The Horror Of It All

One of the nice things about following other blogs is that they magically appear in my inbox and provide me with inspiration. By inspiration, I mean I can take someone else’s idea or research and make up my own little post. What a time saver!

Of course, I always give credit where credit is due because I’m a nice person, if a little bit lazy. This time I am stealing inspiration from Elyse who is forever FiftyFourandaHalf. The other day she shared a site where your writing is analyzed to reveal which writer’s writing your writing is most like. This is done by comparing words and syntax to to the volumes of work by every well known writer who ever lived. Or possibly, it is just a random name pulled out of a metaphorical hat. I was leaning towards the random metaphorical hat trick before I submitted a writing sample.

I decided to submit my poem Shattered for analysis. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this:

I didn’t know he wrote poetry. Then once I started thinking about it, it made sense. I read many Stephen King novels when I was younger, so perhaps his writing style lingered in my subconscious. Then I realized that a few lines of poetry were hardly indicative of my writing style, so I submitted my post The Creator Of The Universe Might Be Living in My Mailbox.

Not only do I write like Stephen King, but I also write like Mary Shelley. Yes, the nineteenth century gothic writer who liked to hang out and party with those romantic poets. And after a night of partying at the lake, you know the one in Geneva, Switzerland, when Lord Byron issued a challenge for everyone to write their own supernatural tale, Mary awoke from an opium induced slumber (if my high school British lit teacher was telling the truth) with the idea for Frankenstein.

I never read Frankenstein, but I enjoyed Mr. Brooks’ take on the young doctor, so I have no idea if Mary and I are stylistic sisters. I do understand her attraction to brooding romantic bad boy poets, so it is quite possible we are stylistic sisters. I guess I’ll have to add Frankenstein to my reading list. I was still thinking about metaphorical hats, so I decided to submit another post. This time I went with Less Than Three.

Apparently, I also write like another nineteenth century master of the macabre, Edgar Allen Poe. He of the quoth the raven, nevermore, tell tale heart, pit and pendulum madness. I have read some of his work, but it was decades ago. I was beginning to detect a trend, but just to be safe, I submitted one more post. I chose one of my early posts, The Plight Of The Zucchini. By this time I shouldn’t have been surprised that my zucchini rambling could have been mistaken for Stephen King’s rambling if Stephen King rambled about zucchini.

So after spending maybe five minutes having my writing analyzed, then another ten seconds jumping to conclusions, I concluded that I am either a horrific writer or I should be writing horror.  Then practical, non-gothic, twenty-first century me realized the metaphorical hat trick was just a clever way to while away a few moments of time and more importantly, it is not that I write like anyone else, but that I write like me.

24 thoughts on “The Horror Of It All

  1. Your last two sentences say it all. Be yourself and know that Stephen King secretly wants to write more like you. 😉

    • Ha! I’m sure Stephen is happy being Stephen. It’s one of the keys to his success – that and his ability to scare the the bejeezus out of his readers.

  2. Personally, although I appreciate all of those literary geniuses, I think you and some other WordPressers, are greater than all of those combined. Although a lot of us don’t have the patience to write an epic novel.

  3. It’s true, or at least I agree with you in that our favorite writers can leave an impression not only in our lives but also in our subconscious. We enjoy their placement of words, their rhythm, their music. It’s only natural that in liking it so much it has crept our way into our own written expression.

    • I’ll be taking on Proust this summer. Swan’s Way was a free download so I figured why not read the guy great writers think was the greatest writer. Perhaps, he’ll take up some space in my subconscious, too.

  4. I like the way you write, Sandy. You are like Mr. King (who I hold in the highest regard) as you tell the story honestly. No beating around the proverbial bush, it is what it is. The story is the most important. Nice job!

  5. Glad you had so much fun with the site and got some inspiration to boot. Me, I got a lot of laughs learning that I wrote like just about everybody I’d ever heard of, plus got the bonus of a few names I hadn’t. Now I have more reading to do!

    Whoever you were influenced by is apparently a wonderful writer, because you certainly are!

  6. Hat trick or not, it sounds like a chance to stop and get fresh perspective on your writing – one that was fun.
    Silly thought of the day: Sort of like writers secretly thinking we were adopted and knowing our crown and kingdom awaits somewhere – with the realm being a literary inheritance?
    Do you think writers and artists play with the puzzle pieces of who we are more than other people?
    As always you write a good read – always successfully pulling a rabbit out of that hat!

    • I do think writers tend to play with the puzzle pieces of who we are, why are we here, where will we be more than others. Whether we write, read, go to a play or movie, it all comes down to the writing. Great writing can inspire, entertain or make us delve more deeply into a better understanding of who we are.

  7. Dear god – I just pasted 2 trifecta pieces to be analyzed. Apparently I write like Cory Doctorow. And Stephanie Meyer.
    I may need to kill myself now…

    • No, just go stake a vampire and you’ll feel better. And if you haven’t read The Host by Stephanie Meyer, you might want to give it a try. It is very different from the Twilight series. It makes you think about traditional views of societies and just what makes us human.

  8. Congrats – being in the realm of Mr King is quite an honor ! (i’m thinking of trying this later, when I get over being afraid of the answers !)

  9. Very interesting post! I just tried it and it said I wrote like Neil Gaiman. Crazy. I do wholeheartedly agree with your last line, “…I write like me.” 🙂

    • It’s best to just be ourselves when we write. Of course, when writing fiction, you need to be able flesh out different characters, each one with a unique voice.

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