Tuesday, 27 July 2010

David Foster Wallace - ALCHEssMIST's Writing Style?

Just read Tom Chivers' interesting article Like: something rolling about at random on the keyboard, possibly in pain at the excellent The Streatham & Brixton Chess Blog.

Tom refers to a "statistical analysis tool, which analyzes ... word choice and writing style and compares them to those of the famous writers." Site here.

ALCHEssMIST wondered which author his writing style might be most like - though recognizing that he rarely posted more than one paragraph of text in his blog articles.

The answer ... David Foster Wallace (R.I.P.)
David Foster Wallace (February 21, 1962 – September 12, 2008) was an American author of novels, essays, and short stories, and a professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California. He was widely known for his 1996 novel Infinite Jest,[2][3] which Time included in its All-Time 100 Greatest Novels list (covering the period 19232006).

Los Angeles Times book editor David Ulin called Wallace "one of the most influential and innovative writers of the last 20 years."
[Wikipedia summary]
Wikipedia describes David Foster Wallace's style in the following way:
Wallace's novels often combine various writing modes or voices, and incorporate jargon and vocabulary (sometimes invented) from a wide variety of fields. His writing featured self-generated abbreviations and acronyms, long multi-clause sentences, and a notable use of explanatory footnotes and endnotes—often nearly as expansive as the text proper. He used endnotes extensively in Infinite Jest and footnotes in "Octet" as well as in the great majority of his nonfiction after 1996. On the Charlie Rose show in 1997, Wallace claimed that the notes were used to disrupt the linearity of the narrative, to reflect his perception of reality without jumbling the entire structure. He suggested that he could have instead jumbled up the sentences, "but then no one would read it."
How does ALCHEssMIST describe his preferred writing style?

Visuospatial (a picture tells a thousand words) with variably referenced tabular jists.

May explain why ALCHEssMIST enjoys blindfold chess.

Make of that what you may.

Image of David Foster Wallace at reading for Booksmith at All Saints Church in 2006 by Steve Rhodes (cc)
Tags: Acronyms - Author - Blindfold Chess - David Foster Wallace - Jargon - Time Magazine - Visuospatial - Writing Style


Tom Chivers said...

It's a fun site but there are reasons to be suspicious of it, as ejh emailed me to say:



http://www.richardclegg.org/write/ is very accurate however.

ALCHEssMIST said...

Thanks Tom.

Informative as always.

Actually I think my writing style is more like a LOLCAT - clever Richard Clegg.