Literary Twist Project

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A couple of months ago I came up with a daft idea based on reading ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ (a novel that has since spawned a new genre of classic/horror crossovers). I was really disappointed by the book and smugly thought ‘I could do that!’

It just seemed like the author had chucked in a few ‘unmentionables’ and a bit of martial arts and released the literary monster onto the world. So, in a poor attempt to take the mickey, I set up a Yahoo pipe that would allow people to paste in a title and description and the pipe would do a simple find/replace action and turn the text into a cheesy piece of Hammer horror.

Zombie Librarian, courtesy 'wvs' on Flickr.

It worked on a simple level, but I thought I must be able to improve on it. I haven’t really tinkered with the idea since then, but have felt it’s probably worth pursuing just for fun & as a personal learning exercise.

I’ve decided to call the project ‘Literary Twist’.

There’s a number of stages I’ll need to go through to get something decent up and running.

(1) Work out a set of words used frequently enough in the English language that would appear a high percentage of the time in any text a user entered into the description, or use term extraction to pull out enough relevant terms in the description that could be replaced.
(2) Decide on appropriate words that could be used to replace the original words and feed them into the replace procedure.
(3) Possibly if someone entered an ISBN, author / title I’d be able to pull in a synopsis from a book catalogue instead of using manual text entry?
(4) Do the process of find/replace
(5) Output the result as a decent looking web page (all nice and purdy)
(6) I’d like to have a nice user-friendly interface (a form) to the pipe as well, which I know I can do via html and javascript, but I’ve never tried.
(7) I’d also like to go beyond the horror genre and allow users to select the genre they want it twisted into (eg romance, western) and I’d want to do it all in the same form/screen.

So, I think I’ll give it a go. I’m not sure how long it’ll take, but I’ll be keeping track of it here.

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