|FictionFixer™ tracks and analyzes more than 250 characteristics of current bestselling novels. The software combines this data with a consensus of expert advice and opinion to define a model representing what the public expects from such books. FictionFixer matches every corresponding aspect of your manuscript to the current model, a specific work, or both. View examples here. Peruse our product line at PayPal, or read about ordering. Be sure to visit our Recommended Reading List.
New: The first FictionFixer Bestselling Novel Identification Contest. Click the blue ribbon to the right to go to the contest rules and download the sample FictionFixer analysis. If you identify the novel, you will win "The Works!" (Grand prize = $2,500 value).
FictionFixer Output Sample (40 pages) This sample is from version 1.0 of the engine; nearly all the future "enhancements" mentioned have been implemented in the current version (2.1.5)
FictionFixer Information Flyer (2 pages)
FictionFixer™ applies computational literary stylistics (including corpus linguistics), deep-structure pattern-recognition, predictive modeling, and information theory to enhance a book’s potential position on "the list." The software is unique because the developer's background enables us to apply to creative writing, analytical methodology hitherto reserved for music.
Just like the example above, while the unique ingredients are what makes it stand out, certain core ingredients must be present in a novel for it to be in the running. There is a model, and it too, evolves from year to year. Fortunately, the world continually votes on this matter; they vote with their pocketbooks, and these votes are recorded on bestseller lists. But what are the ingredients? What is the current model? FictionFixer™ answers these questions and more.
FictionFixer™ reveals how close to the mark your novel is in relation to the current model of what people are buying. And, the software tells you exactly what to change to come closer to the ideal. The more you know about what your readership expects, the easier it is to communicate a particular story or message—to get the content across to the reader without them being bogged down by the form in which it is presented. Do you want your story to touch the maximum number of people? If the answer is yes, read on.
Making the Bestseller List
According to Michael Korda in Making the List, the bestseller list tells us "what we’re actually reading (or at least, what we’re actually buying) as opposed to what we think we ought to be reading, or would like other people to believe we’re buying. Like stepping on the scales, it tells us the truth." It also tells us how much money a book is earning; moving up one notch on the list corresponds to an increase in sales measured in hundreds of thousands — each position can represent millions of dollars in sales.
Any wide-reaching sales survey — like the bestseller list — has both the power to generate profits for the item being sold, and the potency to influence the future of the market within which similar items are offered. Consider popular music and the "top forty" list. Every next hit borrows something from the previous, and this lineage can be traced like a genetic tree back to the beginnings of music history. We may romanticize the creative geniuses whose works stand like guiding lights along the path of musical development, but musical taste is an adaptive process; even the most revolutionary innovators stand on ground proven to be solid by their predecessors before they break through to new territory for future generations.
Can a computer program influence the sales of a book?
Past publishers have acknowledged the validity of certain formulae in predicting a bestseller. While admitting that "at least half of the books on any given week’s bestseller list are there to the immense surprise and puzzlement of their publishers," Michael Korda reports that one well known example of such a formula is "Civil War + doctor + dog = $." The answer is a resounding Yes! (About half the time.)
FictionFixer is an expert system designed to analyze your novel according to an aggregation of the advice provided by more than three dozen leading writing teachers in the books pictured at the left. (Too small to read the titles? Here is a larger version, and click to enlarge further. Or visit our recommended reading list.) While there is no way a computer program can be a "magic bullet" if the basic ingredients of plot and character development are not present, applying FictionFixer’s advice to your manuscript will assure that your novel comes much closer to those that reach the top of the bestseller lists.
FictionFixer: A model-based approach to story-telling.
If you think in three acts, have a protagonist and antagonist, differentiate between showing and telling the story, and can conceive of a character arc, you already use models.
Why use models? Because there is nothing new under the sun; what’s tried and true became so for a reason: because it works! The best strategy is to present your story in a way that fulfills the readers’ expectations. Stated simply: if you’re selling a duck, it better walk and talk like one.
FictionFixer offers three options for stylistic evaluation (purchase at PayPal):
- Your manuscript compared to the bestseller model the software has been crystallizing through analysis of a corpus of bestselling novels.
- Your manuscript compared to a single pre-existing model that is already part of FictionFixer’s corpus.
- Your manuscript compared to a model work of your choosing.
Unlike grammar checkers that match your words and phrases to canned rules, FictionFixer deals with the "fuzzier" aspects of your story. When was the last time your word-processor advised you to bring in the antagonist earlier, between 2,832 and 4,218 words earlier; or to change the attributions in 259 dialog sentences; or to add at least 14 sensory triggers per thousand words; or to rewrite the openings of 436 narrative (non-dialog) sentences, telling the specific sentences and precise problems?
FictionFixer's recommendations are not overly general.
You will receive hundreds of citations you can fix, each specific to your novel, each bringing you novel closer to the "Best Seller" model. Not "you need more dialog," but rather "you need between 233 and 248 additional dialog sentences and at least 17 of these should be one-line stingers." Not "use less passive voice," but "fix at least 213 of the was/were type and 178 of the has/had/have been type." Not "too many sentences begin with pronouns," but a pronoun by pronoun listing of how far you have exceeded the model, so you can search for each occurrence and deal with it! This, and hundreds more, including specific phrases and words in your novel that need rewriting (and why)— these usually number in the thousands. Yes, it will take you several days to implement everything that FictionFixer recommends, but it will be worth it.
FictionFixer gives you valuable recommendations that you can apply easily and immediately to enhance your readers’ experience and increase the marketability of your novel.