I Write Like Somebody, Maybe

I saw some tweets, most notably from Nick Mamatas, about a site called I Write Like, which supposedly, given a text, analyzes it and spits out who you write like, out of a limited selection of authors (I wonder what the male/female ratio is; probably a high ratio of white males, to be honest).

So I started pasting some texts that were either public or that I didn’t care about any more, and this is what I got.

Seal Tales‘ beginning, no matter what POV rewrite I use as the input text, reads like Rudyard Kipling. I can see why, since it was going for a folk tales feel, but man, I hate Rudyard Kipling so much. On the other hand, I might be a closer match for some other author, but Rudyard was the guy I got stuck with because of the limited selection. Still, I think the pretentiousness of this passage doesn’t suit me, and that would probably explain why I tend to go nowhere expounding upon it.

At least the consistency of the result despite the POV changes seems to indicate there is actually something behind the algorithm, whatever it is.

15-and-4 reads like David Foster Wallace. That’s interesting. I’ve never read him. Though apparently David Foster Wallace writes like Steven King according to I Write Like, so it can only be trusted so far. I wonder what seed texts it was using? Technically you ought to be able to get like to match with like for any sane algorithm, right?

Oh well, even if it is wrong, it’s at least consistent. Because the next input text I used was Christmas in a Strange Place, which also apparently reads like David Foster Wallace—or at least, like the computed style that the program labels, for better or worse, “David Foster Wallace”. I will shorten this style to DFW’. Whatever style DFW’ is, both “15-and-4” and “Christmas in a Strange Place” are both what I think of as my honest writing, when I’m not trying to be, for lack of a better word, pretentious (or even precious) about my writing.

What about something out of left field like I Killed Cthulhu’s Cousin in the Library with a Nerf N-Strike Barricade? Reads like Douglas Adams. And yes, I can see it with this story, which is really odd for me. Points for going somewhere stylistically close, I Write Like.

As for I’d Rather Be in Love, it reads like Anne Rice apparently. I’m pretty sure the phrases that affected the scoring most were references to darkness, owls, and night. I’ve never read her, though, so I don’t know what other little tells triggered this particular scoring.

And for my last text, I used The Saddest Superhero is a Turnip. The result? ERNEST HEMINGWAY. For reals. GO READ IT. TELL ME HOW THE HELL IT’S LIKE HEMINGWAY.

By the way, I might need to question my sanity, since this blog post reads like H. P. Lovecraft.

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