I Write Like…

Oh, you must know I Write Like. It’s that website where you paste in a chunk of what you’re writing and it tells you who you write like. I’m not sure when I first discovered it, but it’s been around since 2010. According to my not-very-in-depth research (see below) it uses a naive Bayes classifier (me neither) to analyse keywords, vocab, punctuation and sentence length in whatever you submit to it, then compares it to the authors in its database.

Anyway, it’s lots of fun. What really tickles me is when people don’t get the result they were expecting – as you can see from the articles in the footnote. Apparently Margaret Atwood tried it out and got Stephen King. A friend of mine had a go, and got HP Lovecraft. I don’t think she was too pleased.

I was reminded about I Write Like when an author I know mentioned on social media that they’d got Neil Gaiman. So I plugged in a bit from a short story I’m working on, and got James Joyce. Which is quite odd because I’m attempting, again, to read Ulysses. Maybe it’s having a good effect!

I’ve noticed, as have many other people, that the site will throw up a different author for different pieces of writing. Here are the results for the last five stories I’ve had published:

‘Boys and Girls of Summer’ – Here, I Write Like tells me that I write like Chuck Palahniuk.

‘Silence’ – This is an odd one. For just the middle column, which is the story, I get Chuck again. Add in the two more factual columns either side, and it’s James Joyce.

‘After Happily Ever After’ – OK. For this mermaidy tale, it’s Rudyard Kipling.

‘Motion Carried’ – It’s a tale of minor deities and bureaucracy. I got George Orwell.

‘Petrol Rainbows’ (from the FlashDogs volume 1 anthology) – It features a ghostly petrol pump and flashbacks to the flapper age. Who else could I write like? Ian Fleming, that’s who.

So do I write more like the male writers in the I Write Like database; or should there be more female writers in the I Write Like database?

Have a go yourself at I Write Like; I’d love to hear who you get!

Here are the sources I used to write this post: the Wikipedia entry for the site, a HuffPost article, a Guardian piece, and a Q&A with the developer, Dmitry Chestnykh, at The AWL.

The featured image is monique’s typewriter by J E Theriot, and is shared by permission of Creative Commons license 2.0.

7 thoughts on “I Write Like…

  1. That sounds most intriguing. I will gave to test it out on a few things and post the results. Very bizarre that Atwood got Stephen King they are not at all alike especially since I rate Atwood writing but Stephen King’s style is tedious at best yet he writes great stories.


  2. Alex Hurst

    I got a different result for the same bit of text, so I had a chuckle and then closed the window. 😉 It said I was Hemmingway and Salinger. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: I write like | The Dust Lounge

  4. Pingback: I Write Like: Bitesize edition! | Wordster

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