Sunday, August 01, 2010

Cory Doctorow in a world of Shakespeares

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

...except when I don't. 

Last week I saw this doo-dad making the rounds in some of the blogs I follow.  My buddy Pat pointed it out to me a couple weeks ago.  Poor bastard writes like Dan Brown according to's widget.  The thing is, I don't know what text he used.  I got Cory Doctorow as my result when I fed in my review of the Wraeththu rpg.  But this post about morale apparently reads more like Chuck Palahniuk.  And my OD&D module is in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft, while my little essay 'On System' apparently leans towards P.G. Wodehouse.  I always thought I wrote like a love child of Douglas Adams and S. John Ross that had been dropped on his head as an infant, but what do I know? makes this game super-easy to play with various dead writers.  Hamlet, it turns out, sounds quite a bit like the works of William Shakespeare.  So does Act 1, Scene 1 of Vortigern, a hoax once passed off as a work by old Willy.  But then Samuel Butler's prose translation of Homer also sounds like Shakespeare.  Kit Marlowe's Faustus (the 1616 verson) also sounds like Shakespeare according to this widget.  So does Keats' unfinished play King Stephen.  Now I'm starting to get pissed off.  Who doesn't sound like Shakespeare to this machine?  A random chunk of The Faerie Queen?  Shakespeare.  Some William Blake poetry?  Fucking Shakespeare!  Chaucer's Wife of Bath?  William goddamn Shakespeare!!!

What the fuck?!  I write like four different dudes but all these guys are William Shakespeare?  I'm honestly a little afraid to put some Emily Dickinson into the box.  If it came out Shakespeare I would probably go on a homicidal rampage.


  1. Personally I think your own evaluation of your writing style is accurate and fantastic.

    relatedly, one of my players likening by crazy-ass DMing to the works of Douglas Adams was one of the best compliments I've ever got. :D

  2. Settembrini7:27 AM

    Apparently, I write like Arthur C Clarke when I write english. I´d wager this is nerd-coddling as advertisement.

    Or, I actually do write like Clarke. You decide.

  3. Settembrini7:31 AM

    I checked the Pundit, he apparently wirtes like Clarke, too. Should I be worried?

  4. That website nearly drove me crazy! The short version of the story is that Cory Doctorow is one of the Elder Gods and is taking over Wikipedia. Oh, and I'm dead.

  5. I entered seven different writing samples, both fiction and blog entries, and apparently I write like six different people - and more, I imagine, had I entered more samples.

    The only consistency I noticed was blog posts, which returned two H.P. Lovecraft results and one Edgar Allen Poe. I don't see this at all, since my blog posts are like neither.

    My fiction was all over the board - Dan Brown, Cory Doctrow, Vladamir Nabakov and, God help me, Anne Rice.

    I guess it's hard to analyze who you write like, when you don't write like anyone except yourself.

  6. It's a scam. Not a dangerous one, unless one is a writer with more money than pride—dig deeper and they're driving traffic and Google pagerank for their vanity press editing services. The widget itself appears to be mostly random.

  7. Tried it: David Foster Wallace or Chuck Palaniuk, depending on how much swearing I do.

  8. D7 has the right idea. What better way to attract people to your vanity press than to flatter them by comparisons to famous and successful authors.

    This is pretty amusing:

  9. My fiction came up Pahlaniuk three of five times, but my more technical game-related writing came up Dan Brown about as often.

    It's a cute doohicky, but I don't think it's in any way valid. A friend of mine put in "See Spot. See Spot run. Run, Spot, run!" and it came up Robert Louis Stevenson...

  10. I fed in a chunk of one of my session recounts and was told I wrote like Raymond Chandler.

  11. I kept getting J.R.R. Tolkien. I sincerely doubt I'm anywhere near that skilled.

  12. Last few blog posts.

    If whinging about GI Joes was an accurate assessment of Dan Brown's writing, I'd probably read him.

  13. I got three Dan Browns and an Arthur C. Clarke.

    Guess I shouldn't give up my day job. Heh.

  14. user@example.com1:47 AM

    Please don't spread the scams. :(

    It's a pathetic little system which checks for key words - no attempt to match style at all, that would be hard - and after telling people they write like Someone Famous, tries to redirect them to a scammy vanity publisher who'll rip them off.

    (note that, since the OSR is big on self-publishing, vanity publishers like this are nothing like lulu or other self-publishing options)