If you are wondering about the previous entry, here’s the story:
I found this fun new program called “I Write Like.” Here’s the link:
The idea is that you put in a chunk of your writing and “coding robots” tell you which famous writer your writing most resembles. Look, I’m a sucker for things like this. I simply love Pandora (www.pandora.com), which is the “musical genome project where you put in a song or a musical artist you like and they create a radio channel for you that assimilates that particular sound. I’m just amazed with the techno nerds who sit around all day and think of these things, then let them out into the world for free. I mean, I’m a writer. We’re used to thinking we’re writing for pay only to find in the end we’re actually writing for free. I guess the issue is one of intent.
So I put in a representative chunk of THE FOURTH HOUSE and lo and behold it spit out, “You write like Stephen King.” This fascinates me, and not from an egotistical standpoint. The program is not saying to me or to anyone for that matter, “You are as GOOD as Stephen King (or Maya Angelou or John Grisham, etc.); you simply express yourself in a similar fashion.
The fascination is that I, like everyone else, tend to think of writers for their choice of genre rather than how they execute. When I think of King, I think of horror, although we all know he’s done non-horror things like “Shawshank Redemption” and “The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon”, which I’m reading right now.
The fact that I’m reading King now is rather ironic, for it gives me a fresh chance to look at his prose and how he turns a phrase, and damn; there really is a similarity. The problem is, when you write a query or a book proposal, editors and agents encourage you to compare yourself to other famous writers, which is always a gut-wrenching exercise in ego versus self-loathing. Truth is, they are most likely looking to pigeonhole you stylistically using this method, rather than something as scientific as this. What I’m trying to say is, I doubt when I turn in my next piece of romantic comedy they’ll understand when I say, “I’ve been told I write very much like Stephen King.” They’ll spend all their time reading, thinking, “But when does the monster come out and chew her neck off?”