Monday, August 23, 2010

Yeah, I write like that famous guy

Do you think you write like Ernest Hemingway? Or maybe Stephen King? Now you can find out. Sort of.
 
Public discussion about a new tool called "I Write Like" made the rounds of the cyber-sphere while I was away on medical leave, so I'm sure I'm the last person on Earth to discover it.  It purports to be a "statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of famous writers."

Even though IWL has been mocked by many in the media, the idea of comparing one's own writing to famous authors is actually appealing. It's as if we could run a DNA test of our writing. Who is our real parent: William Shakespeare, or (gasp) a James Patterson clone?

When I ran the first page of my WIP through the tool, it said I write like Dan Brown. I was actually shooting for something closer to Michael Crichton in my current work, but okay, no complaints from me. Then I ran a few paragraphs of an earlier draft through the program, and it told me I write like Arthur C. Clarke. That's closer to Crichton's neck of the solar system, right? I got stoked about that result. Until, that is, I read someplace that Lindsay Lohan also writes like Sir Arthur. And unless her writing shows depths not heretofore displayed in her public Tweets and twitterings, I think there may be a fundamental problem with the IWL's algorithm.

Heck. I don't care if it's accurate or not. I can dream, can't I? Give me Clarke's reputation with Brown's sales, and I'd be one happy camper.

Have you tried IWL? What was your result? 
     
-- KL


17 comments:

  1. Well, that was a little disturbing, but kind of fun. It says I write like Douglas Adams, based on the current rendition of my WIP's opening scene. So I randomly grabbed samplers from a couple of other stories (really rough)to see what it said...I'll be danged, it said Douglas Adams every time. Maybe the zombie cockroaches have something to do with it (even though they weren't in the sampler)?

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  2. I ran the analysis and apparently I write like Ian Fleming. Not the famous James Bond author but Ian Fleming, the assistant produce manager at the local Winn Dixie.

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  3. I tried three different selections, from two different ms's: Chuck Palahniuk, Cory Doctorow, and James Joyce. James Joyce? I'm in trouble.

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  4. I tried the opening scene from my latest and it came up "Stephen King." I'm afraid to try again, for fear the result will be "Larry King."

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  5. Turns out I write like Bram Stoker. Who knew?

    www.johngilstrap.com

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  6. Too weird ..... Robert Louis Stevenson. (I just read Treasure Island again last week.) This can't be good - I write for kids. Time to quit???

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  7. Just for kicks, I ran the analysis again but this time I used a few pages from a Dan Brown novel. It came back saying that he writes like Joe Moore. Boy will he be surprised. :-)

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  8. Joe, lol about Dan Brown. This is fun, isn't it? Chaco, I'm embarrassed to say I never read Hitchhiker's Guide, but not bad to write like a wildly popular author. Cory Doctorow, very cool, Timothy! Alan, let's just agree to forget the James Joyce result, shall we? Unless it's like an updated Molly Bloom's soliloquy. Richard, no shame in Stephen King--kind of like I feel about Dan Brown. And John, Bram Stoker, now, that's very cool! Maybe you should start cashing in on the vampire trend! JaxPop, Treasure Island, are you kidding? That's quintessential great subject matter for kids.

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  9. HI everyone - Forgive the input of yet another another Claire. I have been lurking for months and really enjoy everyone's insights into the writing world. They have been invaluable.

    Kathryn - I Write Like is a hoot. I put in the first page of my WIP and got David Foster Wallace. So I tried a section of heavy dialogue and got Kurt Vonnegut. Very cool... but intimidating too.

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  10. Dunno Kathryn - the 1st part I submitted had no dialogue, though it did describe the hanging of Calico Jack Rackham (my 16 year-old protag's anscestor). Tried a few more times & it kicked out Jack London twice &, again, Stevenson. Must be I'm trapped in some time warp - but the writing doesn't seem 'old school' to me. Thanks for this link - I've spent way too much time screwin' around instead of working. Damned annoying really.

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  11. Three different samples indicated I write like Annie Rice, Stephenie Meyer and Cory Doctorow. Weird!

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  12. When I was playing with it I got Stephen King, Isaac Asimov, and Dan Brown. Since I'd be happy to be mentioned in the same zip code as any of those three, well then, of course, the analyzer is brilliant!

    Now, I ran your post through IWL and you blog like Cory Doctrow. Any thoughts?

    Terri
    www.whyifearclowns.com

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  13. Don't know, Terri, guess I'll have to read him now! Welcome, Claire--always room for one more.

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  14. According to IWL the new first chapter of 65 Below sounds like Mario Puzo, Chapter 2 sounds like Arthur C Clarke. By the 7th chapter I have turned into Kurt Vonnegut.

    I am apparently quite schizophrenic.

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  15. What fun!

    Chapter one of my current draft came up Gertrude Stein and I had to google her. Never heard of her before.

    Then an earlier draft of a different chapter came up Raymond Chandler. Yay! I'll take Chandler any day.

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  16. David Foster Wallace. I'm not sure what to think of that.

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