Monday, August 09, 2010

Who I write like...and other mis-analyses

In one of my writing groups, a person put up this link It’s supposed to be a writing analyzer that claims to be able to tell you who you write like.

I Write Like checks which famous writer you write like by analyzing your word choice and writing style and comparing them with those of the famous writers.
Learn which writer you write like and get yourself a badge!

Just for kicks, I decided to try it out. Of course, having been a math major and a logic-minded geek in general, I decided to treat it like a statistical experiment.

I put in three sections from three different novels:

Neeta Lyffe: Arthur C. Clark
Magic, Mensa and Mayhem: Stephen King
Live and Let Fly: Stephen King and (because I didn’t believe it and put in a second sample) Dave Foster Wallace

I put in three different sections chosen at random from Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator. According to the analysis, I write like Chuck Palahnuik, Cory Doctorow, and Raymond Chandler. All in the same book.

So I tried it again, with four consecutive sections: Raymond Chandler, Dan Brown (hm, maybe I should rewrite that part), Cory Doctorow, and Stephen King.

Then I took just the King section and divided it into three parts: Stephen King, Cory Doctorow and Stephen King.

Interesting that Cory Doctorow and Stephen King came up so often, especially since I write humorous fantasy.

Just a note: I did put the same bits of text in more than once and would get the same author, so I don’t think it’s just a random generator. It’s just not very good.

Apparently, the only thing it could agree on consistently is that I write like a lot of male writers, which is doubly ironic because another writing analysis program I tried said I have a female voice (which would have disturbed me if I’d believed it, since I was analyzing Vern’s stories.)

Now you know why I have no faith in these analysis machines.


Amanda Borenstadt said...

I did that too a while back and got a different writer for each piece I plugged in. I guess it just means we're flexible? :p

Walt said...

I don't know, there are probably worse ways to waste time (congressional hearings come to mind). At least it gave me a subject for the blog (so I could waste other people's time).