“I write like…”

February 8, 2011

Thanks to the wonders of procrastination and social networks, I came across this site. You paste in text of something you have written, and via the wonders of statistical analysis it purports to be able to tell you which famous writer you resemble.

So, of course, I had to give it a try.

First thing: Chapter One of the children’s novel. Which currently defies any attempts at giving it a title.

Result: JRR Tolkien.

This one wasn’t a surprise. In hindsight, the work so far on that novel reads very much like someone trying to write like an amalgan of Tolkien, Gaiman, and Pratchett. Which, in all honesty, it was. I’m pretty proud of some of the parts of that work, but many parts don’t sound like me, but rather like authors I like.

But then… I put in the story from this post. And got JK Rowling.

The story from this post got me David Foster Wallace. The only work of his I’ve read is this. Which I read earlier today, by sheer coincidence.

Other writings produced Cory Doctorow, Ursula K. LeGuin and Oscar Wilde.

This leads me back to the first point – that I didn’t have a “writers voice” of my own yet. The fact that I’m getting such varied results probably suggests that this is true. Or that the technology on the site is rubbish, but I’m trying to draw a positive here.  It’s hard to get from under the influence of writers you’ve loved for years – of course you want to sound as good as they do. I think I’m getting closer to writing like me, rather than like writers I admire.

And having said that, I plugged the last two stories I wrote into the site. And, oddly enough, got the only match so far.

Both “A Town Called  Never” and “The Magician’s Goldfish” – written for my niece, with the intention of them being read to her and by her when she’s quite young –  came back with:

I write like
J. D. Salinger

I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!



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