Benji Hughes, Agatha Christie, Anne Rice, Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen King, Cory Doctorow, David Foster Wallace, Kurt Vonnegut…and me!

One goal I had for L Extreme was to capture the genre crossing styles Benji Hughes uses on A Love Extreme the album through the various song/chapters.

Recently I remembered this old I Write Like text analysis website and wondered how well I did at mixing things up. Let’s see…

 

The 15 Chapters: You Stood Me Up, Waiting For An Invitation, Cornfields, Why Do These Parties Always End The Same Way?, Girl In The Tower, Vibe So Hot, The Mummy, Love Is A Razor, Coyotes, Ladies On Parade, Jubalee, So Much Better, Lyegue, Baby, It’s Your Life!

This surprised me at first, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense. There’s an air of mystery around many of these chapters (Who is L? Does the waitress have a name? What happened at the party? Who killed the DJ? WTF is going on in the trippy dream-like sequences?), which could lead an AI to lean towards one of the masters. I later found an article about Christie’s style that sounds about right:

Her language was always simple, using a writing style that every reader could understand and enjoy….She relied heavily on dialogue, a technique to vary the pacing of the story as well as to heighten suspense. The beginnings of her works are strong on description, which gradually drop off as dialogue and interaction between characters take over.

In 5 chapters, I write like
Anne Rice

About Anne Rice | Analyze your text

 

The 5 Chapters: Where Do Old Lovers Go?, Do You Think They Would Tell You?, All You’ve Got To Do Is Fall In Love, Even If, Mmmmmmm

Confession: I haven’t read any Anne Rice (as anyone who heard me botch an easy trivia question about her on Coverville Musically Challenged knows), so I don’t have direct experience with this comp. These chapters are all from Side B, all come consecutively, and are lighter on dialogue—including the first 4 parts of the silent Heartman & Songstress fairytale flashback which could be considered gothic by the AI system. (Also: C may or may not be a vampire and/or a muppet…)

This quote resonated with me:

Treasure your own voice, your own characters, your own vision. Never think you’re too weird, never think that you’re too crazy.

Also check out Anne’s own advice for writers.

 

The 3 Chapters: Neighbor Down The Hall, So Well, Love On A Budget

Obviously this is because the character of C was named after Sir Arthur’s middle initial 🙂

More seriously, these are 3 Frank-centric chapters which could be what the AI latched onto. I thought I might get Mary Shelley since Frank is partly inspired by Frankenstein—but he’s also partly inspired by someone else which leans more into Clarke’s sci-fi & outer space roots.

I especially love that Love On A Budget landed here since half of that chapter contains hidden messages solved via acronyms. The bio on the official Arthur C. Clarke website says:

He believed in short sentences and short paragraphs. He used metaphors but not archaic ones. He loved to coin a phrase or make up new acronyms. He enjoyed busting popular myths without the arrogance of a know-it-all.

In 2 chapters, I write like
Stephen King

About Stephen King | Analyze your text 

 

The 2 Chapters: Tight Tee Shirt, Kenny

I’m flattered here, but can’t quite figure it out. If Girl In The Tower was here for Dark Tower inspirations maybe, but not sure on these two choices. Kenny does sound like the title of a King work. Both have a little bit of fourth wall breaking he’s known to do, but they also lack supernatural elements (even more of his calling card) that appear elsewhere in L Extreme.

Since the opening song (not counting the first instrumental) is included here, this King quote could be relevant:

I think that every novelist has a single ideal reader; that at various points during the composition of a story, the writer is thinking ‘I wonder what he/she will think when he/she reads this part?

LX certainly had one ideal reader…

In 1 chapter, I write like
Cory Doctorow

About Cory Doctorow | Analyze your text

 

The 1 Chapter: I Am You, You Are Me, We Are One

A great comp to get right out of the gate. Again I was a little surprised to get it on a far-out trip of a chapter, but this Cory Doctorow quote fits very well for someone who might not be picking up on nods to Love Devotion Surrender or Lovers and Other Strangers or Bill & Ted or Challenging Impossibility or the entire parade of other white-suited celebrities.

Science fiction has always been written as kind of a riddle for the reader to figure out. The whole point is to stop the reader and force their imagination to conjure up something that would otherwise take thousands of words to describe. But even more so today we live in the age of Google. So writers should feel free to add in references that provide richness and depth to readers who take the time to look them up.

 

The 1 Chapter: I Went With Some Friends To See The Flaming Lips

If you asked me for a stylistic comparison, David Foster Wallace might be on my short list. I’m not saying I actually write like DFW, but attempting a song by song novelization of an album requiring non-sequential storytelling to keep the tracks in proper order feels like a Wallace-worthy feat if that makes any sense. If nothing else you could call it “a supposedly fun thing I’ll never do again” — which is also a fair assessment of how the Flaming Lips experience goes in this chapter and perhaps what the AI picked up on.

Or maybe “Memory deficiency magical alchemy” as MDMA invoked this analysis:

Wallace’s writing often contains multiple voices and (sometimes made up) jargon and vocabulary drawn from a variety of fields. He uses his own abbreviations, long sentences with multiple clauses…

In 1 chapter, I write like
Kurt Vonnegut

About Kurt VonnegutAnalyze your text

 

The 1 Chapter: EpiLILILILogue

The epilogue is a short and goofy little coda paying tribute to LILILIL — a different Benji Hughes record adjacent to the L Extreme universe. (Prequel or sequel? That’s complicated when the future is behind you and the past is all you can see.)

Weird and concise may have earned the Vonnegut comparable in the eyes of the AI. I like this bit from Kurt, echoing the thoughts of Stephen King & Anne Rice quoted above:

Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.

Turning my two favorite albums by my favorite musician into a novel definitely qualifies here.

In the acknowledgments, I write like
Chuck Palahniuk

About Chuck Palahniuk | Analyze your text

As a bonus, I decided to run the acknowledgments through the I Write Like tool to see what happened. Interesting how when I’m just being myself in a non-fictional set of thank yous the comparable is Palahniuk.

What does that mean? You tell me. Or as the first chapter observes:

There’s a song with that lyric in it, but I won’t acknowledge what it is. Or will I?

Check out L Extreme

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