I heard about a website the other day that analyzes a person’s prose (by word choice and writing style) and compares it to famous writers. I put in a couple recent blog posts. The analysis of the first blog post seemed to ignore the Wendell Berry quote and the Arthur Miller-inspired title. It said I write like David Foster Wallace.
An analysis of the second blog post said I write like…David Foster Wallace.
At this point I was getting curious. I put in yet another recent blog post. No kidding, the results come back the same: I write like David Foster Wallace.
So, I’ve only ever read one DFW essay. But I know he’s one of Dave’s favorite writers and that I would love to someday be one of Dave’s favorite writers too. Dave read and loved “Infinite Jest,” DFW’s huge novel. I’ve been getting back to my roots lately, trying to write more fiction. I think the story I’m working on now could be described as literary fiction. I was inspired to write it when I was reading Philip Roth’s Zuckerman series. But when I put the first paragraph of my story (412 words) into the Analyzer, it came back with the news: I’m not writing the next “Infinite Jest” — I’m writing the next “DaVinci Code.” I write like Dan Brown.
Then I decided to calibrate the site by typing in the opening paragraph (199 words) of “The Ghost Writer,” Roth’s first Zuckerman novel. According to the Analyzer, Philip Roth writes like H.P. Lovecraft.
Finally, I put this blog post into the Analyzer. It says I write like H.P. Lovecraft. Which I guess means I write like Philip Roth, who writes like Dan Brown, who writes like David Foster Wallace, who wrote like me.