the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other authors

Find out which published author your writing style resembles

on June 5, 2012

Thanks to a post on Emily Ann Shaffer’s blog, I spent a happy five-minutes being distracted by the I Write Like website.  All you have to do is paste a couple of paragraphs onto the page and by clicking a button, the website uses a statistical analysis tool that matches your writing style to that of a famous author.  I’m always struggling to think of which published authors my writing resembles so, in spite of my scepticism, I gave it a go. I was hoping to be matched with someone like Anne Tyler but the computer said no. The name it came up with was Chuck Palahniuk and as I’d never heard of him, I got back to my writing.

But Chuck’s name has stayed with me and I decided to have a look on the internet to find out more.  Wikipedia says he is best known for his award-winning novel Fight Club which was later made into a feature film earning him a cult following.  That leaves me none the wiser but I’ve just asked my sixteen-year-old son who’s playing a silly computer game next to me on the desktop and he tells me it’s a great film, one that made Brad Pitt famous and that the book is even better.

"FIGHT CLUB" is embossed on a pink bar of soap in the upper right. Below are head-and-shoulders portraits of Brad Pitt facing the viewer with a broad smile and wearing a red leather jacket over a decorative blue t-shirt, and Edward Norton in a white button-up shirt with a tie and the top button loosened. Norton's body faces right and his head faces the viewer with little expression. Below the portraits are the two actors' names, followed by "HELENA BONHAM CARTER" in smaller print. Above the portraits is "MISCHIEF. MAYHEM. SOAP."

Suitably informed, I’ve watched the Fight Club trailer on You Tube and will be reserving the book at the library.

I also checked out the official Chuck Palahniuk website, where I found a link to 13 writing tips from the author. Now this is more my thing, with advice including:

  • Get author book jacket photos taken now, while you’re young.  And get the negatives and copyright on those photos

And, more seriously, he talks about the three different types of dialogue:

  • descriptive: the sun rose high….
  • instructive: walk, don’t run…
  • expressive: ouch!

According to Chuck, most fiction writers only use one or at most two of these forms.  So he recommends using all three.  Mixing them up to show how people really talk.

Now that bit of advice has been worth the distraction.

13 responses to “Find out which published author your writing style resembles

  1. Oh I love this. I wonder who I resemble. Now that surely is a mix of many influences.

  2. I tried this Gail and feel you were right to be sceptical. I put in three different pieces of my writing and came up with Douglas Adams, Chuck Palahniuk and James Joyce (!!!!). I can only assume it checks out the vocabulary you use against some used by these authors. James Joyce ha – must tell Chris!

  3. I also submitted three different texts, the results were Ian Fleming, William Gibson and Margaret Atwood. Should I triangulate these responses, or just keep going until I get an author I am truly satisfied with? : )

  4. I did this a while ago (or one very like it) and came up as most like Stephen King. Just tried it now and came up as most like Stephen King … on three different extracts. So if you’ve ever wondered what a romance by Stephen King would be like, you should probably read one of my books.

    Has anybody ever wondered about Stephen King writing romances?

  5. Wow, thanks or that web site addy….I shall be cutting and pasting a few paragraphs in later 😉


  6. Penny Dale says:

    This is fun. I tried two pieces, the first result was Ernest Hemingway! I hardly dared try another but did and up came James Joyce. Thought I’d better stop right there.

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