"I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be truly disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man."

16 July 2010

I Write Like... Me

This week there's been a bit of a to do over the "I Write Like" site, which analyzes a block of text to 'inform' us what famous author we write like (or authors if you're like me an go totally geek over these kinds of things and submit various writing samples to see your varied results).
Flattering, yet not surprising, my results came up with only two authors: Bram Stoker and Stephen King. Stoker jumped out as the first candidate, but every subsequent sample produced a King-ly result. Even smut (and yes, that side of my writing exists).
Granted, I know better than to take this as a serious analysis of my writing style -- just like I treat every online analyzer or quiz result as a way of amusing some part of me that needs a bit of reassuring, or just a good laugh. Yes, there is the Insecure Writer voice that flings out its arms and spins around like Fraulein Maria when my writing gets compared to the great Uncle Stevie, but when I'm honest with myself (brutally so, as I tend to be), I know two facts: his writing is far superior to mine AND we do share a similar style. Without ever intending it there has been a stylistic similarity in my writing and his since I was a teenager and only just starting to read him. To that point I had been raised, and raised myself, on the likes of Roald Dahl, Lois Lowry, Shakespeare, Calvin & Hobbes (one day I will talk about how I see Watterson's comic as so much more than 'just a comic strip'), and Scholastic books about creepy coincidences, famous hauntings and ancient curses. You know, books such as this one:

Still, flattering as it is that an online generator using ones and zeros to compare my writing samples to whatever stockpiled text by various authors exist in a database states that what I provided it relates to my favorite author's writing style more than anyone else it has data for, that's a 'fact' I'm already aware of. Reassurance by the interwebs is nice, though.

In order to get a more articulate perspective on one's writing style, there is also this site: http://typealyzer.com/ which rather than analyze a sample of writing your provide it, analyzes a link and the text on that webpage (i.e. it will analyze an entire page of your blog rather than a selection of text you choose to copy and paste). Unfortunately, this method only works for public sites, so my personal blog and the location where the bulk of my fiction is stored is inaccessible by this site. However, for a Myers-Briggs breakdown of this blog, it gave me an intriguing result.
I've taken the full Myers-Briggs test a couple of times (and little variations thereupon several times as well), always with the same result: I/ENFP. I waver a bit between the introvert and extrovert depending on where I am in life when I answer the question, but the others never change. Until I input this blog link into the Typealyzer and get this:

INTP - The Thinkers

The logical and analytical type. They are especially attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

Again, this is all just for the sake of argument as I know my personality IRL and my writing for this blog are somewhat different, as are my fiction writing style and 'personal' writing style. Still, I found it interesting that this blog (in its infancy) weighs heavily on the intellectual and not on the feeling. I suppose I could take that to mean my rants thus far come across as subdued OR that they are articulate enough to not qualify as a rant in the raving, emotional sense (I mean, if you could SEE me when I rant about these things there'd be no question of the emotional response they invoke).
Now, that first section does describe a cross-section of myself with eerie accuracy. It's only the bit that says I can come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive that makes the 'real' me, the 'F' me, want to cry out, "NOOOOOO! I sympathize with everyone! Even stupid people who don't understand me!"
You see the contradiction there.
I also feel compelled to add that the drawing which accompanies the description amuses me greatly. That does pretty much sum me up when it comes to what I look like when writing at my computer... just replace the calculations with images of British things, attractive men and/or supernatural 'stuff' and you've got my inner monologue.

As online quizzes and analyzers go, I don't typically engage in ones that engage me in deeper thought. Yes, I too have fallen prey to wasting an hour taking such quizzes as "Which Twilight guy is You're Soulmate?" (typo intentional -- and Jasper, for the record. Duh.) and "What color best represents your personality?" and even "How much do you know about Harry Potter?" (answer: a helluva lot, especially in regards to the movies, but not nearly as much as Super!Fans) Still, since these particular sites related to writing and style and a dash of psychology, they did give me time for some brief reflection on why I write like I do, and how my writing may be perceived by some people-not-me -- so these silly things are productive, right?

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