28 July 2010

The ending was a bit of a let-down

I’ve always liked to write. When I was in elementary school, I’d write these long, hand-written novels about families with lots of kids. Back then I wanted a big family, apparently. Then I graduated to stories about young girls dying from various diseases and then in high school I was writing long, hand-written novels that had plots suspiciously similar to my favourite shows and movies. Once I got to University I kind of slowed down, then eventually stopped. Then I started with the web logs and this is what I write now.

I never let anyone read them. Once I let a friend read part of one and it was so nerve wracking that I never did it again. My writing was so personal to me that I didn’t want to hear even the slightest negative comment. Any criticisms I got would stay with me. For instance, I remember a short story I wrote in Grade 10, and the teacher said the ending was “a bit of a let-down.” That bothered me for years. I don’t write much by way of pure fiction anymore, but I’m still just as attached to my writing. I still find it hard to give drafts of papers to my superiors.

Someone told me about this site called I Write Like. You give it a piece of your writing and it uses “statistical analysis” to see which famous author’s style is most like your own. I had to try it right away. I cut-and-pasted my recent Revenge Willy post and waited a few seconds for my analysis. Imagine my horror when I got the following result:

I write like
Dan Brown
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Dan Brown!! I actually gasped - a proper gasp with my hand over my mouth and everything. I mean, I didn’t expect Dickens or Austen, but Dan Brown!? God help me. I liked that review too. Now it is forever tainted. I suppose it could be worse, it could have said I write like “Stephenie” Meyer.

Next, I gave it my review of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. This time the result was awesome:

I write like
Arthur C. Clarke
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Arthur C. Clarke! He’s, like, a science fiction God. I can totally live with that.

Next up was my criticism of metro transit bus shelters:

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

I admit, I haven’t read him. I used to own one of his books though. I think he may have died recently.

Next I put in the Introduction section from a paper I recently published and got back:
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Intriguing! I should really check this guy out.

Finally, I entered in the first part of my Discussion from the same paper. Even more intriguing is this result:
I write like
George Orwell
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

So…my discussion reads like 1984? None of the reviewers said that. I suppose if it’d gone to a third reviewer…

I had to stop myself there. I could do this all day.


Blue Heron Moon said...

Thank you so much for this fun link. I tried it and got, among others, Stephen King twice; and I'm not even that scary!

Ellie Fish said...

Stephen King! That's sweet! That's way better than Dan Brown. I'm jealous.

Kimm-my said...

I was thinking Animal Farm might be more of a comparison to your paper than 1984.

You should enter in a portion of your short story about a high school science teacher and see who that gets compared to.

Justin said...

Fun! What a great website. I posted several samples of "non-science" writing and received, in descending frequency of appearance, H.P. Lovecraft, Douglas Adams, and Arthur Conan Doyle. I wonder how many authors they have indexed.

Ellie Fish said...

Douglas Adams!! I didn't even know that was a possibility! I swear, everyone else writes like cooler people than I do.

Did you try out any sciency writing? (Oh! I totally want to cut-and-paste one of Bill's papers now...)

Deb said...

Wow! What a great site! I'll have to dig up some writing and try it out...I'll keep you posted on the results!

Deb said...

Okay, I've tried 3 different sections on my thesis - my hard drive crashed last week and my thesis is the only file that I have handy at the moment (I still need to restore everything else). For both the general introduction, and the discussion of one of my chapters I got H.P. Lovecraft (who? oh, yikes...what a scary looking guy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hp_lovecraft). The general discussion of my thesis apparently was written like Arthur Clarke (I'm assuming that's Arthur C. Clarke...or is there another one?). I need to dig up some non-thesis writing to try!

Deb said...

P.S. Okay, I just tried again with my last email to you and got Douglas Adams! Hmm...think I can publish a book of emails? :-)