Monday, 19 July 2010

A fun way to waste time

This one is courtesy of Ryan David Jahn, who came across a site called "I Write Like." You paste in a few paragraphs of your prose, click a button, and some sort of algorithm tells you which famous writer most closely matches your style.

I pasted passages from the first four chapters of Shock and Awe--which rotate POV--and found that I Write Like:

1) David Foster Wallace
2) Chuck Palahniuk
3) James Joyce
4) Dan Brown

Hmm. Toss those in a blender and see how the result tastes.

For those of you too lazy to click on RDJ's link above, I should mention that his multi-POV novel gives him Vladimir Nabokov, Raymond Chandler, and Stephen King--although a second pass with the Nabokov chapter gave him HP Lovecraft. (That's a bit of a comedown from Vlad, I suppose, but I'll gladly swap my Dan Brown voice for his Lovecraft.)

Have fun, you Jane Austen, William S. Burroughs, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Edgar Allen Poe hybrids.


Jake Jesson said...

I pasted the first chapter for each of my three POVs.

1: J. K. Rowling.
2: Stephen King.
3: James Joyce.


David Isaak said...

My problem with using James Joyce is that, although we are blessed with the adjective "Joycean," I'm not sure what it means.

"Dubliners" doesn't read like "Ulysses," and neither of them read like "Finnegans Wake."

When some algorithm tells me something I wrote sounds like Joyce, does it mean "precise, vivid, yet elegaic Joyce," (ala "The Dead") or does it mean "doesn't quite make sense without Cliff Notes (and perhaps not even then) Joyce"?

Kimberly said...

I'm bewilder/bemused... Chapter 1 of latest novel renders Arthur C. Clark while Chapter 7 triggers Stephen King. Opening of After Love got me Nabokov. Hmmmm...

Aliya Whiteley said...

I write like Robert Louis Stevenson. I wasn't expecting that.

Frances Garrood said...

My WIP was James Joyce, but I was a bit suspicious as the link seems to have a bit of a thing about Joyce, so I pasted in a Delia recipe for stew, and that was James Joyce too. My failed novel was Dan Brown (oh dear), but a Shakespeare sonnet was Shakespeare, so it does get some things right.

Neil George Ayres said...

Neat site. Would be nice if had a bit more breadth though. I got Chandler.

David Isaak said...

"...but a Shakespeare sonnet was Shakespeare..."

Not Marlowe? Shucks, and here I thought we might be able to solve the old debate.

We should form an Authors Who've been Accused of Sounding Like Dan Brown Club.

Len Tyler said...

Yes, indeed. This is much better than writing books. I obviously got straight down to finding out who I was.

Since I write quite a lot of parody, I thought I'd try it on those bits first. I put the Hemingway parody from Herring Seller's Apprentice into the machine and it came out as ... Hemingway! So, I pasted in the PG Wodehouse parody and it came out as ... PG Wodehouse!! As you will imagine, I was quite impressed at this point. So I then tried the AA Milne parody and it came out as ... Edgar Allan Poe.

After that I tried all sorts of pieces from each of the books, including the WIP, but it kept telling me I was Edgar Allan Poe. Once or twice it pretended to think I was HP Lovecraft, just to humour me, but it had spotted from the references to Tigger and Piglet that I was really Edgar Allan Poe and it wasn't going to let me think I could pull the wool over its eyes after that.

So, just call me Edgar ....

Doug Worgul said...

it says I write like Aliya Whiteley. Cool!

Aliya Whiteley said...

Now that's impressive.

Frances Garrood said...

This is becoming horribly addictive. The AA directions for getting from Devizes to Reigate are apparently written in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle. Oh, and Peter Rabbit is written in the style of Lews Carroll.

David Isaak said...

Len, I always suspected that something sinister hid behind your affable persona, and now I know what it is: Poe.

Or maybe (more sinister yet) Milne.

LC AA Edgar Tyler?

David Isaak said...

"it says I write like Aliya Whiteley. Cool!"

Sorry, Doug. I'm the Kwisatch Haderach!

Aliya Whiteley said...

There can be only one!

No wait, that's Highlander.

Len Tyler said...

If anyone wants to know more about the algorithm used, there is an interview on

It seems there are only 50 writers currently in the database that you can be like, so if we were hoping to be somebody really obscure, we'll have to wait a bit longer. Great fun though.