go to “I Write Like” and meet your writing doppelganger

A pre-review of my book by somebody who never read it.

those are the best kind of reviews, aren’t they? and it’s not even written by my mom.

So there is an internet site which analyzes your writing. They apply an algorithm to compare you with the styles of known writers. It’s called I Write Like.

‘I write like Hemingway” somebody proudly said.


I want to see if I can submit a sample of actual Hemingway and see if Ernest writes like Hemingway. It’s probably been done though.  I circled back and submitted the following and sure enough, the machine said I wrote like Hemingway….

There was a recent newspaper article about somebody who submitted an already-published piece to The New Yorker and it got rejected. Plagiarism can only get you so far.

In the meantime, I submitted something to I Write Like from my own unpublished novel, and it gave the name, after about five minutes of churning. I  felt guilty, and a vision appeared – some distant mainframe was smoking and overheating, alarms were going off, and the reactor was being scrammed.

Douglas Adams.

The guy who wrote Hitchhiker’s Guide to the galaxy. Sci-Fi.

Okay, so what, exactly, does that imply? First, it makes me want to go to the bookstore and revisit the section with his books.

secondly, I googled “Douglas Adams writing style” and came up with a detailed analysis not supplied by the I Write Like  site.

It was quite engaging, though it started off with:

There is a fine art to writing like the late great Douglas Adams (late not because he is dead but because he is usually tardy due to his numerous mid-morning naps, quick baths, Bovril sandwiches, mid-afternoon naps, more quick baths, and attempts to avoid deadlines and appointments). Writing like Douglas Adams is not unlike slamming your head several times against a stucco wall. You get people’s attention and you have a horrid headache when it is all over.

This article will attempt to assist the above-average, run-of-the-mill, common, every-day hitch-hiker in how to impress his or her peers with delusions of Adamsness, rounded with a swift slam into a stucco wall.

Author (of the above analysis):

Robert Garland


Would you like to see if it’s true? just wait. then buy my book when it comes out.
Oh, and one last thing – is it a good thing or a bad thing to write like Adams?
November 1st update:
I am getting closer to “finished” – what ever that is – and did the test again. today it tells me I write like Dan Brown.
Dan Brown!
Author of The DaVinci Code.  Which I did not read.
I did a quick web search. To my horror and delight, his style has been thoroughly sskewered.. oh well. Am I getting better? or worse?

4 thoughts on “go to “I Write Like” and meet your writing doppelganger

  1. Oh, this is hysterical. The answer, I believe, is 42. When I turned 42, I thought that all my questions would be answered. Didn’t happen. So I’m thinking that Adams got the number wrong. Perhaps the answer is different for everyone, eh? Now I’ve got to go see who I “write like.” Inquiring minds want to know. Of course, it depends on whether I submit a children’s story and one for adults, doesn’t it. Would be interesting to see the difference…

  2. OK, so my children’s writing is similar to Dan Brown’s of the DaVinci Code. One of my more lyrical blog entries (valentine) is like James Joyce, And an excerpt from one of my humorous blog entries (Spaetzle 911) calls up Chuck Palahniuk. So I guess this tells me that my writing style is all over the map, which is good. I’ve been reading Stanley Fish’s “How to Write a Sentence,” and I think these similarities in writing style can be explained there, at least in part. Fish discusses subordinating, additive, and satiric styles, but I also think the analysis uses additional clues such as verb selection, sentence length, and vocabulary. You should find a copy and see what you think. Ciao!

  3. Pingback: Writing Styles – What is Yours? A Test | Dogpatch Writers Collective

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