JK-rowlingSo the latest news in the big “JK Rowling is also Robert Galbraith” story is that her law firm has fallen on its sword and taken responsibility for the leak, which doesn’t speak to their being good at the whole confidentiality thing.  It may cut down on a few of the rumors about the whole thing being a ploy on the part of her publisher to boost sales, though (I think we can assume Rowling herself didn’t do it, since at some point why would she need more money?  I think she already has enough to fill up the deep end of her swimming pool of money and allow for diving).

Anyway, I was rather interested in some of the detective work that went into confirming that she wrote the mystery.  In a way, it seems similar to the “I write like” test, only more sophisticated and less vocab-based (for those who are interested, I write like Stephen King or Jane Austen, depending on what “S.M.” stands for).  It also seems as though there may be more to the story.

Anyway, I just thought it was interesting, this talk of a writer going by initials and banging out several bestselling books.  Not that I’m saying that just because I write under “S.M.” I’m also a famous author.  I’m not saying that and neither is my lawyer.  But if I was, well, it would certainly be wise to grab up copies of everything I write now, right?




~ by smwilliams on July 18, 2013.

7 Responses to “Initials”

  1. According to the “I write like” test, I write my short stories like H.P. Lovecraft and my YA fantasy like Kurt Vonnegut. This does not bode well for marketing to young girls. I suspect that the inclusion of the phrase “foul-smelling ordure” might have had some influence on the Lovecraft decision.

    Perhaps Jane Austen would have come up, if my characters had any manners. Yours are much better behaved, when they keep their spectacles on and don’t bare their teeth.

    • Well, don’t worry too much – according to the test, HP Lovecraft writes like Arthur C Clarke, and that’s not so bad, right?

      Most people aren’t aware that Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle” was originally a YA book about a young girl named Joanie and her magical snowman friend, “Ice-9”, who save the world from an evil witch by getting her hands all tangled up in string so she can’t cast spells. When he couldn’t get it to sell he reworked the plot slightly and sold it as an adult novel.

  2. While money might not be a motive for leaking JK’s name, what about pride?
    If the book was doing poorly or even just middle of the range, that might be a reason, after all no one wants to fall from multiple best selling author to middle of the pack.

    • As I understand it, though, it was doing quite well, just not mega-bestseller well. That was supposedly one of the things that made folks suspicious – it seemed too polished for a first-time author.

  3. I found this interesting for two reasons: 1) if I understood the article correctly, the analysis did not include punctuation, but I think Rowling’s punctuation is pretty distinctive (maybe I need to write my own analysis program), and 2) the rumors before _The Casual Vacancy_ came out were that Rowling was working on a mystery, and I, personally, was disappointed when it wasn’t a mystery, but apparently this other book is. Which makes me want to go read it, so the “leak” is being effective in selling more books. At least to me.

    • That’s interesting – perhaps if they’d thrown in punctuation it would increase the level of certainty, sort of another dimension in the analysis graph. Sometimes if you can rotate into the 5th dimension or whatever, you can suddenly separate two things that seemed similar. Although I wonder if part of it is UK versus US English – I know a lot of people are horrified by the number of adverbs Rowling uses, but UK writers in general don’t care so much what Strunk and White decided people should do (witness the massive use of passive voice by Winston Churchill, for instance).

  4. […] I recently discovered, according to the “I write like” test, I write like a dynamic combination of Jane Austen and Stephen King, so you can imagine that it was an exciting week for me, when not only did word come down that Jane […]

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