I saw some Facebook friends referencing this lately, so of course I had to try it: http://iwl.me/
Basically, you plug in an excerpt of your writing, it’s analyzed, and you get a result comparing your writing to that of a famous author. Sounds like fun!
So I plugged in the first excerpt (the instructions were to use at least a few paragraphs, so I went one better and pasted in about ten pages). The result? I write like…Dan Brown!
Okay, so I don’t think he’s the worst writer ever, and he has certainly made his writing work for him, from a fame and fortune point of view. Not such a bad thing. But…but…really?
So I chose another story (you can see where this is going, can’t you?) and plugged in ten pages of that. This time I was channeling David Foster Wallace, whom I am sorry to say I had to look up on Wikipedia. Okay, “one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last 20 years” is pretty cool, but he wrote postmodern literature and hysterical realism (which I also had to look up) and ultimately committed suicide? Doesn’t really sound like me…
The next six attempts had me writing like H.P Lovecraft, Kurt Vonnegut, William Gibson, and Mark Twain, and a repeat each of Brown and Wallace. Now I was addicted. Another excerpt. Chuck Palahniuk. My two YA novel excerpts got Wallace again, then James Joyce.
Okay, at this point I was trying to decide what it all meant. I didn’t keep trying in order to get a writer I liked–I mean, I already had some great genre writers in the list. Did it mean that the program is just wonky, or that I have my own unique style, which I alter slightly to fit the piece I’m writing? I liked that idea. But still…one more time.
Oh, yeah. I’ll take it. :)