AAAI Publications, 2011 AAAI Fall Symposium Series

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Simulating Plot: Towards a Generative Model of Narrative Structure
Graham Sack

Last modified: 2011-11-03


This paper explores the application of computer simulation techniques to the fields of literary studies and narratology by developing a model for plot structure and characterization. Using a corpus of 19th Century British novels as a case study, the author begins with a descriptive quantitative analysis of character names, developing a set of stylized facts about the way narratives allocate attention to their characters. The author shows that narrative attention in many novels appears to follow a “long tail” distribution.The author then constructs an explanatory model in NetLogo, demonstrating that basic assumptions about plot structure are sufficient to generate output consistent with the real novels in the corpus.

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