Saturday, July 17, 2010

I Write Like (fill in the blank)

Seen the news about I Write Like, a new website for literary geeks -- uh -- aficionados? You can plug in samples of your writing, the site will analyze the material, and a few seconds later will give you the name of a famous author whose style resembles yours.

Just for fun, I copied-and-pasted the first chapter of my first fantasy manuscript into the analyzer, and zappo! I write like Mario Puzo.

Huh? Wait a minute. Didn't he write a classic or something?

Not sure my sword-slinging captain of ragged but courageous medieval-type soldiers compares well with The Godfather, but, hey, this is all just in good fun.

And, apparently, I also write like Stephen King. At least that's the read on the latest episode of Thieves' Honor after it was dropped into the box.

Since the algorithm on the website checks and compares word choices from only about 50 authors, one can't really know if one's style is truly like that of another writer or not -- the site can only compute by the data and programming it is given.

Still, just out of curiosity, I tossed in a few other random writing samples, and here are the results:

"At the End of Time, When the World Was New" (published short story) -- like Vladimir Nabokov

"Jubal's Gift" (unfinished short story-turned-novella) -- like James Joyce

SF/F mashup short story (title withheld, written under another name) -- like David Foster Wallace

"Rowena" (award-winning story written under another name and title) -- like H.P. Lovecraft

Adam (unfinished novel based on family history) -- like Stephen King

Costano (unfinished "historical fantasy" novel) -- like James Joyce

(SK & JJ again -- I think I'm detecting a pattern!)

Eban's Crossing (unfinished YA fantasy novel) -- like David Foster Wallace

A Fist of Thorns (yet another unfinished fantasy novel) -- like James Joyce

"Wolf's Daughter" (short story written under another name and title) -- David Foster Wallace

(JJ & DFW -- really detecting a pattern!)

supernatural novel (written under another name) -- like James Joyce

Of the twelve samples I plugged into the site,
four were compared to James Joyce (an author I have struggled to read but just can't),
three were compared to David Foster Wallace (never read his work),
two were compared to Stephen King (watched movies based on his work, read a story or two),
one was compared to H.P. Lovecraft (again, I've only read a story or two, though friends are fans),
one to Vladimir Nabokov (only read an excerpt of Lolita, just didn't hold my attention),
and one to Mario Puzo (seen the movies, read excerpts of the books).

In this amateur analysis, it seems as if my writing most resembles that of authors I've never read. Good thing, bad thing? Hm.


Phy said...

I posted a number of sections from my latest Tenerife short story in and was compared to Ursula K. LeGuin 4 / 5 times. Not bad company.

Keanan Brand said...

Not bad, indeed. It's been a while since I read something by her.

Went and checked out her bibliography -- even the "short" list is pretty darn long.