Linda G. Hill

Life in progress

An Imitation Game

58 Comments

I was reading some of The Daily Post entries today, as I sometimes do, and a good number of them refused to play along with the prompt. Today’s prompt was this: Write a post about anything you’d like — in the style of your favorite blogger. (Be sure to link to them!)

I’m not sure if the participating (and I use that word loosely) posts I read were a good cross section of all of them (I perused about 15% of them) but a great majority of those I read said they didn’t want to imitate anyone, for various reasons. Some simply ignored the prompt and linked anyway, some said they couldn’t find a favourite, and some said they were too happy with their own writing “voice” to be bothered. One even thought it was creepy.

The whole thing reminded me of my high school drama class. We were given an assignment and had a few days to research it before we were to come back to class and demonstrate what we’d discovered. The assignment was to observe the way different people walk and imitate them. Not really a difficult thing to do, and yet no one in the class would do it. We all stated that it was too uncomfortable – we felt like we were making fun of people. I don’t remember if I refused to do it on those grounds or if I was too self-conscious to be the only one who did do it.

It seems strange to me in the blogosphere that people wouldn’t participate in such a thing as an imitation game. Is it really that hard to mimic another writer’s style? Is it that distasteful?

Would you do it?

Author: LindaGHill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

58 thoughts on “An Imitation Game

  1. Oh yeah, I’d do it, certainly. The only trouble is, I would most likely not be able to restrain myself from taking the piss, and that would probably offend the subject of said piss-taking.

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  2. Interesting. Not sure I could do this as a writer, but as an artist, we were asked to do this in college all the time. I could easily imitate someone’s artistic style any day of the week!

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    • That’s fascinating, Dean. I would think it takes a fair bit of practice though, to imitate an artistic style. I wonder how it compares to writing in terms of how the brain functions… Something to look into!
      Thanks for this! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I imitate everyone. Everyone’s style influences me. So I try to only follow the writers I like best on WordPress–after all, it’s a good idea to avoid bad influences.

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  4. I wouldn’t have a problem doing it per se, I’d probably see it as a challenge and enjoy it. I would though make sure to ask the blogger I’d planned on imitating if they’d be okay with it. I wouldn’t want to offend anybody, and people can be extremely possessive of their styles (including myself, sometimes), especially if they write about specific topics.

    If someone were to imitate me, I’d imagine I’d find it highly entertaining. Even more so if it was done badly, I think. I’m not sure how some of my readers would react to it though. In the past a couple of them have actually linked me to blogs and articles that they feel have tried to emulate my style and ideas to an extreme degree.

    Very interesting question, Linda!

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    • I’d be flattered if someone tried to emulate me… even if they did poorly at it. It’s more a confidence issue on the part of the imitator I think, than the reaction of many people to it.
      Thanks for your thought-provoking comment, V. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I wouldn’t try to imitate someone else’s style because it’s not in my skill set. I write more formally than most people and have difficulty writing more colloquially.

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  6. There is no way I could imitate any of my blogger friends I could not pick a favourite because everyone is individual. It is hard enough to find my own style. Mind you my dad always said imitate is a compliant. Yet at school I was taught not to copy… Mixed messages. As it is I didn’t see the prompt so I was spared the dilemma. xxx

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    • It certainly is hard to choose a favourite, isn’t it? And yes, they do say imitation is the highest form of flattery… funny how many people are afraid to attempt flattery…

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  7. Great post, Linda! that prompt would have turned me off too for many reasons, embarassing a person by not writing well, and how can I choose a favourite when I have several…nah, it sounds like your high school project…your class was awesome to not do it too:)

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  8. The reason I chose not to participate is because I didn’t want to make a mess of it and embarrass myself and the person I was imitating.

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  9. Linda, I can barely write in my own style, lol! But your post reminded me of when I was a teen and we all *loved* to imitate each other and those around us. It was all in good fun. My teens can do an on-the-nose imitation of me…pretty scary stuff 😉

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  10. Hi. I actually looked at the DP yesterday and was going to have a go (for the first time). However, when I saw that we had to write in the style of someone’s blog we admired it put me off for a number of reasons. I am not that talented that I can totally change my writing style. I would be worried that I might not do the blog I am imitating justice, and therefore offending someone!

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  11. I think that we try to do our best and show each other mutual respect Linda. This could easy be destroyed because even we can have a positive intention, it could be read in a different way.

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  12. I have been reading several bloggers’ posts about the disappointing DPs lately. I would not know how to imitate another writer.

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    • I haven’t been reading the DPs long enough to be able to compare. Sad to hear they’re going downhill.
      I imitate style far too easily – in fact my own writing changes quite a bit depending on who I’m reading at the time. For instance, I tend towards minutiae and similes when I’m reading Stephen King, but I get more overly descriptive when reading J.K. Rowling.
      In other words I suppose I’m very easily influenced.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Walking like someone else or talking like someone else…well, yeah, I can see that. But writing like someone else? Why? WordPress teaches us to find our own writing “voice” (and I’m still not sure I comprehend what that means), and now they’re asking us to imitate another blogger’s writing style or voice? To what end? I’ll pass.

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    • Quite notably, I might add. I was waiting to see if you’d do it.
      You do have a very definite writing voice, Doob. In fact you’re one of the ones who I could pick out in a crowd of anonymous writers. I’m sure of it. And so what’s wrong with stepping out of the box for just one prompt? For fun… as an experiment to see if you can… to that end.

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      • Well, two comments. First, you make me sound very predictable, meaning I probably need to shake things up a bit. Second, I’m very deliberate in the way I write, so every time I participate in one of your Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompts, which is most of the time, I am stepping out of the box — for me. I have to admit that the SoCS prompts have been fun for me because I am doing something different, but I just don’t know if would even know how to write something in someone else’s style.

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        • Shaking things up a bit wouldn’t change the way you write unless you started writing in another language. Content aside, you are who you are. You write in your own voice and there’s nothing you can do about that… unless you consciously try. And it’s hard work!!
          Have you ever had a real conversation with someone you usually message with on the internet, or visa versa? Even in these comments for instance… If you heard me on the phone, you’d recognize my speech patterns from my writing. THAT’s what writing “voice” is. It’s as indelible as your vocal chords are to your speech. And it’s a huge part of your style as well.
          I feel like I just went on a rant. haha. I hope it didn’t come out that way. Too tired to re-read my comment.
          Hey look! It’s morning already!
          G’night. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

  14. I would imitate your style if I could, Linda. Sadly, I can’t imitate awesome. =(

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  15. I think it had a lot of potential of going very wrong, unintentionally. I follow a lot of blogs and people certainly have their own styles, but nothing so obvious as a Tom Robbins. So you could do it well and people still wouldn’t get it. You could do it badly and offend people. You could do it well and offend people. So, once again this was a Daily Prompt that left me writing something not prompted by WP.

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    • You do have a point – the subtleties of style do lend themselves to not being noticeable. I do believe it’s possible to do it well and at the same time not offend anyone.
      Thanks for your comment. 🙂

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      • Oh, absolutely it could be done well and be a great deal of fun and not offensive. But for me (and I suspect others), the likelihood of it going the other way outweighed the positive. (Plus its a lot of work. 😀 )

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