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Because it should be fun.

Typing HandsThere is nothing cooler than being told you write like one of the greats. Usually.

If you have never submitted an excerpt from your WIP or book or a poem to I Write Like…, you should. It is normally an amusing experience for me because inevitably it tells me I write like someone I have never read. Ergo, it is a way for me to expand my reading experience.

I am a long time connoisseur and critic of literature, particularly classic literature. While I also have a vast cornucopia of contemporary authors on my shelves in various states of dogearedness, I prefer those things written before the 19th century, with very few exceptions.

Except

One of the large exceptions to my enjoyment of classic literature is Shakespeare. After allowing for the constraints of his time, the one credit I can bestow is his characters are deeply enmeshed in his story lines. Where I critique him is plot stuffing.

Yes, I understand he was writing plays. Yes, I understand the audiences were expecting said plays to last a requisite amount of time, with a prescribed number of acts. So what?

Stretching of plot until it is thin enough to read newsprint through is trying to my nerves and an affront to valuing my time as a reader. Due forgiveness for his intent for play goers and not readers. Still, large portions of what Shakespeare wrote is frankly boring.

No

I am not handicapped by the Middle and Old English. In fact, the romance of the language is one of the draws for me to have consumed as much of his writing as I have outside the confines of a rather strict British literature professor, who, incidentally, believed Shakespeare indeed was The Great Bard.

And…

What in the world has be up in arms about Shakespeare? Imagine my chagrin to input one of the poems which appears exclusively in Mantra’s Book of Shadows to get this…

I write like
William Shakespeare

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

Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up. So far, my close friends have fallen off their chairs holding their sides under the coffee table when I told them. In between peals of laughter, I lightened up and thought about a computer program likening me to someone I care nothing about.

Mechanics

Idea Light Bulb

Part of what I hate about Shakespeare is the mechanics, the unwavering schemata altar onto which his content was sacrificed. The light bulb went on like a Q-beam.

My mechanics are masked by terse or dramatic dialogue with classic wordplay which even Shakespeare would have understood, and my pieces are not unduly long.

Wait a minute! I know. Some of the poems I write are long by today’s standards. The poem I submitted is  four pages and over 700 words. On the other hand, it is not five acts of iambic pentameter quatrains. I have left a codicil to my will for someone to pull Mantra’s wings off if I write anything in iambic pentameter.

On the other hand, I am adroit at metering my verse without the reader being able to read it to The Yellow Rose of Texas. Perhaps, I should not have submitted a sample with more than 15 words outside the 2,000 Americans use everyday.

Subject

What I do love about this program is it weighs the topic by checking the words one uses against each another to attempt to determine the subject. Since words from mathematics and science permeate most everything I write, I have had the pleasure of reports

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

who would have wanted to smack me for my use of most of the words in my everyday vocabulary. While he and I are cellularly aligned on many misuses of words to portray the writer as an intellectual, he may well have accused me of obfuscating my points with scholarly jargon unsuitable for the average seventh grade reader. All I can say is Good!

In a world where everyone wants to ride the coattails of some past great, I am content to know I am not pigeonholed to one genre, style or talent pool.

Diversity

Because I find this tool a barrel of giggles, I love some of the other results I have gotten:

  • Dan Brown
  • Chuck Palahniuk
  • Margaret Mitchell
  • Neil Gaiman
  • Stephen King (Don’t laugh… again.)
  • Raymond Chandler
  • Mark Twain
  • Stephenie Meyer (Some days, I think it is broken.)
  • Anne Rice
  • H.P. Lovecraft
  • Arthur Conan Doyle

Considering how little these authors have in common, I find the entire exercise fascinating. I find it interesting different portions of the same manuscript get such wildly different results. The first three come from Mantra’s Book of Shadows; the next four from Flash in the Panthe next two from Darkness Introduced and my new manuscript (due out in late April) Charitable Darkness; the last two from my newest poetry collection, almost none of which appears out of print.

Something else to write.

Something else to write.

What is poignant about this list is the microbial number of pieces I have read from any of these authors. I have read precisely three Stephen King novels; I hated them. I have read three of Mark Twain’s books, under duress… they were assignments for school. I cared nothing for Sherlock Holmes, but loved The Hound of the Baskervilles. With my contemporaries, I read most of the Lestat series, but preferred Taltos and Tale of the Body Thief. I have not read the first page of her erotica. All of the 20th and 21st century writers… I had to look up. How many of you would be shocked to know I have never read a graphic novel?

Thus, there is no connection between my writing and my reading preferences. In fact, I write in an eclectic fashion indicative of my diverse subject matter and in contrast to the authors I prefer most to read.

The roots of my writing stretch far into history. In our continued exploration into better writing, we will look at the influences on our writing and how we make them our own.


Take a moment to input three samples into I Write Like… Do you think it is accurate? What was the biggest surprise? Did you get different results? Do you want to be known for writing like that author? Is it an author you read?

Hashtags: #amwriting #writingrules #IWriteLike

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© Red Dwyer 2013
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44 Comments

  1. As soon as I read that it compared you to Twain, I completely saw it. There is definitely some Doyle in there as well. Think of Sherlock Holmes written with an eye towards slightly sarcastic, honest, earthy humour.
    John Phillips recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge: LunchtimeMy Profile

    Reply
    • Doyle I see far more than most of the others. You will have to point me toward some Twain (which I can read in abbreviation) for me to buy into that one. Great to see you tonight, John.

      Reply
      • Time has been of the essence of late between life and work. 9 more days and a short evening with El Guapo (if all works out) in NYC on a layover to a sailing vacation in Antigua. Need the break. As for Twain, I see it in the way you tell a story, and I mean from what I read on here. He had a “way” with story telling.
        John Phillips recently posted..Weekly Photo Challenge: LunchtimeMy Profile

        Reply
  2. Yeah, I tried this some time ago and came up with DFW, James Joyce and I cannot recall the third. It was all a lark to me. Either this little app works or it doesn’t–I guess it doesn’t. Anyway a nice enough diversion for a while.
    Tess Kann recently posted..Flash in the Pan: Satisfied & AshamedMy Profile

    Reply
  3. I put in my latest flash – three times and got Leo Tolstoy all three times…put in something else after…and put it in again and got Leo Tolstoy… I have never got him before – time to look it up. The one I get most often is DFW.. and other than that i have Margarat Mitchell, Anne Rice, The guy who wrote the James Bond books…Ian somebody or rather… James Joyce.. I have actually only once or twice put in the same piece and had it give me a different answer. It definitely is good for finding new reading material. I actually am a big fan of DFW. mostly his quirks though not so much his critiques.. or how he delivers them.. This is Water is one of my favorite pieces and I just finished reading Consider the Lobster. This was a fun post 🙂 Interesting to see others answers..
    much love Red..where for art thou o Red.. 🙂 (I do not like Shakespeare and never likened your writing to his in the least… so allow me to LMAO – with you- 😉
    ♥ Lizzie
    Lizzie Cracked recently posted..Flash in the Pan; ArousedMy Profile

    Reply
  4. My recent post On a Coin Analogy gave me Dan Brown. Then I entered something short and spontaneous to find Stephen King. Then a tribute to a friend for James Joyce. Oh well … what ever all this means.
    Frank recently posted..On Satire Bits: Vol. 47My Profile

    Reply
    • Short and spontaneous will always give Stephen King. The only times he comes up for me is when I do a piece where I use only dialogue to tell the story. I cannot get over all the Janes Joyce results. Weird.

      Reply
  5. Writing should be fun and this may be a laugh I may try it, just for fun Red.. and submit a poem maybe.. 🙂
    But Red… you write like RED to me.. like no other, always honest, truthful to the point and straight from your heart. 🙂
    Sue Dreamwalker recently posted..Shaking Ourselves Awake.My Profile

    Reply
    • Thank you, and please do, Sue. It is fun. It gives me so much to read! xxx And I enjoy the results from my poetry… most days 😛

      Reply
      • Ok Red I submitted 3 different works.. Two poems which came out the same with I write like H.P. Lovecraft… I had to look him up! LOL.
        And a short story.. which said I wrote like Mark Twain!!! hummmmmm! LOL…
        Sue Dreamwalker recently posted..Shaking Ourselves Awake.My Profile

        Reply
        • Awesome!! I actually like Lovecraft. Some really interesting poems from a age you and I know. (And no that says nothing of how old we are physically 😉 ) Reading the comments here, everyone’s consensus is the Mark Twain means we write in language everyone understands!! xxx

          Reply
  6. When I put in bigger pieces I get the following:

    Ursula K LeGuin
    H. P. Lovecraft
    Vladimir Nabokov

    When I put in any of my flash I get only one name:

    Dan Brown

    Weird.

    I can see some of the names on your lists, others no not so much.

    Reply
    • Short sample answer. I love you got both LeGuin and Nobokov. Lovecraft I see entirely. Yes, you and I know there are some on there which are just o.O

      Reply
  7. I love this, Red! FAB!

    I usually read the authors I want to write like…For example, Plath, Sexton, Nabokov, Berg, Micheals, Gluck, Li, & YOuuuuU.

    Oh! have your read GIRL GONE yet? I LOVE her style!

    Xxxxxx
    My Inner Chick recently posted..Free of HimMy Profile

    Reply
    • I have not yet, but I need to. <3 You are such a charmer! I am coming to see you. Hope MN is ready for me... and not 14 degrees 😉 xxx

      Reply
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