Sunday, January 9, 2011
Who Do You Write Like?
I heard of the website I Write Like a few months ago, but it wasn't until this afternoon that I finally decided to give it a whirl and see if I am the second coming of Hemingway as I have been told. The premise of the site is simple. After a brief explanation of their service, you are instructed to paste some of your most recent musings, the longer the better. In fact, the site explicitly says "No Tweets", which should be self-evident. 140 characters is barely a sentence Couple that with the fact that most Tweets are unintelligible nonsense, and you can understand their policy. Sorry boys and girls, you don't Tweet like Shakespeare, although you both like to make up words. Long story short, I pasted in a few of my most recent blog posts to scope out my competition. To be fair, I also threw a few other things at it, to see if its algorithm had any merit. Well, I guess that wouldn't tell me anything, but I was curious. The results were intriguing.
Sample 1: My previous Gigantor Bike blog post.
I had not planned for this. I had no idea who William Gibson was. In fact, after Googling, I'm still not sure if they mean the playwright Gibson or the sci-fi writer Gibson. Either way, I was disappointed. I was hoping for a Fitzgerald or McCarthy, or at least someone notable that I could point to and say, "SEE!? This website understands me!". Maybe something to validate all those blog posts I wrote when I didn't know if anyone was reading it. Nope, William Gibson it is. I think it's probably because I used the word Gigantor like 8 times, and that sounds like a sci-fi sort of word.
I didn't think the first entry I used was a fair sampling of my writing style, so I went back to find a piece that I was really proud of. I sifted through the recipes and song reviews (which as it turns out makes up 80% of this blog), and decided on my review of Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It's four paragraphs long, and feels hearty and thoughtfully written.
Sample 2: Album Review: Kanye West - MBDTF
Lovecraft is the cult author responsible for some early 20th century horror and sci-fi writings. Well there you have it folks, I am abandoning this blog to become a sci-fi writer. If only I checked this website earlier I could have spared myself all the wasted hours! Verdict so far: this website is trash.
Obviously I'm not getting anywhere by plugging my own blog into the machine, but perhaps others might be received more favorably. To test this theory, I ran Ms. AG's most recent blog post (howtosinkasub.blogspot.com) through the website:
Sample 3: How to Sink a Sub Post #24
HA! HAHAHA! I shouldn't know who this author is, but I do, and I bet you do too. She is the woman who created the Pandora's Box called Twilight that has infected the brains of most women aged 14-60 and made them get tattoos like this. This is most unfortunate, and I agonized over whether or not to tell her. Since she was working on her resume, I decided to spare her.
I also tried a sample from SS's long defunct blog, Adventures of a Bat. He claims he deleted any evidence of it, but thats not how the internet works! Google Reader quickly directed me to his entire post archive. I used his epic review of NYC's Carnegie Deli.
Sample 4: Adventures of a Bat: Carnegie Deli Review
Pretty awesome if you ask me, but I'm not convinced SS knows who this is. Palahniuk wrote Fight Club, Choke, and many other deranged pieces that have no business coming out a normal human brain. So of course he has a massive cult following and was one of my favorite authors in college. You win again SS.
Obviously my feelings are conflicted at this point. As I saw from AG's submission, things could have been a LOT worse, and if that came up for me I would probably end this blog, become an Alaskan hermit and refuse to pick up another pen for fear of unleashing another Twilight-sized plague upon the earth. SS's redeemed the website, but also made me grumpy and jealous. I decided to throw the site a curveball and submit a few Lil' Wayne verses. It probably almost crashed the website, but here's the result:
Sample 5: Lil Wayne - A Milli
WHAT?!?! Lil Wayne is brilliant and all, but there must be some mistake. His verses are most comparable to the man who wrote Ulysses, the 1,000 page novel widely regarded as one of the greatest novels of the 20th Century? Well I'll be. Now my only hope is to destroy the credibility of the website with trickery and tomfoolery. I picked a random paragraph from Huckleberry Finn with the hopes that the site would say something ridiculous and we could all have a laugh.
Final Sample: Mark Twain - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn