Saturday, July 17, 2010

I Write Like...Who?

I came across a program called, I Write Like, which analyzes your writing and comes up with an author whose style and prose, I assume, is most like your own. Now, I write here every now and then for fun--nothing too serious. My posts here are not as polished as the stories I work on, and they probably wouldn't meet my normal standards.

I like to write in this blog for fun, and as a result, I don't put any pressure on myself to make it perfect. But, I do have other things I work on, which are not yet open to the public, that I do put lots of work into. Fictional stories, mostly.

So I decided to use the I Write Like program to analyze my writing and see what it came up with. I got this:

I write like Stephen King. The alleged proof:

I write like
Stephen King
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

After getting this result, I was totally confused. I don't see it, at all. Neither my prose nor my writing style is like Mr. King's! This is not a good or bad thing, it's just the way it is, as far as I can tell. So I tried again, with another writing sample. Again, it said Stephen King.

Completely befuddled, I tried one more time with a third sample. This time, I got a different result:

I write like Dan Brown. The alleged proof:

I write like
Dan Brown
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Ok, something's off here. Nothing against either of these best-selling authors, because I'd love to be in either of their shoes, but it doesn't add up. I don't even read their books, really. Aside from King's On Writing, which is completely different from his novels, I haven't really read very much of his work. I think he's an amazing story-teller, but I wouldn't really cite him as an influence.

I began to wonder if this program is coded to basically conclude that everyone's writing is like King's, as a way to make you feel good about yourself or something. That, or maybe there's a glitch in the coding. So I decided to test this program's accuracy.

Instead of using my own writings, I decided to use an author who would be considered the complete opposite of Stephen King. Rather than using writings from an author that uses enthralling plots and storylines, I would use more of a literary type of story--slower moving, and focused more on the prose and characters than the pace and excitement of the story itself.

The first author that came to mind was John Updike. I certainly like his writings, but if there's one thing I'm sure of, it's that John Updike did NOT write like Stephen King. So, I pasted one of Updike's pieces into the program and hit enter.

Wouldn't you know it, the I Write Like program said John Updike writes like Stephen King! HA!

Conclusion: I'll need to use a human to read my writings when they're finished, and then purely for fun, I might ask them who I write like!