I Write Like . . .

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Writing can be an arduous process that involves hours of pounding away at a keyboard, planning plots, editing, reading, and fighting the inner critic.  Sometimes you need a little boost to your confidence or just a little chuckle to keep you going.  For just such an occasion I keep a website bookmarked on my toolbar: I Write Like.

The site has a snazzy program that analyzes a written excerpt from a novel, story, blog, etc. and determines which famous author it most resembles. Through statistical analysis, elements such as word choice and sentence structure are compared to the styles of well-known writers.  For example, I copied a segment of my novel draft and pasted it into a box on the site’s homepage.  After a quick click on the analyze button, I found out that I write like Charles Dickens. Yeah, right,  I laughed to myself.  Different pieces of my writing have also been analyzed to be like David Foster Wallace, Margaret Atwood, and Stephanie Meyer.  I’ll admit being compared to Wallace was super exciting as he is an idol of mine, but it’s all relative in the grand scheme of things!

I don’t know how accurate or scientific this whole process is, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t exciting to be compared to Charles Dickens. Though its impossible to pigeonhole artistic expression with statistics, I find “I Write Like” to be a nice distraction when I’m having a difficult writing day.  Of course my goal as a writer is to have a distinct voice that is solely my own, but it’s nice to be “like” a famous author. It gives me a little hope that one day I will taste the sweet victory of publication.

So, who do you write like?

c.b. 2011

54 thoughts on “I Write Like . . .

  1. Wow. My all time favorite author, as you know. I’ll have to go look at this. Perhaps, they don’t have all the authors in there. Perhaps your idol just isn’t listed. I wonder, if someone put in a piece of Wallace’s writing who he would come up like. This could become an addiction.
    I’m going to have to give this a try when I have something to put in.

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  2. It said I write like a crossword puzzle. 🙂

    Actually, I found this site a while back, and depending on which of my poems or prose I input, it says I write like Arthur Clarke, Ursula Le Guin, William Shakespeare or James Joyce. There were a few others, but I can’t remember them now. 🙂

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  3. Ok, I checked it out…too tempting not to. I submitted two samples per story from two different stories. Story one came up Stephen King and Stephenie Meyer. The second story came up Neil Gaiman and Charles Dickens. What does this say about my writing? Ouch! I haven’t hit my writing stride yet…………..

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  4. How amusing! I copied four random selections from various points in my novel (I couldn’t resist) and ended up with James Joyce, Dan Brown, Arthur Clarke, and Shakespeare. How interesting that it wasn’t the same person more than once….

    Since three of the four are from the UK, perhaps I should begin working on a British accent… 🙂 Thanks for sharing it!

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    • How lucky that you share style with James Joyce!

      Sometimes I put the same section in over the course of a few days. In my early drafts of my novel, different names cam up, but then later drafts the results evened out. Now no matter what I do, I am always Charles Dickens.

      Glad you had fun! 🙂

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      • In that case, I’m honored to say that “I write like RoughWaterJohn.” Who ever would have guessed I’d be two peas in a writing pod with a pirate? 🙂

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  5. That site is so much fun ! I took two separate sections from my book and got H.P. Lovecraft first, then Stephanie Meyer. So then I tested my History thesis and got Lovecraft again. I looked up the name and he wrote stuff like “Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre”. ????? Not sure if I should feel ok about that because at least I’m not copying something I’ve read before, but then I’m not sure what it really says about my work without understanding the comparison.

    So I decided to try part of a book I’m reading to see what that came out with so this way maybe I could expand my reading selection by trying a few of their books as well. Because I really really like this author’s style and it made me feel much more comfortable about my style as well as very inspired. The web page said that it was similar to David F Wallace or Arthur Clarke

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  6. Christy,

    I put in a few of my poems and got these responses:

    David Foster Wallace (Niiiice! 🙂 )
    James Fenimore Cooper

    I’m off to look up Cooper as I don’t know his work.

    So it appears you are in good company with James Joyce. 🙂

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  7. I got J.D. Salinger, H.P. Lovecraft and Cory Doctorow. Hmmm.

    When I put in my Western, I got David Foster Wallace. Double hmmm. I don’t know what that says about my western style. It’s so addictive!

    My memoir last month got H.P. Lovecraft.

    Then just out of curiosity I tried 2 more and got Margaret Atwood and Dan Brown. I’m all over the place!

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    • Interesting combination! 😉

      There are days when I’m all over the place, too. It was actually pretty exciting the day I put in several parts of my novel and got the same result every time. Somewhere between the second and third draft I must have found my voice.

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  8. I got J.D. Salinger, H.P. Lovecraft and Cory Doctorow. Hmmm.

    When I put in my Western, I got David Foster Wallace. Double hmmm. I don’t know what that says about my western style.

    My memoir last month got H.P. Lovecraft.

    Then just out of curiosity I tried 2 more and got Margaret Atwood and Dan Brown. I’m all over the place!

    This is so addictive! How did you find it?

    Like

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