Authors’ ‘invisible’ words reveal blueprint for storytelling

Authors’ ‘invisible’ words reveal blueprint for storytelling

The ”invisible” words that shaped Dickens classics also lead audiences through Spielberg dramas. And according to new research, these small words can be found in a similar pattern across most storylines, no matter the length or format. …

“We all have an intuitive sense of what defines a story. Until now, no one has been able to objectively see or measure a story’s components,” said study co-author and UT Austin psychology researcher Jamie Pennebaker.

In a computer analysis of nearly 40,000 fictional narratives, including novels and movie dialogues, the researchers tracked authors’ use of pronouns (she, they), articles (a, the), and other short words, unveiling a consistent “narrative curve:”

By Jamie Pennebaker, University of Texas, Austin

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