July 14th, 2010

Writing 01

Who Wrote That?

I have fooling fooling around with I Write Like, a site that analyzes samples of text and then tells you which famous author's style yours most resembles.

I started with the longest non-fiction piece I think I've ever done here on lj, about my first three bicycles. When I entered the first five or six paragraphs, it gave me J.D. Salinger. I suppose that makes some weird sort of sense, since I don't socialize with the outside world much anymore, but other than that it tells me nothing, since I've never read him. Just for the hell of it, I submitted the entire thing. Now I was William Gibson. Okay, I do occasionally socialize over cyberspace, but it's been more than ten years since I read Neuromancer, so that doesn't tell me much either.

Maybe fiction would work better. The first thing I submitted was the first half of a piece of Sang Sacre/Pratchett crossover fic I did a couple of years ago. It came up as James Fenimore Cooper. That can't possibly be good. Him I remember. I tried to read The Last of the Mohicans a few years back, and it was like wading through thickening concrete. I didn't get out of the introduction. All is not completely lost, though. I resubmitted the entire piece, and now I was David Foster Wallace, whoever he is.

Just to make things more confusing, I started submitting my Tureleg posts from Sang Sacre. After the first piece, I got Margaret Atwood. No help there, never read her. OTOH, after I appended the second and third pieces to the text and submitted each, I got J.R.R. Tolkein. Now him I've read. Of course I suspect the result may be more because of the dead elvish impersonator in the alley, along with the part elvish investigator and assorted orcs, trolls, and vampires of the Watch scouring the area for clues. Then, when I appended the fourth piece and submitted the whole thing, I became Dan Brown, who I haven't read, either.

It's all very confusing.

So for the hell of it, I submitted the entire first chapter of Terry Pratchett's Going Postal. Sir Terry, meet Mr. James Joyce, of all people. Similarly, Rex Stout became Stephen King. Finally, I tried one last submission, and at long last it correctly matched the first chapter of Cat's Cradle with Kurt Vonnegut. Remarkable!

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