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The process is called statistical stylometry. It looks at sentence structure and can predict with 84% accuracy whether a book will be a commercial success. Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York used the science to determine what makes books popular:
They found 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 favoured verbs that describe thought processes such as “recognised” or “remembered”.
The researchers tested their algorithm by evaluating popular books in Project Gutenberg’s archives and low-sale books available on Amazon.
Could a computer with this knowledge write an excellent novel?
-via Popular Science