I Write Like… David Foster Wallace?

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    You type in a few paragraphs of your own writing, click on “analyze,'' then the site tells you which famous author you most write like.
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It may be one of the most unexpected things to go viral since Susan Boyle's debut audition. I Write Like, a new website without any fancy production values or adorable kitties with shaky grasps of spelling, has logged hundreds of thousands of hits since it went up earlier this month.

The premise is simple: You type in a few paragraphs of your own writing, click on “analyze” and voilà – the site gives you a nifty badge telling you which famous author you most write like. (Void where prohibited. Results may vary. Offer will have no effect on grades in sophomore English classes in the contiguous United States.)

I pasted in a few graphs of a blog, and came up with… David Foster Wallace, the beloved author of “Infinite Jest.”

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Hmm. Well, that's flattering, although I never thought of myself as a particularly experimental or groundbreaking writer (and the post was, in fact, about my late beagle).

My grocery list came back as Margaret Atwood, so clearly I'm just so brimming over with inherent talent that it spills over into even the most mundane writing tasks.

Speaking of the Booker Prize-winning author, Atwood recently put in a sample of her own writing and the site told “The Handmaid's Tale” author that she writes like Stephen King.

“Who knew?” Atwood tweeted.

According to the Associated Press, the site is the brainchild of Dmitry Chestnykh, a Russian software programmer in Montenegro and owner of Coding Robots, who wanted to encourage people to write. His favorite authors include Gabriel García Márquez and Agatha Christie.

And, in a sign that it's truly arrived, I Write Like has already spawned a spoof, I Actually Write Like, which provides a bit less of an ego boost. Apparently, I actually write like an adolescent goth after a heavy night on the absinthe.

Well, yeah, that might be a little closer.

Yvonne Zipp regularly reviews books for the Monitor.

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