Success with Style: Using Writing Style to Predict the Success of Novels
12 Pages

Success with Style: Using Writing Style to Predict the Success of Novels


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SuccesswithStyle: UsingWritingStyletoPredicttheSuccessofNovels VikasGanjigunteAshok SongFeng YejinChoi Department of Computer Science Stony Brook University Stony Brook, NY 11794-4400 vganjiguntea, songfeng, 1Abstract fore they are picked up by a publisher. Perhaps due to its obvious complexity of the prob- Predicting the success of literary works is a lem, there has been little previous work that attempts curious question among publishers and aspir- to build statistical models that predict the success of ing writers alike. We examine the quantitative literary works based on their intrinsic content and connection, if any, between writing style and quality. Some previous studies do touch on the no- successful literature. Based on novels over tion of stylistic aspects in successful literature, e.g., several different genres, we probe the predic- extensive studies in Literature discuss literary stylestive power of statistical stylometry in discrim- of signi cant authors (e.g., Elleg ard (1962), Mc-inating successful literary works, and identify characteristic stylistic elements that are more Gann (1998)), while others consider content char- prominent in successful writings. Our study acteristics such as plots, characteristics of charac- reports for the rst time that statistical stylom- ters, action, emotion, genre, cast, of the best-selling etry can be surprisingly effective in discrim- novels and blockbuster movies (e.g.



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Published 10 January 2014
Reads 383
Language English


Proceedings of the 2013 Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing, pages 1753–1764,
Seattle, Washington, USA, 18-21 October 2013.c 2013 Association for Computational Linguistics