Blog How to Use ProWritingAid How Does Your Writing Compare to J.R.R. Tolkien's?

How Does Your Writing Compare to J.R.R. Tolkien's?

Compare Your Writing

We all have our writing heroes. C.S. Lewis, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood - the writers we read all help shape us.

But how much have they shaped your writing?

ProWritingAid have just released a shiny new Summary report. It has loads of great features, from helping you set and monitor your writing goals to new and improved graphics and visualisations to help you get to know your writing better.

Today we're looking at Author Comparisons.

  1. What Are Author Comparisons?
  2. Setting Up Author Comparisons on ProWritingAid
  3. How To Use ProWritingAid's Author Comparison
  4. How Comparing Your Writing Makes You a Better Writer
  5. Final Thoughts

What Are Author Comparisons?

ProWritingAid's author comparisons feature allows you to select your favorite author and compare their writing to yours in the following areas:

  • Emotional Tells
  • Bad adverbs
  • Sentence Length Variety
  • Sentence Structure
  • -ing Starts
  • Dialogue Tags
  • Dialogue Tags with Adverbs

You'll be able to see how your writing compares in these areas to the average for your chosen genre and your favorite author.

compare dialogue tags

Setting Up Author Comparisons on ProWritingAid

You can set your chosen author by going to your settings page.

Author Comparisons

Scroll down to the bottom, and then use the dropdown menu to select from a list of over 40 authors.

ProWritingAid has stats for each author based on their published works. These will appear alongside the stats for your writing when you click on the Summary Report.

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How To Use ProWritingAid's Author Comparison

To see how your writing shapes up compared to your chosen author, you'll need to generate a Summary Report.

Summary Report Author Comparison

You can then see how your writing compares through graphs and visualisations.

How Comparing Your Writing Makes You a Better Writer

Most of the time, the age old advice to 'never compare yourself to others' rings true. The same goes for writing - your novel is your own. It's unique, and you don't want it to sound the same as everyone else's.

So why compare?

Let's say you're writing fantasy. Chances are you have a solid grasp of the conventions of the genre. You've read all the big works, you've done your research. You might have all of the elements of a good fantasy novel in your manuscript, but your writing still feels... off.

Sometimes these problems aren't with the overall arc of your story, but at sentence level. Comparing your writing to an author in your genre helps you experiment with different areas of your writing until it feels right. After all, who better to learn from than the masters?

compare sentence lengths

We're not saying you need to match Tolkien's sentence lengths to write a good fantasy novel, or have the same proportion of unusual dialogue tags as John Grisham to write a great thriller. But having an idea of the techniques these authors use can help you move your writing in the right direction.

Final Thoughts

Your writing is your own - but that doesn't mean you can't take inspiration from the greats. Find out how your writing shapes up with a free ProWritingAid account:

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Libby Bushill

Libby Bushill

ProWritingAid's Lifecycle Marketer

About Libby

Libby is ProWritingAid’s Lifecycle Marketer. When she’s not dreaming up our writing tips newsletters, she loves yoga, spending time outdoors, and trying new recipes.

Writing Experience

You’ll find Libby’s work on all things writing and grammar across the internet on writing blogs.


After studying English Literature at University, she is living her dream working with words every day.

Published Works

Libby co-edited of The University of Reading’s A Room of Our Own project.

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I find that some of the 'Your Favourite Author for Comparison' do not work, Arthur C Clarke, James Patterson and others. I cannot find out any reason why this happens.
Thanks for reaching out to let us know! If you continue to experience this issue, please shoot us an email to and we can investigate the issue further!
LOVE this feature. Is there a way to request Lois McMaster Bujold as a comparison author?
I must admit that it is my favourite feature too! We currently have a large number of comparison authors, so we are not accepting suggestions at the moment. However, we may in the future, and if we do, we will let the whole PWA community know.
Please consider adding Thomas McGuane to your list of Comparison Authors. I like his style in that his protagonists seem to relate the world most of us live in while those of Steven King, for instance, seem to be actors standing on a stage of horrible events, Or Fantasy, or Murder. McGuane’s appear on the stage of Life. Thank you for your attention, Corky.
Thank you for the suggestion Corky. I will Thomas McGuane to our ever-growing list of possible comparison authors.

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