Scientists find secret to writing best-selling novel
An algorithm can predict whether a book will be a success or not. Hürriyet photoComputer scientists have developed an algorithm which can predict with 84 percent accuracy whether a book will be a commercial success and the secret is to avoid clichés and excessive use of verbs, The Telegraph has reported.
Scientists have developed an algorithm which can analyze a book and predict with 84 percent accuracy whether or not it will be a commercial success.
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 group of computer scientists from Stony Brook University in New York said that a range of factors determine whether or not a book will enjoy success, including “interestingness,” novelty, style of writing, and how engaging the storyline is, but admit that external factors such as luck can also play a role. By downloading classic books from the Project Gutenberg archive they were able to analyze texts with their algorithm and compare its predictions to historical information on the success of the work. Everything from science fiction to classic literature and poetry was included.
They identified several trends that were often found in successful books, including heavy use of conjunctions such as “and” and “but” and large numbers of nouns and adjectives. Less successful work tended to include more verbs and adverbs and relied on words that explicitly describe actions and emotions such as “wanted,” “took” or “promised,” while more successful books favored verbs that describe thought processes such as “recognized” or “remembered.”