News flash about these memes

I don’t care who some expert system thinks I “write like.”

My style comes from all those years of reading people like Herman Wouk, Saul Bellow (the early work–Henderson the Rain King, Adventures of Augie Marsh), even Allen Drury (Advise and Consent, followed by many book-length rants). And reading the classics. And reading Donald E. Westlake, Harlan Ellison, Robert Heinlein, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Mark Twain. I do tend to write for the inveterate reader rather than the new crowd of readers (the ones who seem to want a screenplay written down with no internal monologue at all), but that comes out of enjoying that sort of book myself. I like character-driven works that may not be page-turners for the rest of the world. I also appreciate densely plotted works that bring it all to a satisfying conclusion.

But the expert system that analyzes your style . . . well, I don’t give it a lot of credit. It’s an expert system because it uses heuristics to match your word length, sentence length, sentence structure, punctuation choices, word choice (diction), and so forth to the models someone built of Henry James, Shakespeare, and all those greats. When I worked at the big E, I helped to code and implement a rudimentary expert system. They’re only as good as the rules they’re kicked off with and the resulting rules they build. That’s one reason I wanted to use one in SONG. I could have rules that seemed OK on the surface but that caused side effects that snowballed. They’re not like a conscious mind that can catch those side effects and realize what they’ve done. I suppose the AI people are working towards that, but I doubt they’re very close yet.

So. I write like Benchley, Thurber, Wouk, and “Laura Lee Hope” . . . but so what?

I guess I just didn’t see the point of that one. *shrug*


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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