Who do you write like?


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Are your characters as snazzy as James Bond? Are your sentences lyrical as those in ‘Lolita’? Pop a few paragraphs into the website I Write Like to find out if you write like Ian Fleming or Vladimir Nabokov. You might find your prose is as eerie as Edgar Allan Poe’s or witty as Oscar Wilde’s.

Beware: If you enter a blog post, you may just discover that you write like Dan Brown. I know. It happened to me.


So I tried an article, and discovered that I also write like Stephen King. Not bad! His books may not be as sophisticated as other authors found in the database -- James Joyce, Haruki Murakami -- but I like reading Stephen King, which I can’t say for Dan Brown. What’s more, Margaret Atwood put in her prose and discovered that she writes like Stephen King -- which means that I’m in pretty good company.

Other possible results: Isaac Asimov, Raymond Chandler, Lewis Carroll, Chuck Palahniuk, Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens. Reviewing the tweets about the site, the results have been heavy on the male authors. In fact, only two female authors have come up that I’ve seen -- J.K. Rowling and Jane Austen. Does that mean that all of us write like iconic guys, or that there aren’t many female writers whose work is in the system that’s doing the comparing?

The inner workings of I Write Like are invisible to the user, so it’s impossible to know for sure whether the thing that makes you write like Charles Dickens are long, long, comma-connected sentences or use of 19th-century vocabulary. Check it out, and thanks for reading this Dan Brown-style post.

-- Carolyn Kellogg