I’m a writer, but I’m also a mathematician, and a dweeb. That’s why I’ve put A1: Dan is Immolated in a Furnace into R-Studio using a function from this StackExchange page, by Paul Rougieux. I’m learning to work in R-Studio in a statistics class at UCSB, but I’m not very skilled with it yet, so I’m glad someone on StackExchange could help. Looking over their code, they used regex (“reg”ular “ex”pression) searches to count the words in each sentence. I’ve got a lot to learn from this! In the meantime, take a look at this output:
I’ve got 1037 words in 102 sentences, for an average of about 10 words per sentence. It also prints the word count of each sentence! (In R-output, the [square-bracketed] entries just track the entry numbers in vectors, so you can ignore them. Also, I think some of my special characters might have messed with the regex, but it’s accurate enough for now. This is an older version of A1, so it’s slightly different today, but the sentence distribution is about the same.)
A mean of ten words might seem low, but I like my writing punchy! The maximum is 31, which is reasonable. Claims this article, if writing has average of 14 words per sentence, a reader understands more than 90% of the content. It’s on the internet, so it must be true!
If we plot the sentence-lengths…
The output is awesome! We can see the first paragraph using longer sentences to set the setting. From sentences 15 to 35, 35 to 60, 60 to 80, and 80 to 102 (ish), we can see a sort of ‘bounce.’ It looks like I’ve thrown super-balls down a hallway, or—and I’m absolutely giddy—a range of tall mountains. There are three noticeable outlying sentence-lengths: this 28 worder;
Virgil Blue closed the paper door behind them with his walking stick, a curious object smooth along the shaft, but gnarled near the top, with ten black spots.
this 24 worder;
You read those books on your path to a new eternity, where you will serve as one of the Mountain’s highest servants—a Zephyr.
and this 31 worder;
Completely covered in black marks, he brought ten logs of fresh firewood and a bushel of kindling from the storeroom, enough to warm the whole monastery on a cold winter morning.
I’m tickled to see the first one, because I write about it in the Commentary to Section C1. I want readers to remember this description in particular, so when Virgil Blue appears again later readers recognize him. Maybe using a longer sentence here help the reader remember the words when they see them together again.
All these outliers stand at the peak of their mountains. I suspect their affect on the reader is mitigated by that bouncing effect, the momentum of short sentences carrying the reader through the longer sentences. The longest sentences carry important description or exposition so the other sentences can be shorter, more action oriented. Like a roller coaster: I push readers to the top and release them over the edge.
It’s like looking at my book’s heartbeat! I’ll have to do this with the other sections—someday.