Photo credit: Sierra Katow
My book, Nabokov's Favorite Word Is Mauve
, is about what numbers can teach us about writing. It uses data to sort through thousands of books totaling hundreds of millions of words. But despite all this new information, I found myself rereading one mostly forgotten short story over and over throughout the writing process: Roald Dahl
’s "The Great Automatic Grammatizator."
The premise is darker and more science-fiction based than a typical Dahl work. An engineer named Adolph Knipe dreams of writing stories that people will read. Knipe looks at the beginning of his latest failed novel attempt, which begins, of course, “The night was dark and stormy.” Then he has a eureka moment...