I have occasionally gone to a web site called "I Write Like". One simply copies into the site a page or two of something and immediatly it spits out who your writing is like. It's a fun site but it's come up with such oddities for my writing as Rudyard Kipling, James Joyce, and Stephen Crane. I feel no affinity to any of them and am unsure what about the samples an algorithm could have selected.
However, I've just finished writing a longish short story with five different characters, each in segments of their own. I was wondering if each has a specific "voice" or style. So this morning I input a segment about a couple, he with PTSD and she a dental hygienist. What was spit out at me was "I write like Cory Doctorow". Who? I never heard of him. But Wikipedia tells me his a living Canadian who blogs, writes essays and publishes current topic books as well as quite a few YA sci-fi novels. I went to his blog and liked what I read. I do not read YA novels or sci-fi either. Perhaps we have a somewhat similar attitude toward people with psychic problems and caring spouses. Who knows? Not me.
A short while ago, finishing off a punctuation directed reading of the short story, I copied into I Write Like a section about an elderly woman and her care taker planning their day. Comes back, in a blink of the computer's virtual eye, "I write like Margaret Atwood." Another Canadian -- one whose work I am happy to be compared to but I see no similarities. I can only wonder if I'm acquiring a Canadian mindset, or maybe it's phrasiology.
I think the moral of this story is don't believe anything one tells you about your own writing whether you are flattered or not. I have my quirks and they have theirs and if there are similiaries, nice! We writers have to take an ounce of flattery anywhere we can get it.
Note: I am distraught that Wikipedia no longer lets me copy their photos of famous people onto another website, i.e., my blog. I don't believe for a minute that they're in the privacy business.
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