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In addition, their process cannot separate the fortunes of multiple characters, which could be a problem for books with multiple story lines — their program would definitely struggle with something as complex as .Instead, their algorithm lumps the characters into one and tracks the overall emotional tone of the book from beginning to end.For example, they provide a detailed breakdown of which doesn’t fit neatly into any one of the categories.

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To call back to again, there are many modern novels that tell more complex tales and which embrace emotional ambiguity, muddying the story’s arc and making a precise definition difficult.

They used the aptly named “hedonometer” , also developed by the Computational Story Lab, to compile a list of over 10,000 words and rate them on a spectrum of positive to negative using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk service. Adding up these windows over the course of a whole book produced graphs of characters’ fortunes — the highs and lows — throughout a given novel, and generated a broad visualization of the arc the story takes.

According to the researchers, theses are the six story arcs that appear time and time again in Western literature: While some stories don’t fit into these archetypes, the researchers say that the majority of Western classics fall into one of these categories.

The AI authors out there, even those trained on Shakespeare, fall somewhat short of engaging — or even comprehensible.

Reading the stories that emerge from a particular culture gives unique insights into norms, practices and overall patterns of thought.

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