Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What's Your Writing Gender?

Okay, that's an awkward title, isn't it? But it's pretty descriptive for this little 'app' I found online. The Gender Genie takes a sample of your writing and then decided is the writer is male or female. No, I don't know how it works but I have some suspicions. According to the page, 'Inspired by an article and a test in The New York Times Magazine, the Gender Genie uses a simplified version of an algorithm developed by Moshe Koppel, Bar-Ilan University in Israel, and Shlomo Argamon, Illinois Institute of Technology, to predict the gender of an author. Read more at BookBlog, The New York Times, and The Guardian.'

Okay. The first time I used it, I pasted 700+ words into the box.

Results: .
Words: 754

Female Score: 1045
Male Score: 855
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: female!

Those 700+ words were the opening scene of my novel Heartstone, delivered in the heroine's POV. She's feeling anxiety due to her new store opening and her overall insecurity PLUS she has what she calls an 'episode', a sort of psychotic event she thinks is a sign of her impending mental breakdown. So there's a wealth of emotion but not a whole lot of physical action in a rather short space.

So...I moved to a section where there was a bit more action but still a lot of emotion. Plus, most of it is in the Hero's POV. (My logic says certain words, word/sentence constructions would be typical of male or female language. My logic has been known to be wrong, LOL)

Words: 2759

Female Score: 4218
Male Score: 3465
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: female!

Mmm. same results and pretty much the same percentage. So it's clearly word choice that's the key. I'd like to see the algorithm but it would probably laugh at me while I scratched my head trying to figure it out, LOL

Oh, I also entered the above into the box since it will not only do fiction but blogs and non-fiction.

Words: 334

Female Score: 196
Male Score: 557
The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Now there weren't really enough words for a truly representative sample but this time my score was definitely 'male'. I'd say the primary difference between this and my fiction would lie in the use of adjectives and adverbs. I suppose I will have to go read the articles and the algorithm to figure it out.

But that's a job for another day ;-)


Julie Robinson said...

That's interesting, Lynda. I'm fascinated by little personality tests like that. Thanks for posting.

Julie Robinson said...

BTW, it looks like you weren't too far off of being neutral. I call that good writing!

Lynda K. Scott said...

Hi Julie,

Me too on being fascinated with these little tests. Whether they mean anything or not, I enjoy taking them.

Thanks for the compliment! I don't know if it's better to have a male or female writing gender but I've always felt that the writer should be transparent so the story shines through. That's, to me, the important thing ;-)