Flattered by a website I'd never heard of before today...

>> Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I follow Margaret Atwood on Twitter just because there's something awesome about Margaret Fucking Atwood being a tweeter. Mostly she tweets about public interest stuff going on in Canada, but today she had a couple of tweets like this one in reference to I Write Like, a website that purports to take a sample block of text and tell you who you write like (natch):

OK, so now I write like James Joyce... http://bit.ly/bBCMB3 What leads us to believe there aren't many choices? Jane Austen, anyone?


Which, of course, is funny because you might think Margaret Atwood would write like, oh, I don't know, Margaret Atwood. So I wouldn't say whatever engine or algorithm these folks use is all that. Particularly since Atwood has a distinctive style, y'know?

Well, anyway, of course I had to do it myself. Twice. I cut'n'pasted a 6,000 word short story several of you have read for me (thanks!) and yesterday's "Naderized" blog entry, and (oddly enough) I got the same result both times:



I write like
Kurt Vonnegut

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!





Well, hell yeah, I'll take it. Not sure I believe it. But, y'know, who would be offended to be told you were writing like one of the legendary writers of the 20th Century, right?

So, there it is. Feeling pretty good about that. Thanks, random anonymous website with a screwed up text comparison algorithm!

Anyone else want to give this one a try?




Postscript: It's a pretty crappy algorithm, however they're doing it. Running Neil Gaiman's "I Cthulhu" through it, the software gloms onto old Big C and reports back that the piece is written like H.P. Lovecraft. But "I Cthulhu" isn't really pastiche in spite of the title and the tone is pretty much typical Gaiman--whimsical British fantasy--despite the Lovecraftian subject matter.

Ah, well. I'll still take my results as flattering....

13 comments:

Eric Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 10:56:00 PM EDT  

Okay, this is funny. Out of meta curiosity, I ran this post through I Write Like just to see what would happen.

It wasn't Vonnegut.

vince Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 11:30:00 PM EDT  

I ran a fairy-tale short story parody type thing I've been working on though it, and it said "I write like Chuck Palahniuk. He wrote the novel "Fight Club" so I have my doubts about their algorithm as well.

Mrs. Bitch Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 11:36:00 PM EDT  

Hey, I think this is kinda cool even if it is malarky. I write like Dan Brown and Harry Harrison. Bwahahahahahaha!

Jeri Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 12:03:00 AM EDT  

I ran about four different fiction samples through and a couple of nonfiction samples.

My nonfiction was like James Joyce.

My fiction was like James Joyce, Stephen King (a couple of times) or Dan Brown.

I wouldn't be particularly excited about the latter. ;)

It does make sense that results would be different - I adopt different styles to tell different stories.

Is that a sign of an amateur-ish writer? Or is is the norm? I guess I'm asking - does James Joyce always write like James Joyce, or is the range of "James Joyce" quite a bit wider than an algorithm can capture?

Nathan Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 9:03:00 AM EDT  

I write like Dan Brown. If I thought this was true, I'd see if I could shoot like Ernest Hemingway.

Jeff Hentosz Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 9:39:00 AM EDT  

Whooooa. It says I write like my 10th grade English teacher Mr. Craddock. HOW DOES IT KNOW!?

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clucki: The name of a barnyard Valley girl.

Eric Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 10:24:00 AM EDT  

It's your shared idiosyncratic misuse of the word "sousaphone" as a verb that does it, Jeff.

Jeff Hentosz Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 5:01:00 PM EDT  

Have to bring that up again, huh? What is it with you, always trying to glockenspiel me? Well, bassoon you, Eric. Bassoon you good.

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(exess: a not very difficult Captcha word)

Dr. Phil (Physics) Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 10:56:00 PM EDT  

The Declaration of Independence was written by H.P. Lovecraft.

Dr. Phil

Eric Wednesday, July 14, 2010 at 11:12:00 PM EDT  

That's surprisingly accurate, Dr. Phil: as everyone knows, the American Revolution would have been a disaster had it not been for our alliances with the French, Spanish and Mi-Go. Aside from our traditional ingratitude towards our earliest allies, especially towards the French, we usually don't give full credit to the Abominable Fungi From Yuggoth because in a sense it's their fault in the first place that we got into it--notwithstanding all the talk about human rights and such, the truth beneath the truth is that the Founders were all high-level Illuminati and the war was an attempt to keep the British from thwarting the Mi-Go attempt to summon Azathoth from His throne at the center of time and space to devour the Solar System.

The British, of course, saved the world, albeit at the tragic cost of George III's sanity. While we've all heard the popular myth that his madness was caused by inbreeding, the tragic fact is that he lost his mind at the ley lines convergence at Stonehenge during the 1782 Winter Solstice, calling upon the succor of Nodens, who alone of all the Outer Gods is friendly towards our tiny species.

Anyway, the only point in going through this well-traveled ancient history, which I expect all of my readers are pretty familiar with anyway, is that H.P. Lovecraft totally cribbed his style from Thomas Jefferson, especially from Jefferson's infamous edited New Testament, in which he omitted all miracles, focused on the parables and aphorisms, and replaced Jesus' name with Cthulhu's whenever it appeared in the text.

rbird Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 12:32:00 PM EDT  

Okay, Mel Gibson writes like Margaret Atwood. I had to share:

http://gawker.com/5587658/what-famous-writer-does-mel-gibson-sound-like

Eric Thursday, July 15, 2010 at 1:45:00 PM EDT  

That's pretty hysterical. I sent Ms. Atwood a tweet just in case she hadn't seen it.

Also funny: that Palin "writes like" H.P. Lovecraft. They certainly both cause nightmares with their descriptions of horrific alternate realities, so maybe that's not too far off....

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