My friend Beth was horrified to be told she wrote like Anne Rice (or HP Lovecraft). The validity of her horror is entirely subjective. Personally, both are authors with vast, detailed imaginations… but if you aren’t a fan… well, it isn’t my place to say whether Beth should be happy or sad- I am sad that she is sad. Let me just say that.
Granted, nobody really likes to be told “you write like blank” unless Blank= The writers favorite author- and even then, don’t we all worry that we are being too derivative?
So playing around with the admittedly self-indulgent “I Write Like” website, by being amazingly self-indulgent and cycling Each and Every chapter of my WIP through it I came across a discovery:
I can live with it.
The Prologue (that Courtney yelled at me until I put in) is apparently “Like Mark Twain.”
The 1st half of the book is full of chapters that are apparently very Stephen King, with a single chapter apparently being Stephenie Meyer (the one with the Jersey Devil, strangely enough) and one being James Fennimore Cooper (the Hessian Peggy/Pine Witch chapter). Huh.
The 2nd half of the book is Chuck Palahniuk (all the hobo or biker stuff) alternating with King- with Douglas Adams taking over for the chapters where the hero is visited by visions and hallucinations. Oh, and William Gibson shows up for the last three chapters.
I AM SO VERY OK WITH THIS, WEIRD INTERNET SITE.
(though I apparently need to rewrite the fuck out of that one chapter in part one).
I don’t love Chuck P (or Douglas Adams, or William Gibson) but I GET what they do well, and why they have fans. I DO love King- when I first gave an early draft of the WIP to my dad I was worried he’d compare it to Neil Gaiman.
See, I knew he had recently picked up AMERICAN GODS and while the books aren’t very similar, they were (to my eyes) obviously written by two men inspired by a lot of the same things. But my dad said no, he didn’t think it was Gaimanesque at all, but very Steve King- and believe it or not, to me that is high praise.
King is a terrific storyteller- he isn’t always the best “Writer”, and sometimes his stories don’t work. But I can’t think of another author who consistently gets to the heart of a semi-rural non-southern American experience. Bradbury nailed it with SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, but it is the only of his novels I really love.
King, on the other hand, has more hits than misses- and that is out of a LOT of books. Or At Bats, if we are going to brutalize the baseball metaphor. Or is that football?
So being told that my “childhood’s end/idyllic rural Americana where dark things writhe and bump in the shadows” story is King-esq, even by a silly algorithm and blues website, is kinda fun.
Anyhow. When I was in bands throughout much of college, it was always disheartening to hear someone say “you sound like ___”.
Now, much older and wiser- it doesn’t hurt nearly as much, and in fact kind of tickles my fancy.
Don’t get me wrong- I’m pretty unhappy about that one chapter. But the rest?” I can live with it.