Thursday, July 15, 2010

Who Do You Write Like?

OK, this is really cool. Via John Fea's The Way of Improvement Leads Home blog, a website called I Write Like. You plug in a piece of your writing and it compares your style to a famous writer's.

I plugged in 3 different things from the comments section, plus one of my formal essays, and it came back the same all four times---Edgar Allan Poe.

Funny thing is, I've never read a lot of Poe, but I remember in about the 6th Grade, they taught us "Poe's Law of Single Effect," that the meaning and sound of each word should propel the story. That sounded like an ace way to write, and I've kept it in mind all these years.

Now if it turns out that half of us write like Edgar Allan Poe, it won't be all that cool. But for now, this is like one of the coolest things in the history of the world.

9 comments:

Mark in Spokane said...

I cut and pasted two short pieces of my own writing, and I evidently write like JRR Tolkien and Arthur Conan Doyle. Sweet!

Jonathan Rowe said...

I got 1) James Joyce, 2) Leo Tolstoy and 3) HP Lovecraft.

I know nothing about the third guy; but the first two actually confirmed a suspicion that I have about my prose: At times too abstruse!

King of Ireland said...

I got Poe too? Go figure.

bpabbott said...

H. P. Lovecraft

Josh Hoisington said...

I put in five different papers of mine and got back five different writers.

Pinky said...

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Pinky does it like H. P. Lovecraft, Dan Brown, and H. P. Lovecraft.
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Anyone want to read a spooky story?
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I like to read both of these authors.
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Are you sure?
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Pinky said...

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I'm writing a narrative on my memoirs. And, I put in a paragraph. The computer came us with Vladimir Nabokov.
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Tom Van Dyke said...

Dude. All I can say is just did a comment reply to King of Ireland on another thread, and ran it through the I Write Like site.

It was loosey and it was goosey. Didn't use King's part.

Edgar Allan Poe, for the 5th time.

[Reproduced below, because it was a pretty good comment in praise of Joe and relevant to the blog.]
______________

If true then I think you're right. Personally, I have put a lot of thought into it and I see the wisdom of the lower magistrate thing. If not then all you have is anarchy and perpetual rebellion.

I did some work on the purely Catholic tradition: Aquinas, de Vitoria, Bellarmine. Well, actually, someone else did it.

The unifying theme is indeed that anarchy is a greater evil than tyranny. The Catholics are starting to get there vs. tyranny, but---and hey, I'm a Thomist, etc.---it's in the Reformed tradition, the Presbyterians, Calvinists, Congregationalists, Puritans, that it all comes down. That's what I've learned here over the past year. Thomism, even via Hooker, doesn't quite get us there. Hooker defends the Church of England and the King, remember.

Your work on interposition and magistrates was bigtime good, Joe, and I was skeptical at first. But it resolved the Romans 13 problem for the religious types, even via Calvin and Calvinism---all you have to do is look at how many Revolutionary tracts rejected the authority of parliament [including the D of I!] as legitimate. "Taxation without representation" wasn't just a whining about "fairness," it was a theological claim that parliament held no cosmic [Romans 13] legitimacy.

[Didn't the argument appear in one of those sermons....?]

The only legitimate authority was the state legislatures, then the Continental Congress. The people [via their magistrates, parliament] versus the King, just as it had been 100 years before, in the English civil wars.

Game on.

You've done real well, and not in small part from your understanding of the Calvinist mindset. You could feel it where others cannot, and your research, based on being able to feel it, has really peeled back the veil.

Every word I read in the Founding literature, even in the Declaration, echoes a desire---a need---to be right with God and Romans 13 on this revolution thing.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions...

Congress added that part to Jefferson's text.

So, there's no need to go into the tall weeds of scholarly dispute about the "real" Locke. By the time people figured out Locke's radicalism [or heterodoxy] in that teeny tiny time between 1776 and the French Rights of Man in 1789, the world had moved on to more radical shit like Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau, the Jacobins, and the French Revolution.

Locke, Rutherford, Hooker, Aquinas---Christianity---all in the rearview mirror, man. The Modern Age had begun.

sbh said...

I put in two samples of my own prose and got back James Joyce and Ursula K. Leguin. Then, out of curiosity, I put in two paragraphs from Mark Twains's "To the Person Sitting in Darkness." Lo and behold, turns out he writes like James Joyce too. What are the odds?