I Write Like James Ellroy, Who Writes Like David Foster Wallace

So this I Write Like thing has gone viral. Using a simple tool, people can have their writing analyzed and learn whether they write like Margaret Atwood or Stephen King. And it was only a matter of time before writers played with it, too. The results are amusing: Margaret Atwood, it turns out, writes like Stephen King. (The Huffington Post points out that the programmer who made the thing speaks English as a second language, which may have some bearing.)

Naturally, I wanted to play with it, too. Who do my book reviews read like? Judging from my recent starred review of Thomas McGuane’s Driving on the Rim, I write like . . . Stephen King! (HuffPo also reports that there are only about 50 authors included in the IWL database, which may also have some bearing.)

Time to get a little more meta. I wrote my review of James Ellroy’s Destination: Morgue! (2004) in the style of Ellroy himself, so let’s see what the ruling is on that one. According to IWL, my impersonation of James Ellroy reads like . . . David Foster Wallace! Hmm, OK. So how about my review of Ellroy’s Blood’s a Rover, written in the style of Keir Graff?

Dan Brown?!

Oh, I give up. Clearly this software has no idea what it’s talking about.



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

1 Comment on "I Write Like James Ellroy, Who Writes Like David Foster Wallace"

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  1. This is a great little toy!

    I input the text of my very first blog post, and the software returned that I write like Cory Doctorow.

    Then I tried the text of my second post and got… Chuck Palahniuk?

    Two more analyses returned David Foster Wallace and James Joyce…

    Okay guys… which is it already!?

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