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Do you know who you write like?

Writing is an art of its own. It cannot be compared to anything else, for it is a backbone for how society functions. Like every other type of art though, there are good writers and there are bad writers, and it is all completely subjective. Even so, you can now find out how similar your writing style is to famous authors.

I Write Like is a website providing this service for free, and allows you to input text you have written. It will then analyse the text and its style to give you an idea of who you most write like. It may not be entirely accurate but it should prove to be a fun experiment. For those who write in their spare time, it might be especially interesting to see how you stack up to literary giants. Assuming you had the time to do it daily, you could find out just how your writing style changes from day to day. Most people are at least fairly consistent in their style but there is always the chance you're "in the zone", and are pumping out gold worthy of James Joyce.

I decided to take it for a spin with some extracts from articles from other Neowin writers as well as myself, to find out just how the team's writing process works. In every case I used the first two or three paragraphs from articles. I sampled my Scrivener and SeriesGuide reviews. They were compared to H.P. Lovecraft, which doesn't really seem to be an insult in my eyes. My first ever editorial, targeting Samsung and Apple's antagonism towards each other, was compared to Douglas Adams, of The Hitcherhiker's Guide to the Galaxy fame. My Das Keyboard review is compared to Cory Doctorow, and my "Twenty Minutes in Berlin, 1945" is apparently similar to Mario Puzo.

I didn't stop at just testing my own articles though. I decided to take Tim Schiesser's Galaxy Nexus review to the test as well, just to see how it stacked up - and because it happens to be a review of my favorite Android device. The site drew a comparison to David Foster Wallace, whose magnum opus is typically seen as the 1996 novel Infinite Jest. Jake Durasamy's fantastic editorial on creating the Pokemon: Liquid Crystal ROM was also compared to H.P. Lovecraft, though it would seem the site is much more expansive than this.

For sheer amusement I used the shortest possible fragment of Animal Farm, by George Orwell. That fragment was "Mr Jones, owner of the Manor Farm" - and the site identified the author from that one half-formed sentence. It doesn't always work that well, though: when I entered a fragment of other novels it invoked a message informing me that the sentence was too short. Undeterred I decided to zip over to Gutenberg to try something completely random: an extract from a famous letter sent by Vladimir Lenin. The letter, entitled "A Letter to American Working Men", was written in 1918. The site drew a comparison to George Orwell, who was known more for being critical of Communism and the Soviet Union. Take that how you will.

In short, I Write Like is an interesting foray into the world of sites. It does not seem particularly well known though, which is a shame, since I had known about it for the past eight months or so. It is available as a Chrome web app (i.e. a glorified shortcut of sorts in your home page). Of course, it isn't just there for being the sake of being there. The site was created by Coding Robots, who are using it to provide a small advertisement for Mémoires, a piece of journal software for Macintosh OS X. If I actually had a Mac I'd take it for a test drive, but Mac owners among the community might find it an interesting and appealing piece of software to add to their docks.

Give it a go and see just how you write. You could start with your last forum post, or even your blog.

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