Monday, July 19, 2010

Finite jest.

There's been a lot of buzz about a website called "I Write Like", which analyzes samples of your writing and gives you the name of an author that you . . . er . . . write like. (If you're interested, Google "I Write Like" for a swift sampling of the many newspaper and online articles that have covered this.)

The general consensus is that it needs more work. Gawker put in a transcript of the recent Mel Gibson rant and the suggested author was Margaret Atwood. But when Margaret Atwood put her own prose in, she came up with Stephen King. As did Herman Melville, vicariously, when the New York Times plugged in Moby-Dick.

But of course, it's irresistible. And remarkably fast. So I tried three extracts from This Private Plot.

The opening paragraphs scored me David Foster Wallace (DFW pictured right).  A clear endorsement.

Then I tried the climactic chase scene, and got Stephen King, presumably not writing as Margaret Atwood. Under the circumstances, another palpable hit, especially when you think  it could have been Dan Brown.

And finally, I entered a chapter that's meant to be a parody of a quality broadsheet newspaper's theater review. That earned respected horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. (If it was going that way, I'd have preferred M.R. James, but at least the program recognized the different style.)

By the way, this blog entry -- up to the preceding paragraph -- came out as cyberpunk pioneer William Gibson. Which is puzzling, but better than Mel Gibson.*

*See what I did there? Brought it full circle.


  1. I snagged David Foster Wallace too, for the prologue of The Hotel South Dakota.

  2. What do you get with the knitting patterns?