Whatever curious and interesting subject strikes my fancy, be it silly or serious, gets posted for your reading pleasure.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Who Do You Write Like?

(Post originally published November 5, 2011)

While searching the Internet one day, I came across a funny little widget that caught my attention:

“Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.”

Perhaps this is not such a good idea as writers are supposed to find their own voice, but out of curiosity, naturally, I had to see which illustrious master of the pen it would assign me.

I tried various pieces, first chapters of all my books, paragraphs from my blog posts and received the following results:

H.P. Lovecraft came up the most.

David Foster Wallace, was second.

Then James Joyce, Margaret Atwood, and Douglas Adams

Of course, I am not that gullible, trusting in an Internet widget! I wanted to see what would happen if I deliberately made up a few lines that sounded like those by a well known author. Dr. Seuss was in the widget's list of famous authors, so I plonked in the following made-up lines:

I will not eat them on a mat,
I will not eat them with a hat,
I will not eat them with a cat,
I will not eat them with a rat.

The result? Margaret Atwood!

Aha! As expected, widgets cannot think or really analyze anything, but to give it a fair chance, I inserted real lines from “Green Eggs and Ham”:
“Do you like green
eggs and ham?” “I do not like them,
I do not like green
eggs and ham!”
"Would you like them
here or there?"
"I would not like them
here or there.
I would not like them
“I do so like green
eggs and ham!
Thank you!
Thank you,

What did I get?

 Ernest Hemingway.  Seriously.

I decided to do one last experiment, and just let a whole line of a's run across in to paragraph, like this:


And, a whole paragraph of e's:


And lo and behold ~ I write like J.D. Salinger.

The moral of the story: don't trust an internet widget to understand your unique style of writing.

And, the inventors of the widget want me to sign up for their newsletter to teach me how to write better? That's kinda funny!

Here's the link if you wish to try your own experiments: I Write Like ... 

If you like my blog, you may LOVE my books!

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