reassuring... i think

In my own personal top ten of "things I wish people would stop asking me," there is an entry for "which famous author do you write the most like?". I hate this question because I honestly have no clue, but I know when it comes time to query the current novel-in-progress I'm going to need a good answer. The ever-reading J-A says my short stories remind her of Ray Bradbury a lot. That's extremely flattering, but since I still can't see it myself, it doesn't help me much when it's query-writing time.

That's why I was very interested when @tdoerr had a link to a Toronto Star article about I Write Like, a web site that compares text you paste into a text box to sample works by fifty different published authors. That's a small sample, but with better data it could actually become useful. After all, there's always a difference between who you wish you wrote like and who you do write like.

I ran my blog entry about my theory of Facebook's real agenda through I Write Like, and it told me:

I write like
Cory Doctorow

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

Given what Doctorow himself writes about Facebook, that's not really surprising. But he's one of my favourite authors, especially for non-fiction, so hey, I'll take it!

Even I can tell most of my fiction isn't like Doctorow's though, so I ran my current favourite short story (a ghost story set during the Spanish flu pandemic) through the I Write Like analyser, and got:

I write like
J. K. Rowling

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

I love Rowling's character development and how she handles mystery plots. Neither of these are evident in my little 2,000-word short story, but I'd much rather have a comparison script decide I write like her than James Joyce (another option on this site).

Which leads me to conclude: if I ever get down on my writing, I can just run a page or two through the analyser. Sure, it's all BS and about as accurate as, well, one of those silly Facebook quizzes, but its response and another cup of tea might be all it takes to get going again.