05 August 2010

Science & Literature: I Write Like . . .

Reading good literature, crime who-dun-its or good non-fiction requires some sort of connection with the writer. The one who penned the words is not giving you a key into their heart or mind, necessarily. Different genres might be more revealing than others. One writer can even produce a myriad of material, possibly under pseudonyms, that would baffle the best psychiatric book critic! But, don't you think there's something in the flow of words, the word choice, the themes and techniques employed, that will tell you something about the writer?

Think of your favourite writers. What do you feel like you know about them? Might they be much like their alter-egos, or possibly the antithesis of them? Something to ponder when next stuck in traffic or waiting to pick up a child.

What about you? You're possibly a writer, but not a blogger, so the Myers-Briggs test of your online content wasn't useful? Okay, try this analysis tool. I Write Like . . .

I Wirte Like is described as a "statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them to those of the famous writers." Simply paste a bit of text into the site - your latest blog post, a portion of your unfinished novel, a few paragraphs from an email or newsletter - press the "Analyze" button, and quickly learn which famous author you write like. Try it with variations of your business writing and then a love letter, or some such thing.

The Awl, a New York City based site, posts this by Katjusa Cisar :

It's hard science and great literature, together at last! Well, kind of.
I Write Like's science has already been strung up and dissected: Gawker's Max Read inputted Mel Gibson's latest phone rant, got Margaret Atwood and
came to an unfavorable opinion; Paste magazine got an “I Write Like Stephen King” badge after entering a few Big Boi rhymes; Margaret Atwood herself pasted in a sample of her own writing and got … Stephen King.

It's a fun and interesting approach to analysis of written content. Cisar suggests that we take the site's web address—iwl.me—as indication of how seriously we should be taking its diagnoses.

Check it out. Tell uswho you write like. I'll give my results in a future post. Any ideas?

Broadly speaking, short words are best, and the old words, when short, are best of all.
— Winston Churchill

1 comment:

Steve said...

Perhaps "Opinion" is the key word in your last posting. All of the "TESTS", with which I'm familiar, are just that.....opinions. On different days the same individual will have different results. This leads me to think a tad of inaccuracy may exist. However, it is a fun-thing to do, if one doesn't take the results to seriously.

Again. this is JUST my opinion.

"Opinions are like belly buttons. Everyone has one, but none of them are perfect."..unknow