One of our goals as writers is to find our own voice, a unique voice that appeals to an audience. Hopefully a large audience with excess cash. But being completely original is pretty much next to impossible. And we all probably have that one favorite author we hope someone will compare us to someday. (For me, that is Margaret Atwood. No, I don't actually expect this comparison to ever be made, especially as I get older and my writing moves more and more in another direction. But hey, a girl can dream, right?)
At any rate, recently when I was procrastinating via the internet, I ran across a writing analyzer that will tell you which famous author you write like. Excellent! I decided to run an experiment to see if I consistently write like the same author and so selected various pieces of writing to run through the analyzer. Here's the results.
Writing Selection #1: An excerpt from the YA novel I am currently editing. It is in first person and my narrator is a pretty snarky 16 year-old girl.
I confess I haven't read The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy but the fact that I've heard of it says something, and I know many people who love it, so Mr. Adams has officially been added to my TBR list.
Writing Selection #2: An excerpt from another novel I have in the works. This one is geared at a slightly younger audience -- tweens of both genders, I'm thinking -- and is in third person. The MC is an 11-year-old boy who doesn't really know what's going on a lot of the time.
I loved Jack London when I was younger and since the selection was from an adventure novel for younger readers, I think this is a fair comparison.
Selection #3: I decided to switch to a short story and selected Dog Universe which is told in first person, present tense -- something rare for me -- and remains one of my favorite stories that I've ever written.
Okay, now I greatly enjoyed the Harry Potter series, of course, but I am not sure this particular selection shared much in common, voice-wise, with Ms. Rowling. However, I will take it.
Selection #4: Since I've had the most success publishing my flash fiction, I thought I would take my short short The Rope and use it for the next selection. This is a rather dark piece that tends to make a lot of people who read it uncomfortable.
Given the tone and dark nature to this piece, I think this is definitely a fair comparison, though I haven't read much of Mr. Palahniuk's work myself.
Selection #5: Okay, so for my final selection I decided to turn to my first ever novel, which is unique in that it is more of a "novel in stories". I selected the first story -- a third person literary story with stays pretty close to the 30-something, female MC -- and got my result. Then I decided as an added layer to the experiment, I would take two more stories from the manuscript and try them both separately from the first in an attempt to test both my consistency as a writer and the analyzer's consistency. I was pleased to see I got the same results for all three stories.
Okay, so this one sent me scurrying to Wikipedia to educate myself and while this didn't exactly familiarize me with his particular writing style, I feel like he is a person worth further educating myself on, and the comparison is a flattering one, I am thinking.
So, in true scientific fashion, now that the process of the experiment is done, I need a conclusion. I have to say, I am pleased that I came up with different results with every selection, except in the last case where I chose selections from the same longer work and thus wanted my result to be consistent since I hoped the voice was consistent for all three selections. In conclusion, I think that the fact that the analyzer chose vastly different authors to compare my writing to ultimately means one thing:
So who do you write like?
Happy Writing, all!
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