If you ask a question often enough, you’re bound to eventually get the answer you want.
Today one of the members of the Columbia Missouri Novelists Facebook page posted what could be either the most instructive, inspiring link or the most vanity-laden, time-wasting link.
I Write Like … You paste a sample of your work into a box, click “analyze,” and within seconds you find out your word choice and writing style compares favorably with — which famous author. I quickly yielded to temptation, certain that I could embrace or reject any conclusion.
I encourage you to give it a try.
First I submitted two samples from my current work, “Dixieland,” the 2012 National Novel Writing Month project. Both analyses determined the word choice and style compared favorably with H.P. Lovecraft. That was baffling, because I neither read nor write science fiction or “weird fiction,” the genre that Lovecraft basically birthed. So I copied and pasted another “Dixieland” sample that compared favorably with Stephenie Meyer.
The Twilight Saga? What? Flattering as that was, I have to confess that I also don’t read — and really have zero interest in — paranormal romance, vampires and werewolves, and death-pale young men and women.
So I sought additional analysis. Next to copy-and-paste was a dialogue-heavy scene from “Chasing The Devil,” my 2011 NaNoWriMo project. (Still unfinished, still unpublished). The analysis reported: J.K. Rowling. (Here’s the link if you think I’m fibbing). Again — sorry. I’ve read maybe six pages of the Harry Potter series. Wizards, sorcery, Harry himself — just not my cup ‘o tea.
Or is it? Meyer has made a gazillion bucks with her Twilight series; Rowling has made a trilabilagazillion bucks from Harry Potter. Hmmm?
Let’s try some more. Two selections from “Gone” (2010, NaNoWriMo). Different conclusions but familiar results: Meyer for one, Rowling for the other.
Still not satisfied, I reached into the archives of Jackson’s Journal to one of my favorite blog posts, Aug. 17, 2012, the conclusion of a three-part story of the time I almost drowned in the Gasconade River. Surely this would break the Lovecraft-Meyer-Rowling spell?
I pasted the copy, hit “analyze,” and this time the answer didn’t come right away. I laughed out loud at the conclusion.
“Mark Twain.” Ahhh! A kindred spirit, a fellow journalist.
So I had to check one more time, pasting the copy of a news story from April 2009. (It’s a horribly tragic story if you care to read it). The story was awarded second place for spot news reporting in that year’s Missouri Associated Press Managing Editors annual competition.
The analytic conclusion? “Mark Twain.”
It was a fun exercise in vanity, but more than that, as I perused my unfinished, novel-length works, it was a stark reminder that I have too many unfinished, novel-length works screaming to get out of their desktop folders, out of my noggin and into the hands of readers.
And that’s where any real or imagined similarities with famous authors end. They’ve actually finished a book or two.
Excuse me, then. I have some work to do.