Sounded like fun to try. I submitted a dramatic chapter of my latest Nurse Hal Among The Amish book - As Is Her Name So Is Redbird. In this chapter, a young Amish girl is accidentally shot while she is driving a buggy. The horse finds the way home, but the girl dies. I clicked the button, and the answer was J.D. Salinger. His only book was a hit with teenagers in the 1950s as I remember, but not well received by those that didn’t care for foul language and promiscuous behavior. The choice of this author was not well received by me. I want my books to be known for the wholesome material in them which is totally the opposite of Catcher In The Rye.
Thinking I should give the test another try, hoping for a result I’d like better, I picked a humorous chapter in the same book. Nurse Hal is asked by an Amish farmer to deliver lambs. His reasoning is the vet is too far away to get to his farm to save the lambs. This is an emergency. However, he misleads Nurse Hal, and she thinks she’s going to be assisting the farmer’s wife in a home birthing. Too late, she sees who Nancy is and feels she can’t refuse helping the farmer. Which author did the test pick this time? David Foster Wallace best known for his book Infinite Jest. I’m not familiar with this author so I looked him up. The subject matters in his book didn’t appear to be humorous such as drug addition. The subjects he wrote about I don’t have the expertise to write.
By now I’m thinking maybe there is another form of my work that might give me a better analysis answer. After all I’ve written several different genres. I put in the first chapter of my latest historical book - Tread Lightly Sibby. This introduction to the Ozark characters as the Civil War is ending begins with Sibby, a mother for the fourth time, rebelling against staying in bed much to the midwife’s irate warnings. The story starts with a blizzard which Sibby’s husband is out in. She is worried about his safety. Now the test picked an author that I was very happy with. Margaret Mitchell the author of Gone With The Wind. This was her only book and has been popular throughout the ages. It is my favorite. No matter how scheming and dishonest spoiled Scarlet O’Hara became I always rooted for her. She had large strikes against her - a woman in a man’s world and the Civil War. She prevailed by telling herself hopefully there was always tomorrow. Scarlet made me believe her life would improve beyond that last page. Now I’m thinking it wasn’t my writing but the fact that my book has a southern setting in the same era that triggered the test result.
Maybe I should have quit now that I had a test result I liked, but I decided to continue. So I picked chapter four in my historical book Tread Lightly Sibby. Sibby’s husband is commandeered to lead two deputy sheriffs and two horse thieves through a forest. He’s with the deputies when they decide to scare the thieves and wind up hanging them. Brice goes home, resigned to keeping quiet. When the bodies are found dangling from trees, the fingers point at Brice, and he’s found guilty of murder. The test result was an unlikely one according to me, but maybe not. That would be for the readers to decided I guess. It was Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice In Wonderland. I hadn’t meant for that chapter to sound like fantasy. My take on the submission was scary and violent in very real, rough vigilante and lawless days after the Civil War.
So now I wanted to see what answer another genre I’ve written might bring me. I picked chapter one and two from my historical mystery series Amazing Gracie Mysteries - Locked Rock, Iowa’s Hatchet Murders. The chapters introduce the characters and their hesitation to like the newcomer to the retirement home they live in. My series is meant to be mystery stories with humor and set in the Midwest at the start of the 20th century. Now this time I was happy with the test pick - Mark Twain. Again one of my favorite authors. I loved his Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn books as a kid. We were both from Missouri and though we grew up in different times I can identify with Twain. My fictional town in Iowa and my characters might have triggered a likeness to Hannibal, Missouri in Twain’s books.
Okay now I’m expecting a different answer for chapters ten through eleven of the same book if the test answers are always going to change. The newcomer, from New York, thinks the best way to get an answer for a murder is to go to a seance and ask for the victim to come forward and tell the ladies who the killer is. It leads to a nervous situation for the elderly Locked Rock residents, unfamiliar with a seance. The seer is so good at her job she brings forth many dead people they remember before the victim appears. Who am I like this time? Again Mark Twain. It was then I remembered he wrote a ghost story about being stuck in a New York hotel with a ghost. I can see how my seance seemed like that.
So now I decided to try a western - Small Feet’s Many Moon Journey. I chose chapter two and three. As with most husbands on a trip, Stringbean Hooper gets lost when he takes his wife on a horseback vacation from their Montana ranch to California. They stray onto an Indian reservation and are captured in the middle of a Ghost Dance celebration. A friend who happens to be the white widow of an Indian brave dresses Stringbean and Theo like Indians in hopes of sneaking them out during the dance. Theo finds herself next to a young brave who thinks she’d make him a suitable squaw and that almost ends all hope of them escaping. Test result - Mark Twain.
By then I was more than satisfied with writing my historical books like Mark Twain, but I wondered what would be the answer for my nonfiction book about my father’s life when he had Alzheimer’s disease - Hello Alzheimer’s Good Bye Dad. I submitted chapter one which introduces my family and our learning about Alzheimer’s. Result of test - again David Foster Wallace. Maybe because the serious subject matter was in tune with David Foster Wallace’s book. Alzheimer’s is a widely discussed fatal disease with no cure.
I decided I should try again for an author pick for this book that I might like better. I submitted chapter 27 and 28 about my parents coping to live with Dad’s failing health. He tries to plow with a push plow down their long garden rows and uproots beets and carrots. Both vegetables he dislikes. My mother was angry. She asked me to get him out of the garden before he did more damage. I defended this as an accident because of his failing eyesight and poor coordination. Mom declared Dad plowed up the two vegetables he didn’t want her to feed him. Results for this one really surprised me - Stephenie Meyer - author of the Twilight series. I’m not fond of vampires so I haven’t read her works. She must bring her characters to life as real people by the way teenagers go for the books and movies. Perhaps in that respect, we might be similar, but like I said I haven’t read her work.
This isn’t the end of the testing for me. I’m pretty sure most authors improve as they work at writing. So when I finish each new book I’m going to submit a portion to see who I’m like next.
Since the test works for blog posts I submitted this post. The author I’m most like now is H.P. Lovecraft. He wrote horror, fantasy and science fiction and died at a young age in 1937. I’ll bet if he could submit to the I Write Like test the answer for him would not be me but Edgar Allen Poe.
Hopefully, I bypass some of the authors I just mentioned with some of my next submissions. Though I haven’t a favorite author choice for my next tests, I’d just like to be pleasantly surprised.