by Julia Buckley
I've noticed that many bloggers have experimented with the new web innovation, I Write Like.
I first played with it while reading Peter Rozovsky's blog. He had tried putting some of his own writing into this "statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers," according to the description on the I WRITE LIKE page.
So of course I had to give this a try. I put in some text from my first novel. I got:
I tried again, with something I'd written in an entirely different tone, and I got this:
I took my work in progress and put in the first chapter. The result was this:
Concerned that I only seem to have things in common with male writers (not that I don't admire King and Wallace), I tried again with text from a yet different novel. The result was this:
Okay, I thought. One last try. Let's see if I have anything in common with Dorothy L. Sayers or Margaret Atwood or someone. I put in another WIP:
Okay, I get it. According to this web program, there is a certain male style to my writing. I'm certainly flattered, because if I Write Like wants to put me in the leagues of the poetic Joyce and the bestselling King, not to mention the talented Gibson and the seemingly inimitable Wallace, I'll take it.
Then my son wandered into the room; he wanted to see what his fourth grade crocodile report would elicit. I put in some of the text, and guess what? My son also wrote like David Foster Wallace, even though he wasn't discussing much more than the length and color of the average crocodile. :)
What's fascinating about this site, though (and ALL the conversation about it on websites, blogs and yahoo groups), is that even when people realize there's nothing scientific about it, and that it doesn't guarantee anything (like that you really have Shakespeare's talent and artistry even if it says you write like he did), people still want to try it--and try it again.
The success of the game (and it really is a game) is that people want to keep playing it.
Including me. So yes, now that I've found I Write Like, I think I'll peek in with new text once in a while, just to see what it says. Supposedly the young Russian creator will be adding many more authors now that his program has gone viral (he started with 50 authors).
To whose work does I Write Like compare your writing?