Probably Not

It seems that my writing style is inconsistent, or maybe the “I Write Like” webpage is. Perhaps it is just a come-on, or merely makes random reference to writers.

I have cut and pasted a few of my longer blogs into it, and  come up each time as having the style of a different writer.

So I am now embarking on a statistical analysis. I have opened my blog again in another tab, and I am cutting and pasting my longer entries from the last four years, to see if there is a common style.

Here goes, starting with the first four that caused me to start this experiment :

James Joyce.

A bit of a worry.  But I can live with it. Maybe I can be obscure and erudite, and dense.  Is that good?  Most people have an unread copy of Ulysses on the shelf somewhere.  I have a half read copy.  I also have a mostly unread blog….

Cory Doctorow

Ok – I liked Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, particularly because Doctorow gave it away free.

William Gibson

This really pleased me.  One of my favourite writers.  Neuromancer is a great work.  Virtual Light and its sequels were really good novels.   And there is a science fiction trend coming out here…

Arthur C Clarke

That’s acceptable.  I would have thought Robert A Heinlein though.

Dan Brown

Not so happy now.   This is beginning to seem random.  Can’t I write in a consistent style at all?

Jane Austen

This is rather odd.

Cory Doctorow

Again!  Now we are getting somewhere.

Cory Doctorow

Aha! A trend!

Dan Brown

Bugger. Him again.

James Joyce

That was a powerful piece, concerning my travels in 2008. It just happened to mention Dublin. I wonder if that had anything to do with it?

James Joyce

Again!  Another blog about Ireland was the source for analysis… moving on.

Arthur Clarke Ok. I am not sure this is about style at all now.  I suspect vocabulary may have a great deal to with it. Here is the blog that was analysed for that result:

See what I mean?  I am thinking a random collection of words and punctuation marks would come up with some writer or other, depending merely on the statistical incidence of certain words.  Well of course it will. The programme can only choose writers.  It cannot say “Hey! You gave me a page of dictionary to analyse!”  Still let’s see what it finds…

I posted an  entire page from http://thesaurus.com/browse/fear

I Write Like decided the page has the style of David Foster Wallace, the depressed suicide.

No comment – I have not read him.

Ok.  This time I entered a very old piece about music from the very beginning  of my blogging. it came up with James Joyce again.  The blog did happen to mention Mrs Murphy

So. Conclusion?

I  write like Joyce and Doctorow of course!

Another test: I am going to copy and paste this whole blog so far:

And the analysis is:

Cory Doctorow!

Now I am going to do a pile more until I have a statistically significant sampling.  I am guessing a total of about sixty extracts might do. I will not paste them all here, just the list and the total number of times one of my writings was considered to be in their style. One or two, I have not encountered, to my knowledge, like Chuck Palahniuk, (though I have seen the movie Fight Club) and David Foster Wallace who apparently committed suicide and tended to be depressed.  That is odd because the first piece that was classified in his style was this one. Rather cheerful I thought.  I was chuffed to see some other names pop up, but Shakespeare probably does not count, because the blog I used contained an extract from Beowulf. I am leaving him in though.  Lastly, I pasted in about 25 pages from SOPAC Technical Report 437, only pages for which I was entirely responsible.  The result was that it is in the style of Arthur C Clarke.  Fair enough.  Clarke popped up a couple of times.

I went back about 6 times, and re-pasted some of the same blogs again, to check that the result was consistent. They always were. I did not count them in the statistics.

Next I analysed the data in Excel.  I ended up with 62 data.  Here is the result:



I am pleased that no one I absolutely hate turned up.

Name Incidences
James Joyce 9
Cory Doctorow 17
William Gibson 6
Dan Brown 6
Jane Austen 2
Arthur Clarke 4
DF Wallace 5
PG Wodehouse 1
Jack London 2
W Shakespeare 1
HP Lovecraft 4
Chuck Palahniuk 1
Douglas Adams 2
Stephen King 1
Mario Puzo 1
62
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About Alan

Alone in a sea of spinifex.
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