In 2017, Ben Blatt published Nabokov’s Favourite Word is Mauve.

It uses statistical data to analyse such things as how often an author mentions the weather, what is their favourite colour and how often they use exclamation points. Elmore Leonard hated them but ignored his own advice about how often to use them.

I’ve been mindful of his dislike, ever since reading his 10 rules of writing. I don’t often resort to exclamation points, but in closing my last novel I used them twice in consecutive sentences. I tried removing one, but it insisted on being there! (see…!)

Blatt’s book looks more accessible and relevant than the pure data fest of Jodie Archer and Matthew L. Jockers’ The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of a Blockbuster Novel.

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Even this Publishers Weekly article about the book contains some fascinating data:

Danielle Steel Loves the Weather and Elmore Leonard Hates Exclamation Points: Literature by the Numbers

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