Last week a website called I Write Like went viral through various online social networks and was particularly popular among the writing community. (Yes, for some strange reason, writers were interested in their own words)
The website offers a quick analysis of writing that you copy and paste into a text box and compares your writing to a database of famous writers.
Twitter, Facebook and blogs were exploding with people who had used the service to see what the auto-analysis suggested for their own writing style and then posting the code that features a text box with an image and a link to the product on Amazon. (So, for those skeptics in the room wondering how going viral could help the folks who created and run this site -- because there has to be something in it for the designers other than just making the world a better place, right? -- just think of the thousands upon thousands of affiliate links built into their code and spread across the web. And in all honesty, I'm not sure if the links are affiliate, but it would make sense in terms of creating a revenue stream for them)
Being a curious type, I wanted to test this out so I went ahead and threw in samples of a few different pieces of my writing. The results are below.
My short story "Erratic Cycles" (a speculative fiction tale about a man stranded on a deserted highway in Northern Ontario) This story was nominated for an Aurora Award.
I write like: Harry Harrison
The first 500 words of my novel-in-progress A CANADIAN WEREWOLF IN NEW YORK.
I write like: Kurt Vonnegut
The prologue to my contemporary fiction novel MORNING SON.
I write like: Arthur Conan Doyle
My latest non-fiction article on The Mark News.
I write like: David Foster Wallace
My "President's Message" in the forthcoming issue of Canadian Bookseller Magazine.
I write like: David Foster Wallce
(Hmm, sensing a pattern in my non-fiction pieces)
A recent blog post (one in which I tell a bit of a "story" - though it is a true story and not fiction)
I write like: Kurt Vonnegut
(Some further patterns in my writing are perhaps appearing)
One of my "signature" snowman stories "Ides of March" from my collection ONE HAND SCREAMING. (Since the most common feedback I get from readers is that they love the two different snowman stories I have written)
I write like: Raymond Chandler
And not to leave out my poetry, I tested out my poem "There Is A Low And Fearful Cry" which was written in what I felt was the "Romantic Era" poetic style (not that I'm anyone's poet, but I do like to experiment).
I write like: Bram Stoker
I could have kept playing with this application (It being very addictive). But it's interesting to see the way that different pieces of my writing are akin to different writers. I'm not sure how exactly the analysis works, but still, it's a fun little application to fool around with.
Oh, just one final test (because it's really addictive) - but I copied the text of this blog post in to I Write Like to find that I write like: Cory Doctorow
Now if only I could command the speaking engagement fees that Cory Doctorow commands. Heck, I'd even settle for having 10% of the eyeballs his online writing commands check out my writing. Oh, who am I kidding? A mere one percent of his audience would be a dramatic viral-like exposure explosion for me.