My Facebook feed delivered the most marvellous link yesterday to a site called I write like. What this site does (or at least claims to do) is analyse your writing according to word choice and overall writing style.
I ran a few of my pieces through it and got some very interesting results, from Anne Rice and Margaret Mitchell, to Lewis Carrol and JRR Tolkien (and that in pieces that don’t closely resemble anything they’ve written, that I know of, in terms of content – in fact, I haven’t even read anything by either Rice or Mitchell). One of my pieces are even in the style of Dan Brown (but seeing as literary types don’t like him very much we’ll not say that too loudly).
The first chapter of my novel is apparently in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle (not complaining) and my two short stories about Elephant and Perry the field mouse are in the style of Rudyard Kipling (but that could also just be because of all the animals).
I’m of course taking this with a pinch of salt, and just because one writes like Tolkien (that is, in the same style), it does not naturally mean that one’s writing is as good as his. Still, I’ve bookmarked the site – it’s one hell of an ego boost to be told your work is in the style of one of your favourite authors.
On the other hand, I’m very self-critical (I blame my piano teacher), and another conclusion I’m drawing from this exercise is that I have not yet developed my own consistent style. And style, along with voice (I’ve been told), is ultimately what makes one writer unique from the next. I guess I still have some way to go as a writer, but that’s true of any new endeavour we attempt.
In the meantime, here’s one more author I write like. I got this one on the second chapter of my novel and am singling her out as, not only was she a great author, but we also share a birthday.
Ladies and gentlemen: