I Write Like Analysis

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There's this nifty tool floating around the internet the last couple days called I Write Like. You put a couple paragraphs into a box, click submit, and get the name of a famous author that you write like. I was wondering how good it was, so I spent a couple hours putting in some paragraphs of famous authors to see what I Write Like would come up with.

The results were mixed. A lot of these writers write like David Foster Wallace even if David Foster Wallace writes like Ian Fleming. I found the Project Gutenberg website with the top 100 ebooks and I Write Like did pretty well with the first couple paragraphs with most of those authors. In any case, I Write Like nailed 14 of the 30 classic authors giving it a success rate of 47%. For what it's worth, Jersey Shore Nickname Generator is accurate 94% of the time. Note: The tool is fun. This isn't a fair test.

James Joyce - The Dubliners is like James Joyce.
Stephen King - The Gingerbread Girl is like Dan Brown or William Gibson depending how many paragraphs you take.
William Gibson - Neuromancer is like David Foster Wallace.
David Foster Wallace - Consider the Lobster is like Ian Fleming.
Mark Twain - Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is like Mark Twain.
Ambrose Bierce - An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is like Robert Louis Stephenson. This is my favorite short story, by the way.
William Faulkner - A Rose for Emily is like Margaret Mitchell.
Ernest Hemingway - Hills Like White Elephants is like Ian Fleming. I was pretty sure this one would be right.
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Diamond as Big as the Ritz is like H.P. Lovecraft.
H. P. Lovecraft - At the Mountains of Madness is like Edgar Allan Poe.
Edgar Allan Poe - The Angel of the Odd is like David Foster Wallace.
J.D. Salinger - For Esmé - with Love and Squalor is like Arthur Conan Doyle.
Arthur Conan Doyle - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is like Arthur Conan Doyle.
Franz Kafka - Metamorphosis is like James Joyce.
Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson is like Robert Louis Stevenson.
William Shakespeare - Hamlet is like William Shakespeare.
Jane Austen - Pride and Prejudice is like Jane Austen.
Lewis Carroll - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is like Lewis Carroll.
Alexandre Dumas - The Count of Monte Cristo is like Charles Dickens.
Charles Dickens - A Tale of Two Cities is like Charles Dickens.
Bram Stoker - Dracula is like Bram Stoker.
H. G. Wells - The War of the Worlds, by is like H.G. Wells.
Emily Bronte - Wuthering Heights is like Daniel Defoe.
Agata Christie - The Secret Adversary is like Agatha Christie.
Beatrix Potter - Peter Rabbit is like Arthur Conan Doyle.
Herman Melville - Moby Dick; Or the Whale is like Robert Louis Stevenson.
Mary Shelley - Frankenstein is like Mary Shelley.
Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy is like Leo Tolstoy.
Homer - The Iliad is like William Shakespeare.
Kurt Vonnegut - Cat's Cradle is like Kurt Vonnegut.

Then, in the interest of pandering, I thought I'd look up a few contemporary writers/websites I like:
Jason Kottke is like (this surprises no one) David Foster Wallace.
The Daily What is like Stephen King.
John Gruber / Daring Fireball is like Stephen King.
Andy Baio / Waxy.org is like James Joyce.
Michael Lewis is like David Foster Wallace.
Chuck Klosterman is like Kurt Vonegut.
Bill Simmons is like Stephen King.

Now some pop culture folks:
Tracy Jordan is like James Joyce.
Don Draper's slide projector monologue is like Margaret Atwood.
The Real Shaq on Twitter is like Dan Brown.
Britney Spears on Twitter is like Dan Brown. (Probably because he uses web addresses in his writing?)
Britney Spears - Oops...I Did it Again is like Stephanie Meyer.
Jawbreaker - Kiss the Bottle is like David Foster Wallace.
Anthony Bourdain is like Dan Brown.

For what it's worth, when you put this post through the tool, it's like H.P. Lovecraft. Who did we leave out? Post your finds in the comments.

17 thoughts on “I Write Like Analysis

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  2. Josh

    “Britney Spears – Oops…I Did it Again is like Stephanie Meyer.”

    I’m convinced, it works.

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  4. kefuoe

    I’ve been playing with this all week using my own blog posts and a few emails. What I’ve learned:
    When I’m drunk, I write like Stephen King.
    When I’m sentimental, I write like Mark Twain.
    When I’m introspective, I write like James Joyce.
    And when I’m writing a grant application to the CDC, I write like HP Lovecraft.
    The rest of the time, I get a lot of David Foster Wallace

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  6. The Key Lime

    Apparently: I currently write like David Foster Wallace. I used to write like Margaret Atwood. And when I had an assignment to write like Raymond Carver, I apparently wrote like Nabokov, which is probably why I got a “B” on the story.

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  11. Andy

    We can compare authors, of course we can, but surely its all down to interpretation and imagination. What a sentence means to me can be different from what it means to you.
    Imagination is a wonderfulf thing, think about it!

  12. Brendan D

    I suspect it gets more accurate the more you enter. I put the first chapter of At the Mountains of Madness into I Write Like (before I read this article), and it came up with H. P. Lovecraft.

  13. Menton Couve

    I have to believe that this site’s base is very limited. There’s a relatively short writers’ list who comes up. Did anyone ever counted all of them? I had various paragraphs of my book tested. The results? Same as most everyone with experimenting with it: Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, Vladimir Nabokov, Sheakspeare, David Foster Wallace, Dan Brown, Oscar Wilde, Isaac Asimov, Chuck Palahniuk, L. Frank Baum, Dickens, James Joyce, Artur C. Clarke, Kurt Vonnegut, William Gibson, Arthur Conan Doyle. Were there any names I’ve missed?

  14. aaron cohen Post author

    I don’t think I got Oscar Wilde, Isaac Asimov, Chuck Palahniuk, L. Frank Baum, or Artur C. Clarke, which makes me think there are probably other authors out there. I bet the list is around 40-50 authors long at least?

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