Friday, July 16, 2010

Who Do You Write Like?

There's this website "I Write Like" which compares your style to that of famous authors. Author Alison Flood tried this out and was informed she writes like Margaret Atwood. Atwood tried the site and found (wonder of wonders…) that she writes like Stephen King. So who does Stephen King write like? Margaret Atwood, perhaps? A second attempt found her writing was similar to James Joyce. James Joyce, I would choke and sputter over that having waded through his turgid (and, perhaps, turbid) prose for the first half of Ulysses and quit in frustration. Mother Mary, have mercy on this poor illiterate with high pretensions!

Excerpt from Alison Flood's article:

"In fact it's been so popular that Margaret Atwood, one of the authors included in the site's database, was prompted to try it out. Unfortunately, Atwood revealed, she writes like ... Stephen King. A second attempt told her she wrote like James Joyce. The site's creator is now promising to "train the database" with more of her works so it'll be able to recognise her in the future."

My niggling doubt is that the site searches for a random author and puts him/her as the style in question. Of course, she make a lot of wannabe authors think that they (or, their style) resemble Vladimir Nabakov, naturally, since he is the most unsuccessfully imitated of all authors. And this might come as a revelation: imitators include yours truly. Many have been the hours I spent writing and re-writing his prose to imitate him, alas, without success. Some of the words that still linger in the mind from Lolita:

"Petrified paroxysms of pleasure."

"She died of typhus in Corfu."

Truly a master of his class.

1 comment:

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