October 19, 2012 by chriszumtobel
I’m sure most of you already know of the site – as I am a couple of years late on it – but today, while I was perusing the pages of some fellow bloggers, I came across I Write Like on Ink Out Loud’s blog (usually good for an entertaining and educational read) and I’ve had some fun pasting a few different stories I’ve written into the analyzer.
I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the algorithm as it gives some varying (and often hilarious) results and also seems to be a bit racist: only including white authors – and most of them men. I like to think of it as mostly just for fun, but it’s still hard to not get too excited when it tells you that you write like one of your favorite authors.
I started by testing out the very first short story I ever wrote about a middle age man who deserts everything to go to study architecture in Barcelona (I wrote it at the start of a huge Paul Auster phase, maybe I’ll post it on the blog someday). I was pretty happy with the results when the program told me I write like David Foster Wallace. I thought that was respectable and I was pretty impressed (both with the algorithm and my own writing), thinking the program must be at least somewhat well-designed.
Next I skipped ahead to my most recent short story (oneabout a dystopian future where in times of emergency there is a bidding war for ambulances) and I was told it was written like JD Salinger! I couldn’t believe it! I knew the theme of the story is like nothing that he would ever write, but it is heavily dialogue based and I thought maybe that had influenced the outcome and they had recognized my genius.
Between my first and last story I have also devoured each of Salinger’s books, so I thought my writing must have been influenced by all the reading and maybe the program had picked up on it. I decided to see what my writing had been like between the two stories, I chose a story from somewhere in the middle of that time and pasted it in for good measure. Stephanie Meyer… that stupid thing told me I write like Stephanie Meyer…
Not a single mention of pale faced vampires or werewolves with their shirts off, there wasn’t even a girl in the story. It was about two people camping and reading, just a simple little dialogue between the two of them resulting in an action. I couldn’t believe the comparison, I just laughed, reminding myself I’m smarter than the computer.
But then after reading this post on another great blog I came across today, I realized, maybe its a balance thing. I mean, I’m not trying to say that I Write Like is right or anything, but if I can combine a piece of the popularity of the Twilight series with the insight and brilliance of Salinger then maybe I’ll be on to something?
But I don’t know how to do that yet… and I’m not even sure I want to… I think I’ll just keep writing for myself and maybe revel in the Salinger comparison for a bit more… but ignore the whole Meyer thing.. I mean what does that stupid computer program know anyway right? Racist, sexist, ignorant, son of a…