Who would you like to write like?

As I was cruising the forums on www.nanowrimo.org, wasting time by not writing to meet my quota, I came upon a thread that asked who would you like to write like. Curious, I clicked and read about an online “test” that could tell you who you write like. There are several authors who have inspired me to write and it was interesting to see if I could score to be like them. If you want to take the test go here: iwl.me

For myself, I took a couple different excerpts and tested them, getting several different results: Stephenie Meyer, Jane Austen and Ursula K. Le Guin. While I don’t know how the test works, in the following sections, I’ll explain what I posted and how I think it relates to the results.

I write like
Stephenie Meyer

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

The above came from a heavy talking scene (I do a lot of that). I like Stephenie Meyer. She’s not my favorite by far, but I definitely respect her for several reasons. I won’t go into that here, but I will say that I know why this came up. One of my main characters, of which I have two, is named Jacob. He’s been Jacob for years. I love that name and it just fits the character. When I read Twilight, I thought about giving up on that name as a character, but I can’t. Jacob has existed in my head since high school, and I just can’t change his name now. Still, I don’t know if it’s that, or the fact that it was heavy on dialogue that scored this excerpt as Stephenie Meyer. I’m actually quite please with this result for several reasons: she hit it big time, she came up with a fairly new idea, and it was about vampires, a species that I’ve had a crush on since I read Dracula the first time. Or maybe it was when I first saw Dracula: Dead and Loving it. Not that it matters. It did not bother me that her vampires sparkled, perhaps because I saw the movie before reading the book, but I’d like to think that I have an open mind.

I write like
Jane Austen

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

This one came from a heavy description scene. Yay! My favorite all-time author. I went through a few phases of what I liked to read while growing up, however, in my AP English class in high school I was introduced to Jane Austen. I had never thought of reading literary fiction for fun before. It was a chore to be done. Also, I just don’t like being told what to read (I was also introduced to Faulkner during this year. I hate him to this day). I fell in love with her style. Her prose flows so well, so when I get this, as I usually do, from my descriptive scenes, I’m ecstatic. Of course, this could be a not-so-good thing. When Jane Austen was writing flowery and heavily descriptive writing was what was in. It’s not really in today. At least, not in the same genre as she was writing (thinking contemporary fiction would have fit her category if she were writing today). I still see some language that can be over the top, but they are usually in Fantasy books, where description is often necessary to help the readers see worlds that don’t exist. Since I write, primarily, fantasy that’s not such a bad thing. Still, if I could write like Jane Austen every day, that would be awesome!

I write like
Ursula K. Le Guin

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

This one came, and regularly comes as I expand on my nanowrimo novel, from the entire manuscript. I’m ashamed to admit, that while I’ve heard of her and seen the TV/Movie adaptations of her works, I’ve never actually read any of her books. So I can’t really explain why I think my novel sounds anything like the Earthsea novels. It could be because I have several words that I have made up, as I know she must have. It could be that in several places I put a stress on names, as I believe she does (at least I get that from watching the adaptations). It looks like I’ll be adding these to my Christmas wish list.

The really odd thing, to me, is that I seem to write like women. I’ve read, and have been inspired by male writers as well, like Piers Anthony, CS Lewis, Robert Pullman and Stephen King. Perhaps I’ll have to reread some of their work and find out what they have that I don’t. Not that I’m putting much faith into this game, since that’s all it is, but still, it’s interesting that they were all female writers and I’m a female writer.



Filed under Just for Fun, The Writing Life, Writing

9 responses to “Who would you like to write like?

  1. I’m not sure who I’d want to write like. I like different things about different writers. I love the way Stephen King can take the normal and build on it until it’s terrifying. I love George R. R. Martin’s ability to make characters live and breathe. I love Jeff Lindsay’s sharp humor. I just can’t decide. 😀

    • To tell you the truth, before taking the “test” I wasn’t sure who I wanted to write like. I knew who I didn’t (read: Faulkner and any given modernist.). But, like you, I like different things about different authors. However, I have a few favorite authors as well. Jane Austen being one of them. I’ve read almost all of her works, though there is one I haven’t read. When I started my NaNo novel, I just went with felt right as I’ve written it. So far, it’s taken me a fair way into the novel. There was a quote about writing that I read in the forums (apparently I have way too much time on my hands despite being behind) that “when you’re famous and giving speeches and someone remarks on your genius you just smile and nod…and don’t tell them about the voices in your head.” That’s kind of how I feel about my novel. It’s already there, I’m just writing it down as it’s being told to me.

  2. cmalbrecht

    I thought — against my better judgment — I’d give this a try. I put in an excerpt from a novel and the analyst said I write like P.G. Wodehouse. Okay, great. I love P. G. Wodehouse. But then a little voice told me this might be a fluke. I’d try again so see if I got the same answer. To my utter dismay, when I put in another excerpt from another book, I was told I write like Jane Austen. I know who Jane Austen was and something about her books, but I’ve never read one. I’m afraid to try again. I figure it can only go downhill from Jane Austen.

    • I’ll have to admit, I have no idea who P.G. Wodehouse is. As you can see, I also got several different authors. Jane Austen was a good author. And it could get much, much worse. Although, I suppose worse depends on perspective.

  3. I have to say I don’t put much truck in the “I Write Like” algorithm. I just put in a huge chunk of my latest short story, and got the result “J.R.R. Tolkien”. In fact, however, at a stylistic level this short story is nothing like Tolkien. He uses a very dense, even academic style of prose – it’s for that reason that, although I love Tolkien, I don’t often recommend him, beause his style is fairly inaccessible to modern audeinces. I don’t think I’m anywhere near as academic as he is.

    The only explanation I can give is that I use the words “goblin” and “orc” and other very-standard-fantasy-cliche terms frequently in that story (which makes sense in the context of the story), and these map to very common words in Tolkien’s work. So, I suspect the analysis doesn’t go any deeper (or not much deeper) than specific word frequency.

    • I thought it was a fun and interesting thing to try. If you realize, I call it a game in the later part of my post, because that’s really all it is. As I said about the Stephenie Meyer link, I believe that it’s because a main character is named Jacob.

      I’d have to agree with Tolkien, he’s very academic, and for the modern reader rather inaccessible.

  4. I must admit, this post has caused me to want to make a post on “I Write Like.”

    I have used the program before, and always find the results confusing. Most confusing is when it says I write like Shakespeare. I’m not quite sure how a novelist can write like a playwright. Also, I’d like to think I’m more understandable than Shakespeare.

    If I could write like someone, I’d want it to be Thomas Jefferson, even though he wasn’t a fiction writer. He had quite a way with words. I don’t imagine his name is in the iwl.me engine, though.

    Just for funsies, I put this post in the analyzer. Says I write like Vladimir Nabokov. Well… I won’t be writing any tales about a middle-aged woman in love with a 12 year old boy.

    • Happy to be an inspiration of sorts. Wow…Nabokov. That’s a hilarious answer. I surely wouldn’t want to write like him. I believe that the biggest trigger is words. In the forum, some people were talking about how if they switched words around, they would get different answers. Still, I find it to be an amusing way to pass the time, and not focus on NaNo. 😉

      taking your inspiration, I put this post in and got Stephen King.

      • Words being a trigger would make sense. I think the word “elf” was in one of my writings when I got Tolkien. But yeah, anything to procrastinate with NaNo.

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