I have enjoyed Chuck Palahniuk’s work for quite some time. His twisted tales are vast, even though he is primarily known for Fight Club, and possibly Choke. But Lullaby is frightening in its own way (be careful reading if you’re a parent to a newborn), as is Haunted (whose cover glows in the dark–try sleeping with that image on your nightstand). I could go on with his other titles, but this isn’t a post about Palahniuk’s writing, per se. It’s about my writing, and how it’s like Chuck’s, and a way you can test this and your own.
I Write Like is this great website that allows you to plug in your writing and have it compared to the writing style of famous authors. Once analyzed you can get a digitally sharable badge declaring that you write like a particular icon.
I’ve used it with students, and the results have always been intriguing. There’s an adage in writing that you should copy your favorite author’s voice until you find your own. I find that the authors students read (a ton of Nick Sparks) bleeds onto the page, but only at a level of their ability. Therefore, even though they’ve all read the Harry Potter series, I have never seen J.K. Rowling pop up via I Write Like. Hence, the aforementioned Nick Sparks.
It’s fun and intriguing to consider why you may write like a certain author. I had a colleague try it and he found his style was similar to David Foster Wallace. He was both pleased and concerned for his mental state of being. I think Palahniuk is a credible parallel to my work because of the obvious darkness, violence and vulgarity that permeates both of our stories. I won’t go so far as to say I sound like Chuck, but there certainly is a similarly to the rhythm of sentence structure.
Beyond that I can only hope to continue to emulate his style–unknowingly or not–until some day I Write Like spits out my name to someone just getting started.
Here is my badge, proclaiming what I’ve stated. Feel free to plug in the samples on the homepage from either, Tap Out or Dare Me and you’ll get the same result. Then go and find out who you write like. I’d love to know.