Have you heard of the “I write like” website? It has recently gone viral and I can see why. It’s a lot of fun. You simply paste in an example of some of your writing which it then analyses for style, vocabulary etc, comparing it with the writers in its database. I tried it using the ‘Finding the pony’ story (20 June) and got two different answers, depending on which paragraphs were included. The answer I liked most was:
while the second choice was Kurt Vonnegut. Not bad eh? How flattering! But is it?
You can find a brief history of the site on Wikipedia. There is some funny stuff on the net about it, especially when people are offended that their “write-alike” is not famous enough, or someone they dislike intensely. For example, try here, or here.
But is it just an example of in-bound marketing, using social media to drive traffic to a website? Jim MacDonald thinks so, and says “they aren’t trying to analyze writing samples: They’re trying to lure newbie authors to the rocks and shoals of vanity publication.”
On the internet, things are seldom entirely as they seem.