
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2020, 04:35:20 AM »
Some initial thoughts:

I feel words and sentences can be classified vertically and horizontally based on the emotional intensity, reach, gravity, and buoyancy, and so on.

The reach of a sentence depends on how the writer throws it. So, that may determine it's lenght along the x-axis. A sentence that screeches, for example, would have a longer line than that of a politely spoken one.

The depth or height along the y-axis would depend on the weights - gravity and buoyancy - of the words. However, their intensities can be represented on +y or -y depending on whether they are positive or negative words  Eg: 'Laugh' has more intensity than 'Smile', and because it's a positive emotion, it has more buoyancy on +y axis, a higher amplitude. In the same manner, 'Depression' has a larger amplitude than 'Brood' along -y axis.

Yes, emotions can be represented as vectors.

Sentences also have a take off angle and a landing angle. Example: 'e' has terrific landing power in sentences and words, not just because it's a vowel, but your lip gymnastics will screech along the +x axis before halting; in fact, +z axis from the lips.

Similarly, 'O' gives the maximum opening angle for the sentence projectile. Your lips open at 90 degrees. The sentence flies vertically before dropping.

Interesting what science and data quantify these days. Getting better at these things.
 

Jeff Tanyard

Re: Plots and Shapes of Stories
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2020, 08:18:10 AM »
Some initial thoughts:

I feel words and sentences can be classified vertically and horizontally based on the emotional intensity, reach, gravity, and buoyancy, and so on.

The reach of a sentence depends on how the writer throws it. So, that may determine it's lenght along the x-axis. A sentence that screeches, for example, would have a longer line than that of a politely spoken one.

The depth or height along the y-axis would depend on the weights - gravity and buoyancy - of the words. However, their intensities can be represented on +y or -y depending on whether they are positive or negative words  Eg: 'Laugh' has more intensity than 'Smile', and because it's a positive emotion, it has more buoyancy on +y axis, a higher amplitude. In the same manner, 'Depression' has a larger amplitude than 'Brood' along -y axis.

Yes, emotions can be represented as vectors.

Sentences also have a take off angle and a landing angle. Example: 'e' has terrific landing power in sentences and words, not just because it's a vowel, but your lip gymnastics will screech along the +x axis before halting; in fact, +z axis from the lips.

Similarly, 'O' gives the maximum opening angle for the sentence projectile. Your lips open at 90 degrees. The sentence flies vertically before dropping.


There's probably a way to model all this using some combination of the wave equation and the heat equation.   :icon_think:
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VisitasKeat

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Re: Plots and Shapes of Stories
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2020, 02:17:08 PM »
More initial thoughts:

It's laborious to assign weights to words in dictionary, or, perhaps, only a portion of it may be assigned integer values based on raw data collected. Either ways, the curve is automatically obtained. A thesaurus may be useful to grade relative weights based on word intensity level.

Opening  and closing angles for sentences shouldn't be a hassle as we can quantify all the 26 characters. Of course, the opening alphabet also need to be combined with one or more succeeding alphabets of the first word in a sentence in order to determine the opening angle of the sentence projectile, the sentence curve. Similarly for the last word where the last alphabet may be taken together with the preceding  alphabets to get landing angle.

So, total possible permutations for opening angles

= (26P1) * (26P1) * (26P1) * (26P1)

= (26!/25!) * (26!/25!) * (26!/25!) * (26!/25!)

= 26 * 26 * 26 * 26  = 456,796 opening angles

Similarly, 456,976 closing angles.

The solutions would include stings like 'aaaa' and 'bbbb' which we don't ignore. The first would be a scream and the second could be a character stammering or pausing.

I have ignored case sensitivity as that matters only when a sentence is shouted.

This quantification is humanely possible by a medium-sized research team.

I have limited to three succeeding and preceding alphabets going by the social media philosophy that there are degrees of connections till the third degree.

We can also give weights to punctuation marks. Eg: comma is a pause, semicolon is a stronger pause, and a period the strongest pause. They mostly impact the +x axis, the sentence throw and it's length. We can say that they are vector displacements. As though you pressed spacebar on keyboard.

Thus the computer graphs be generated.

Oh, and since each word in a sentence has its own takeoff and landing angles, the sentence curve is made of mini projectiles, their shapes also determined by the word buoyancies along the +y and -y axis.

When bestselling novels are fed into this software, it may provide useful information as to how important scenes shape up. I lay emphasis on scenes as they are the building blocks of a novel.

So, retrospectively, we can see the shapes of important scenes, which primarily influence the plot.

The graphs are two dimensional but can be made three dimensional if page numbers are fed along the +z axis, into the screen. Thus we know a desired plot shape is obtained on average at say, page 180, and so on.
 

Jeff Tanyard

Re: Plots and Shapes of Stories
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2020, 03:44:57 PM »
Thus we know a desired plot shape is obtained on average at say, page 180, and so on.


I think this is the primary thing we'd want to establish in any sort of model: finding the percentages of the book's progress at which local minima and maxima occur.
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