I Write Like Who? – Really? Part 2 of 2

This blog further explores my findings using the website, iwl.me, which takes a few paragraphs of your work and reveals what famous authors your writing most resembles.  As noted in Part I, my poetry was compared to the writing of James Joyce and P.G. Woodhouse.  I write in many different arenas and not surprisingly, the findings of this website revealed  my writing style was as diverse as the forums: blogging, novels, and personal essays.  

I was particularly curious to see if a letter I had written for a contest where I was supposed to impersonate Jack London writing a query letter in the present day to sell one of his short stories would indicate I write like Jack London.  Here is the opening paragraph from that letter:

Although I cannot help but feel that the chances run somewhat against me, I am writing to ask you to reconsider your rejection of my short story, “To Build a Fire,” for your esteemed magazine, Alaskan SkyCrest.  I chose your monthly because the readers of your magazine will be flying to or from Alaska, and it would seem certain that my story of 7,096 words would give them great pleasure.  Perhaps, those patrons that proceed to venture into the wilds of Alaska might even be spared the fate of the fire-provider in my story. 

Did I succeed?  Nope.  The website declared I write like Vladimir Nabakov.   I tried the closing paragraph and was informed the writing was comparable to James Fenimore Cooper.   Hmm.  Did I get the right era?  Jack London was born in San Francisco in 1876. Vladimir Nabakov was born in Russia in 1899, but is known as an American novelist.   Not bad.   James Fenimore Cooper was an American born in 1789, almost 100 years prior to Jack London, but again, is described as an American novelist.  At least, I succeeded in writing like an American.  The biggest letdown was when I put in second paragraph, the website suggested a similarity to Dan Brown’s writing. And that’s when the pattern developed.

I have completed two very different novels, one is a contemporary young adult story from the perspective of a sixteen year old girl and the second is historical fiction novel set in the 1700s with a male protagonist.  I took excerpts from various chapters from both of these novels and consistently got the same result:  Dan Brown.  I admit I was a little disappointed, but then I got to thinking about my technique.  I am a plot driven writer.  I pride myself on producing solid endings to my chapters with the intent to keep the reader wanting to turn the page.  My novels both have a sense of an underlying mystery.  I have written my novels for commercial appeal.  To that end, it would appear I do write like Dan Brown.

I put in a few samples of blogs and personal essays that suggested various other authors, including Stephen King.  Not once did Dan Brown pop up, nor did a woman author materialize from the algorithmic analysis.  Guess I write like a man.

What author does your prose most resemble?  Visit  iwl.me to find out and then add a comment on what you discover.


2 Responses to I Write Like Who? – Really? Part 2 of 2

  1. I will have to try out iwl.me. I want to see which famous authors I most resemble. What fun!

    Congratulations on getting the era right on your letter. Hard to do, I’m sure. Now I’ll have to read Part 1 of this article.

  2. Fran Cain says:

    Jill, Mine is David Foster Wallace, who wrote a book called “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men”. I know I should have picked a different paragraph to analyze!

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