Nabokov or Asimov
But please not P.G. Wodehouse!
A few years ago a writing style analyser came out online called I Write Like. It was the brainchild of Russian software programmer Dmitry Chestnykh and it’s basically a bunch of algorithms (whatever they are…) I fed some of my text into it years ago and thought no more about it, but lately, as I approached the second draft/third draft revisions stage of my book, and began panicking that I had written a many, many-headed bastard hydra of differing styles and voice I thought it might be interesting to feed the chapters in to at least see if there was at least some style consistency.
The good news was that there was. The bad news that out of twenty-four chapters, there is one outlier (Asimov) and even worse, two chapters ‘like Wodehouse’. It’s enough to make you burn the whole manuscript a la Nabokov – who the rest of the thing wot I wrote turns out like. Unfortunately none of this really means too much – Margaret Atwood fed in her text and it came out: I Write Like H.P. Lovecraft. If Lovecraft was around to feed in his prose, he would find that he writes like James Joyce, and not himself. So much for all that.
However, if there is an ounce of anything to be taken from this, it may be that my beloved beta-readers, some of whom prefer the sparse prose style, will be ready to string me up and feed me my work, page by page…