I write like…?

I write like
William Shakespeare

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

Apparently, anyway. This is from I write like, a text analyser I found mentioned on The Nuppdate blog.

I tried my half-dozen most recent published pieces and got: Dan Brown, Stephen King (twice), William Shakespeare, William Gibson and Cory Doctorow. My last blog comes up as like David Foster Wallace, who I confess I’ve never read (or even heard of, until now).

It’s a fun thing but makes me wonder what it’s based on, in terms of reference materials and analytical criteria. For example, I put in the first three paragraphs of Andre Breton’s ‘Manifesto of Surrealism’ (1924) and it told me it was like Arthur Conan Doyle. More scarily, I also tried a page on crime prevention and antisocial behaviour from a local police website, to be told it was written in the style of Ray Bradbury. Perhaps fortunately it didn’t particularly specify Fahrenheit 451.

Oh, and a selection from the training course I’m updating – it was actually a segment on prisons policy, and I originally wrote it a couple of years ago – shows up as like H.P. Lovecraft…

  1. July 24, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    ha ha! That’s so funny! Very accurate I can see…
    I am certain that you have your own wonderful Jon Vagg style of writing!

    I love the photos you have here – the tree, the fire – and congratulations on your son graduating!

  2. July 24, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Well, thank you!

    Poking about on the ‘I write like’ site, I found a link to an interview with the person who made it, who is an Eastern European (I think) computer programmer. Apparently it has around 50 authors in the database currently and code it uses is based on spam filters, which often use heuristic programming to learn what they should trap as spam based on what you do and don’t use the spam button for. Famously Margaret Atwood tried it with some text from one of her novels and it told her it was written like Stephen King… Fifty isn’t a big number, really, but as the database expands it should get better.

    The bit that came out like William Shakespeare was actually written in the first person, deliberately misspelled, etc. I posted something in a similar style here, a while ago (‘Advice to Someone I Know’, 26 April).

    Thanks for the nice comment on the pics – the fire one was done by Chris Cafferkey (more pics on her blog and website, there’s a link on my blogroll) and features me with a 6-foot length of flaming kelvar rope…

    My other son graduated last year so that’s both of them with degrees now…

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