I write like Cory Doctorow.
No, wait: I write like David Foster Wallace.
Actually, I write like Stephen King.
And I have the badges to prove it.
In case you missed the meme ricocheting through social communities last week, here’s the story: A new website, I Write Like, uses algorithmic software to analyze your copy and compare it to that of famous authors.
Find out which famous author copies your work
To find out who you write like or (cough) who writes like you, go to the I Write Like website. Paste in your copy—a post, article or chapter of that novel you’re working on. The site’s algorithmic software scrutinizes your writing and juxtaposes your text with that of famous authors stored in the site’s database. Then the software makes a robotic executive decision about your authorial style and extrudes a nifty vanity badge.
I pasted a variety of copy into the analyzer. The website content I wrote for an NGO pegged me for Cory Doctorow. My client’s direct mail piece sounded like David Foster Wallace to the I Write Like bot. And based on one of my blog posts, the algorithm decided I read like Stephen King. Maybe it was the phrase “black hole.”
How does it work?
The algorithm, says its creator, Dmitry Chestnykh, a 27 year-old Russian software developer, is a “…Bayesian classifier, which is widely used to fight spam on the Internet.”
And how accurate is it? Well, according to a recent Gawker critique, Mel Gibson writes like Margaret Atwood. And when Margaret Atwood pasted her own work into the site, turns out she writes like Stephen King…
Who knew Madge and I had so much in common?
To learn more about the algorithm and its creator, read TheAwl.com’s interview with Dmitry Chestnykh.
But first, go paste in some of your work—and find out who you write like.
Photo of Cory Doctorow courtesy of Wikimedia.