|Barack Obama & Ilham Anas|
Do you know what a doppelganger is? I didn’t – that is, until an episode of How I Met Your Mother defined the word for me. According to American Heritage Dictionary, however, a doppelganger is “a ghostly double or counterpart of a living person.” It’s a person who looks almost exactly like you – you know, your “long, lost twin.”
|Tina Fey & Sarah Palin|
I get that all the time. Numerous times, I have had someone proclaim, “You look just like a girl I knew in college!” or “You look almost exactly like my third cousin!” Which is perennially weird for me because I don’t anyone who looks like me. (How many 5’3”, puny, dirty blonde females with small green eyes and large bumpy noses can there be out there?) Regardless, I don’t mind being compared to others. Or thinking that somewhere out there, my physical twin is roaming around and being greeted with, “You look just like this woman in Texas I met!”
What is interesting to me is wondering whether I’m anyone’s writing doppelganger. Does every author have a slightly unique style or flavor to their writing? Or do some people write exactly the same?
The “If you liked ___, then you’ll like ___” approach is built on the premise that authors are similar enough in topic or writing style that you can confidently recommend one based on the other. Some of my favorite classic authors are not so easily qualified. Who, for instance, writes exactly like Leo Tolstoy? Or Jane Austen? Or Agatha Christie? Do they have writing doppelgangers?
|Agatha Christie & __________|
Is it important even to be one of a kind? Most of the novels I pick up are not are impactful as Anna Karenina or Pride and Prejudice, but I enjoy them all the same. A recreational read over a weekend can be as deliciously delightful as an epic novel that requires a month to devour. So if this mystery by Author x reminds me of another mystery by Author Y, is that a big deal? Not really.
Do you know of some writing doppelgangers? That is, have you come across an author that almost seemed to channel another author in their writing? Did you like that or not? Do you compare your own writing to anyone else’s?