Recently I found an interesting web site: I Write Like. It supposedly uses a statistical algorithm to analyze your writing and tells you which published author your writing style is most similar too. Finally a means to end the age old debate of whether I write more like Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare or Dr. Seuss. I won't keep you in any further suspense - I copied and pasted a recent blog post and the result was Stephen King. This is a little unusual since I've never actually read a Stephen King novel - I've only seen the film adaptations - so I don't know if this is complementary or not. Is the statistical algorithm trying to tell me that my writing is not very artistic - that it is more for the masses? Or is it that my writing invokes terror in others?
I had originally planned to test this site but haven't yet gotten around to it. I haven't submitted the same writing sample twice to see if it gives me the same results or if it just kicks out a random author. I also haven't submitted multiple different samples to see how much the results differ. The one thing I'm really curious to try though is entering an excerpt of a Stephen King novel and seeing if he writes like himself. It would be kind of amusing if it told him he writes like Danielle Steel or JK Rowling.
I'm also a bit curious as to how big their database is. If I enter an excerpt from the novel I've been working on - The Big Book of War - will it tell me it is stylistically similar to Sun Tzu's Art of War? I can't find anything on the site which mentions how extensive their list of authors is. It could be that every truly bad piece of writing it simply tells you is like Dan Brown. It's kind of an interesting concept and I'll have to play with it more later.