They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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A Not Very Useful Writer's Meme

Name Dropping R Us

Tuesday everybody seemed to be playing with I Write Like... and then publishing the results. The idea is that this website analyses your writing and compares it to a number of Big Name Authors. I suppose this is supposed to be an ego boost, like those short Facebook IQ tests -- as if you could measure IQ with a handful of questions. I think the Which LOTR Character Are You quizzes are probably more interesting than I Write Like...

I ran a couple of pieces of various lengths, some published, some not, through the website. One story, comparing versions, went from Dan Brown to Douglas Adams. It was not a comedy piece, so I'm not sure what the point was. One scored a William Shakespeare. Really? Ol' Bill certainly had a way with those 29th century hard military SF war stories, complete with marines in armored fighting suits, didn't he? Nice to know I'm in such good company.

I don't think very much of their word analysis algorithm, based on other people's results and my own. Dan Brown, for example, shows up a lot because he's a best selling author whose books have a lot of technical issues and dialogue. Which sounds like a lot of SF/F, when you think about it. Duh.

Frankly, My Dear, I Don't Give A Damn

Whatever the algorithm being used, my LJ Friends linking to this are all SF/F/H authors -- and I doubt the people who cobbled this up are very well in tune with genre writing. And then there are people who've dumped in things like computer technical manuals and legal briefs -- and gotten similar results in terms of authors.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And painting with a hammer as a broad brush not only is a bad mixed metaphor, but also likely to give really meaningless results.

Me? I prefer the jimhines method:

Now that I am happy to post for all the world to see.

Dr. Phil

UPDATE: I ran the text from the Declaration of Independence and it came back H. P. Lovecraft. Not useful, unless you are into the Mother Of All Conspiracy Theories.
Tags: dr phil stories, memes, writing

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