Friday, July 16, 2010

I Write Like . . . Really?

Here's a quick way to discover which author your writing resembles. It's entertaining and somewhat enlighting, although I'm not sure how accurate the results are.

I Write Like is a site you can enter, copy and paste an excerpt of your writing into a text box, and find out which famous writer you write like. The site claims to use a statastical analysis tool to analyze word choices and writing style and compare it to famous writers to see which one your writing resembles.

Sounds interesting, right? So the other day I pasted an excerpt from a short story I've recently written. I was hoping to learn I write like Flannery O'Connor or Katherine Ann Porter, two of my favorite short story writers. I was surprised to find out my writing resembles . . . David Foster Wallace. Really?

His name is familiar, but I've never read any of his work. So, I did a search. The link above is one of many that talks about his writings, his life, and his death. Such a sad waste of talent lost too soon.

Back to the I Write Like site. Visiting the site is quick and easy, but its results are not without critics.

In today's New York Times, David Itzkoff writes about "Getting the Not-Quite-Right Stuff from I Write Like." In his article he relates how he tested the site with three well-known literary passages. The results are quite amusing.

If you're the curious type and don't take these statistical analysis tools too seriously, tool on over to I Write Like and give it a go. It's free and fun, and after you get your results, you can mention that your writing style is like (insert famous author's name) in you bragging "writes."

And if you're a brave soul, you can post your results here so we'll all know who you write like.

22 comments:

  1. This is just hilarious and loads of fun, Donna. Apparently I write like Stephen King! HA! (I hope I can MARKET like Stephen King too...and make his sales...)

    Thanks for that.

    Chynna
    www.lilywolfwords.ca
    www.the-gift-blog.com

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  2. Hi Donna! Yes, I tried it out yesterday and I decided then and there it was quite the funny hoax! I posted humorous piece from my blog, about my husband scaring me so badly on our steps....and it said I write like Robert Louis Stevenson. Yeah! I write just like "Treasure Island", don't I?!

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  3. Hi Chynna,
    Isn't it fun?
    Good to hear from you and glad to learn you write like Stephen King.
    Donna

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  4. I tried three different pieces and got told I write like H.P. Lovecraft known for his wierd fiction, Stephen King, and Harry Harrison, science fiction writer. Golly, I am more talented than I ever suspected. Why don't eidtors recognize this fact? :)

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  5. Hi Becky,
    Yeah, it's all in fun. Kind of like a Cosmo quiz.
    Any time I hear or read the word "statictical analysis tool" I take it with a grain of salt.
    I worked as a management analyst for the Army and the DOD and actually did statistical analyses.
    Most times the findings were valid, but occasionally the results were a SWAG (scientific wild a** guess) rather than a WAG (wild a** guess).
    Robert Louis Stevenson . . . Really?
    Donna

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  6. Hi Claudia,
    Sounds like you're in good company.
    Those are some famous writers. And I agree with what you wrote about editors not recognizing your talent. Shame on them!
    Donna

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  7. This is a fun site. According to it when I blog, I write like Margaret Atwood. When I write, it's more like Stephen King :)

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  8. Hi Jemi,
    Now, that's an odd combination, eh?
    Donna

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  9. Ha ha! Margaret Mitchell! Not a bad comparison for this Georgia gal. Ahhh....would that it were true! *sigh*

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  10. Hi Lisa,
    Margaret Mitchell . . . that's great!
    Donna

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  11. Alrighty, I think they are going heavy on Stephen King,Margaret Mitchell, and Margaret Atwood--three of mine. The other was David Foster Wallace. It was fun though.

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  12. Well that certainly made my day. It told me I write like Margaret Mitchell, who just happens to be one of my favorites!

    Pat
    www.critteralley.blogspot.com

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  13. Um,...James Joyce?

    Well, I do like my run-on sentences (with lots of parenthetical asides). :-)

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  14. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing:) Will have to check it out.
    Thanks and blessings,
    Karen

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  15. I tried to trick it by entering first a serious piece and then a silly one...and it said Kurt Vonnegut both times! Wow, am I ever flattered! Thanks for sharing the fun and making my day. And so on.

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  16. I and many others write just like Dan Brown! The second piece submitted, like you, said David Foster Wallace. Scary as I also spent time at the UofI Champaign and like Mary Karr. He committed suicide so maybe I'm in trouble!

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  17. Hi Linda F.,
    Wow! Stephen King,Margaret Mitchell, Margaret Atwood and David Foster Wallace.
    You are versitile!
    Donna

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  18. Hi Pat,
    Margaret Mitchell! I can see that fit for you, and I'm glad to hear she's one of your favorite writers.
    Donna

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  19. Hi Cathy,
    James Joyce? Awesome. (He's Irish, right?).
    Donna

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  20. Hi Karen,
    Thanks for stopping by. After you check it out, hope you stop back to let us know who you write like.
    Donna

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  21. Hi Tammy,
    You trickster, you. Kurt Vonnegut--twice! Congratulations. That's great.
    Donna

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  22. Hi Linda A.,
    Dan Brown. Talk about a money-making machine! And David Foster Wallace is quite impressive. Such a sad waste of talent to take his own life. I read a few articles about his depression. So sad.
    Donna

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