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.


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.


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.


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.


bright idea 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.


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.


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.

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

Thank you for sharing The M3 Blog with hashtags.

© Red Dwyer 2013
Re-Blogging of this or any other post on The M3 Blog
is expressly forbidden.
Copyright and Privacy Policy available in The Office.
Previous Post
Leave a comment


  1. One of the nice things about written words is that there is something out there for everyone.
    I like Shakespeare (not a fanatic about it) and have found DFW a bit too much – someone being clever because he can, as opposed to servicing the story.
    Stuff I’ve written has been compared Douglas Adams (by people that like him and those who (oddly) don’t).
    And Mark Twain is the goods, though following The Equator by Samuel Clemens wasn’t as good as it should have been.
    El Guapo recently posted..Friday Foolishness – Rechargeable EditionMy Profile

    • I think my long term dislike of Twain came from the persona he created as his pen name. I did not care for the language itself. I should probably give some of this Samuel Clemens pieces a read to see if the authenticity would appeal to me. Yes, what little of DFW I have read appealed to my inner snark. He is one who points and laughs, but he is more unkind than I. I only do it to the truly stupid (see yesterday’s muse). Glad to see you today, Guap.

  2. Great article. I had some interesting results too – James Joyce, Douglas Adams, J D Salinger, Anne Rice, and David Foster Wallace…

    • Welcome, Charlotte. I find that no great surprise. As a Brit, I can see your use of language which would trigger DFW. Love James Joyce and Douglas Adams. Take a moment to add your link in the Green Room. There are quite a few in The M3 Readers who would enjoy your books.

  3. I did that once and it said my writing could be compared to that of some unknown plumber. I have read everything of Mark Twains (and loved it because he wrote like people talked). I read Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare and thought that it was a pretty ridiculous way for a couple of 13 year olds to act.
    As far as Old and Middle English we had to read “The Cantebury Tales” and I didn’t understand a word of it. After reading it, if Chaucer had been in the crusades I would have joined forces with the heathens.
    Sorry about your feelings about iambic pentameter…I used to write English sonnets for a hobby.
    Other than these things and the fact that I have never read anything by most of the other Authors it seems we have a lot in common.
    Bo Lumpkin recently posted..What…Me Worry?My Profile

    • LOL! I loved Canterbury Tales. I ran a tutorial for it for years. It is still required reading for high school and where I live they have a hard enough time with 21st century Engrich. Funny you say that about 13yo… I still see them act that way! (I still have a handful of teenagers.)

      • Maybe I should take a tutorial on Cantebury Tales but then that would take time away from my English Sonnets.
        Bo Lumpkin recently posted..What…Me Worry?My Profile

        • Actually, it might help your sonnets. One of the big thing with CT is the language way tailored to fit the form. It is a great exercise in synonyms to get the point across without losing your metaphor… except in Old English. 😉

  4. Shouldn’t the orange nail polish be limited to October and November..haha
    Bearman recently posted..Grumpy Cat vs Grumpy CatMy Profile

  5. It is fun for giggles, isn’t it… H.P. Lovecraft, Cory Doctorow and David Foster Wallace… if I have read any of these, I don’t remember, though I’m sure I must have read Lovecraft at one time or another…
    Seems like an eclectic mix, like yours is…
    putting these guys on my want to read list, just for the heck of it…
    have a good week…

    BuddhaKat recently posted..Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum … for FRACTALS – Yum Yum!!!My Profile

    • I find them interesting when I go to read what they have written and see zero connection beyond mechanics. It has led me to read some pretty diverse material, which is good for my brain. 😉 Glad to see you today.

  6. Once upon a time I used to write. Now I make comics. Oh well. People like pictures better.
    Binky recently posted..Fan Art Video IIIMy Profile

  7. I’ve used ‘I Write Like’ too, and I got a wide variety of responses, sometimes even using the same passage! Guess I kind of lost faith in it after that. 😉
    Carrie Rubin recently posted..Yoga Yoda Helps Me Find Ergonomic ZenMy Profile

    • I have as well. It was not until I started breaking the algorithms I found out about the weight of the language versus merely the cadence and vocabulary. Mathematics is a wonderful subject. Great to see you, Carrie. I hope you like what I am going for A to Z this year.

  8. I tried three samples and got:

    Margaret Mitchell. I don’t remember ever reading her but frankly my dear I don’t give a damn.

    William Gibson whom I have read.

    And Cory Doctorow — read some of his stuff as well.

    As far as I am concerned, I write like me.
    John McDevitt recently posted..When Magic Gets Loose & Goes AwryMy Profile

    • Almost the only thing Margaret Mitchell is famous for is Gone with the Wind. You are two up on me 😉 Great to see you tonight, John. I hope you are feeling well.

  9. Just for fun I submitted a fourth sample. James Joyce? OMG

    I bought Finnegans Wake and A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake a few weeks ago with hopes that I will read the damn thing this time.

    “riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.”
    John McDevitt recently posted..When Magic Gets Loose & Goes AwryMy Profile

    • I have yet to read it. Sounds interesting though. I thought you read that years ago…

  10. I had to try one more sample. I used the first 343 words from the first scene in my NaNoWriMo submission.

    I write like J. K. Rowling


    “He feared the asking, she the telling. No rider in memory had ever dared the boulevard on this the night of the low moon. At least no rider had ever returned to tell the tale. Would they be the first? Legend be damned, they were the best. Still, they rode hard and fast. Neither were fools and neither were eager to temp fate….”
    John McDevitt recently posted..When Magic Gets Loose & Goes AwryMy Profile


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.