I write like...

According to this statistical analysis website http://iwl.me/, and based on an early chapter of latest book, I write like Kurt Vonnegut. This is good news you might say, and indeed it is flattering, except that I then decided to test some more of my novel. When I pasted in the last chapter of the same book it said I wrote like, wait for it, Dan Brown :blush: Now this is not so welcome, especially when final draft of said book has just been sent to publishers ready for proofreading and publication in February. Perhaps I won’t tell anyone.


It’s an amusing gadget, that little style analyzer, but it just might be imprecise, or even random. My two chapters were styled after Stephen King and David Foster Wallace. (I hadn’t the nerve to try a third.)

Note: the site includes – in fact, is – a promo for writing advice, urging you to “Subscribe to our awesome newsletter to learn how to become a better writer and receive monthly tips on writing.”

Sorry. I don’t want advice from someone who not only uses “awesome,” but also feels obliged to italicize it.


Actually, I don’t so much as write as I really just vomit words on the page, specializing in bad spelling, grammar, and drunken incoherent thoughts drawn out in long, witless, and rather bland run on sentences.

But I don’t need a web app with a random generator process to tell me what I already know. All I have to do is look at the expression on my wife’s face when she tries to sample a bit of reading with look on her face like a deer caught in the headlights…

In reality I wouldn’t want to write like someone else. That is their style. My name is not Xerox. I would rather have my own unique style instead of being a “poser”.

Like the saying goes “Some people innovate, most people just emulate.”

Stick with innovation. It may be harder to pay the bills but in the end at least you can call it your own.

Well, it doesn’t seem to be random. I put the same snippet in twice and got the same answer (Margaret Atwood). But then I put in bits of a UF novel: chapter 1, then 1&2, then 1,2&3… and it gave me HP Lovecraft. I still haven’t read him, that I’m aware of.

And then my traditional fantasy’s first chapter comes back as David Foster Wallace. I don’t think I’ve even heard of him.

I can still call my writing my own even if it is compared to someone else’s. It’s just a bit of fun after all, and not to be taken seriously. :smiley:

Apparently I write like Oscar Wilde… And Douglas Adams… And Ursula K. Le Guin (twice)… And David Foster Wallace (twice)… And Arthur C. Clarke… And Stephen King…

Yep, pretty much different for every few paragraphs I put in. I guess I need to settle on a style!

I admire your honesty, but he’s quite well known.
If not to everyone’s taste.

Well, I tried the opening paragraphs of my last magazine column, then the opening paragraphs of Moby Dick and Middlemarch, and Melville and I both write like Stephen King, while George Eliot writes like Edgar Allan Poe.

I’m sure this is accurate; otherwise, it couldn’t be on the Web.

Determined to give the beastie one more chance, and unwilling to sacrifice any of my own babes to the cause, I asked it to analyze the opening of Bleak House. You know, the bit that begins

and winds up with

As dramatic and powerful and distinctive a novel opening as one could ask, I think. And it was analyzed as in the style of Vladimir Nabokov.

Perhaps I need to re-read Pale Fire.


Thanks for the link. I figured the guy had to be at least somewhat well-known, to have ended up in the comparison program. I might want to see if I can find something of his at the library.

How can you take a relatively small sample and categorize it as a style of the hole? Isn’t it really the whole that sets a style? If I look a the laces of a sneaker can I really say it is “in the style of a Nike Air”?

But then I am just a crusty, pessimistic, cranky curmudgeon†.

†[size=60]Druid and I agreed to swap places for a while[/size]

Putting aside the fact that it’s not a serious exercise in style determination you make a good point. The answer would be to paste a complete piece of work in. I wonder what would happen if I pasted 70,000 words in?

Joe Posnanski, an American sports writer, has a wonderful take on the “I write like” site, here:

joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2010/07 … -like-who/

Joe’s a terrific writer, and one of our best sports writers.


Cory Doctorow. I have never read anything by him but I pity him for writing like a non-native English speaker.

And I trade him anytime against a David Foster Wallace. Anybody?

I’ll give you my Dan Brown for your Cory Doctorow.

Dan Brown, yuck!

Vicv-k offered up some of his rubbish and the response was: “Vaguely reminiscent of that 1950`s Outer Mongolian, Yak artificial inseminator, whose name defies our powers of recall.
Please spare us a repeat performance.”

Take care

Hi guys,

This went wild on the web last week. Neilsen Hayden (of Tor Books) writes on his blog that it looks like a scam trying to get unpublished authors to sign with vanity publishers. @MancLibraries and @LondonReview picked up the story and it doesn’t look good. Shame, because Coding Robots make great diary writing software for Mac.

Somebody on the London Review website tested I Write Like using the Amazon confirmation page. Guess what? Amazon writes like James Joyce. You can enter gobbledegook and it’ll tell you that you write like James Joyce, as I discovered.

I blogged a bit about it here, with links to the bloggers talking about it: isabeljoelyblack.wordpress.com/2 … after-all/

Joely xx

Damn!! Vic-ks been Googling myriad permutations of [i]Mongolian yak inseminators[/i], all night, trying to find the name. He thinks he writes like a famous author. I dont really want to be the one to tell him. Ive still got to share a WritersRoom with him. :frowning: Shit!! [size=85](excuse the rude word).[/size]
Take care,

Think how I feel. A lifetime of writing experience and I’m comparable to the Amazon order confirmation page. Literary death.

Joely xx