I WRITE LIKE. . .
by Steven Steinbock
A few weeks back – I forget how or where – I learned about a website that incorporates an analytic algorithm to compare a sample of writing to a database of writing styles by famous authors. The website, called I Write Like, was developed by Dmitry Chestnykh, founder of Coding Robots.
Chestnykh would be the first to admit that his algorithm is not rocket science, and amounts to nothing more than comparing word and sentence patterns to those of a large database. But it’s entertaining, and quite possibly insightful.
I plugged a sample of the novel I’m working on into the window provided, and was gratified to learn that I write like Raymond Chandler. I should have stuck with that. I decided, however, to enter my previous week’s blog column into the window, and was dismayed to find that I write like Dan Brown.
I was pleased with some of the other things I found on the I Write Like website. Despite being what in the Geek world is known as a glorified Code Monkey, Dmitry Chestnykh is, in his own way, promoting and fostering good writing through his work. If you sign up for his newsletter, in addition to receiving weekly writing tips, you receive a copy of the eBook, A Practical Treatise on the Art of the Short Story by Charles Raymond Barrett, Ph. B. (What’s a Ph. B, anyone).
Dmitry’s blog contains a lot of clever quotes about the writing life, including pithy bits of wisdom by Mark Twain:
Only one thing is impossible for God: to find any sense in any copyright law on the planet.
and Agatha Christie:
I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention — invention, in my opinion, arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.
There’s a lot of fun stuff here. Nothing that shouldn’t be taken with a small grain of salt, but plenty of grist for the writer’s mill.
By the way, I tried entering the most recent page and a half of my novel, and learned that I write like Stephen King. And when I plugged in today’s blog, I was told I write like Cory Doctorow. I could do a lot worse.