Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Penning Pals

There was a very nice item yesterday in Jacket Copy, the Los Angeles Times’ books blog, written by Carolyn Kellogg. It begins:
Are your characters as snazzy as James Bond? Are your sentences lyrical as those in “Lolita”? Pop a few paragraphs into the website I Write Like to find out if you write like Ian Fleming or Vladimir Nabokov. You might find your prose is as eerie as Edgar Allen Poe’s or witty as Oscar Wilde’s.

Beware: If you enter a blog post, you may just discover that you write like Dan Brown. I know. It happened to me.
So I entered two paragraphs from my work-in-progress, Forget About It, the first Al Zymer Senile detective mystery, and received this reply:

How did the computer know that Jack is one of my idols?

POSTSCRIPT: Another Rap Sheet contributor, novelist Mark Coggins, also tried this “statistical analysis tool that analyzes the word choice and writing style from a sample you provide to suggest a famous writer whose style is closest to your own.” You can see what answers he received here.


murderbytype said...

I entered parts of comments I had made on a couple of posts on the Murder is Everywhere blog.

One excerpt compared my writing to Kurt Vonnegut, the other to David Foster Wallace.

One one hand nice for the ego, on the other hand hilarious.


Craig McDonald said...

The first few paragraphs of my debut novel, HEAD GAMES, earned me James Joyce...The opening paragraphs of #2, TOROS & TORSOS, got me Stephen King. And #3's opening paragraphs, PRINT THE LEGEND, drew J.D. Salinger. Not sure what to make of any of that.

Peter Rozovsky said...

Ah, fook, it said I write like J.K. Rowling. I mean, there are all those untold millions of dollars, but still.

Ooh, that was Part II of my own little work in stasis. Part I is like David Foster Wallace.

Hmm, Part III is like David Foster Wallace also. Is that a bug in the program, or am I really destined to be massively influential, brilliantly idiosyncratic, and little read?

Part IX is yet another David Foster Wallace.

I wonder if this thing should get me looking for patterns in my writing. The excerpts I like all came up David Foster Wallace with that one J.K. Rowling for variety. The ones I like less came up Dan Brown and Stephen King. Thing is, I've read maybe three pages of David Foster Wallace in my life.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Paul D. Brazill said...

I got PG Wodehouse! Yes!

Peter Rozovsky said...

Nothing better than P.G. Wodehouse, though one of my excerpts after I posted my comment earned me a James Joyce.

Anon E. said...

I'm still skeptical of this site. It said my blog writing is like stephen King (I could see that-it was the murder scene I posted), but just to test it, I typed in nonsense and got the same thing. Either this system is really good or really fake