A fellow author described his recent humorous experience with the writing analysis website “I Write Like”. Now that I have a novel and a short story out in the world, with two more short stories available soon, I thought I’d give the software a spin.
Its results were a mixed bag.
|Work||I Wrote Like…|
|Pindlebryth – Chapter 1||Dan Brown|
|– Chapter 2||David Foster Wallace|
|– Chapter 3||Margaret Atwood|
|– Chapter 4||Arthur C. Clarke|
|– Chapter 5||H.P. Lovecraft|
|-Chapter 6||Anne Rice|
|– Chapter 7||H.P. Lovecraft|
|– Chapter 8||L. Frank Baum|
|– Chapter 9||Dan Brown|
|– Epilogue||Arthur C. Clarke|
|That Which Was Lost (March ’16)||Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.|
|The Origin of Specious (Jan ’16)||Arthur C. Clarke|
IWL nailed it when comparing my style to Lovecraft, Clarke and Vonnegut. This should not surprise anyone, as these three were my favorite authors during the first half of my life. It follows, therefore, that they should have the largest affect on my writing style.
What I find curious is that the software compared me to other authors, of whose work I’ve read very little. The most surprising result was IWL comparing my style to that of Jane Austen. I’ve read nothing of hers (yet) — but it might explain why one reader who is an Austen-ophile is gaga over Pindlebryth.
Being the ex-software-QA guy, it was only natural that I question how accurate these results really are. Running with a suggestion from one of my editors,* I tested the software by feeding it a couple of public domain texts. The software passed the comparison test three out of four times – only flubbing it with a Jules Verne short story, by declaring “You write like Daniel Defoe.” Hmmm… not that far off base, so overall I give the software a solid “B” passing grade.
Just for grins and giggles, I’ll continue to run any future published work through the IWL mill.
* I hang my head in shame, that my editor thought of this before I did. As the QA guy, this should have been bloody obvious to me.