Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A WRITER'S QUIZ: SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER

A WRITER'S QUIZ: SO YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER.

Do you have what it takes to be a fiction writer? Here's a true or false test to find out. Be brutally honest. The only person you will be cheating is yourself. Choose TRUE if the statement describes you or what you believe, FALSE if it does not.


1. I don't need to know grammar and spelling. That's the job of the editor. My job is to tell the story.


2. Most authors make lots of money. That's why I want to write.


3. I want things NOW. I'm just not a patient person.


4. Friends or family want to watch a movie you really want to see, but you haven't written your quota for the day. You stay at the computer and write.


5. If I don't write every day, I get grumpy or edgy.


6. There's one secret to writing a publishable story, and when I learn what it is, I'll succeed.


7. Criticism really hurts me. If someone criticizes my work, I feel like a failure.


8. If someone criticizes my work, I will change it immediately.


9. I love to read a certain kind of story, and that's what I want to write.


10. It's easy to write and sell a novel. All I will have to do is sit down and write it, then I will sell it.


BONUS POINTS QUESTION: I dream of stories to tell, or characters demand their stories be told, or I envision whole scenes, and I want to find out what happens next.



ANSWERS

1. FALSE Editors are busy people, and they don't have the time to correct simple mistakes. Simple mistakes usually indicate a poor writer, as well, and usually brings a fast rejection. WORTH 10 POINTS

2. FALSE Most authors are very poorly paid, expenses are high, and the time required is intense. The average writer can't support herself or her family on several books a year from a major publisher with good distribution. WORTH 10 POINTS

3. FALSE Publishing is an excruciatingly slow process. First you write the book, then you wait for months as you send out queries, more months for them to look at a portion of the manuscript, more months to look at the complete manuscript. And if they want to publish it, it will take a year or more to see print. WORTH 10 POINTS

4. TRUE You have to create writing time and that means you have to give up other things. You have to want to write, or you'll never succeed. WORTH 10 POINTS

5. TRUE Writing is an adrenaline addiction. WORTH 10 POINTS

6. FALSE There is no one secret to creating a publishable novel. There are, however, a few things you need to do. The first is sticking your rear in a chair in front of the computer with some consistency and writing. WORTH 10 POINTS

7. FALSE A tough skin must be standard equipment if you want to be a novelist. Every step along the way will be filled with criticism and rejection. The trick is to realize that they are talking about your work, NOT you. WORTH 10 POINTS

8. FALSE Writing isn't a project by committee. You know your work best so you must decide if a suggestion has value or not. The trick is determining what changes are part of learning craft and what changes force your voice or story in the wrong direction. WORTH 10 POINTS

9. TRUE You have to enjoy and read the types of stories you write. This gives you a good basis for knowing what works and what readers want.

Nothing is more obvious to a reader or an editor than a writer who doesn't read in her field. This is especially true in romance. A reader can spot someone who is writing for the money really fast. WORTH 10 POINTS

10. FALSE Writing is a craft that must be learned. You are as likely to have the natural skills to be a publishable writer as an amateur basketball player would have the skill to play professional NBA basketball.

The first novel rarely sells. Most published writers write several before they sell. Some can write up to a dozen novels before selling. WORTH 10 POINTS


Bonus Points Question: TRUE If this doesn't happen to you, you really aren't meant to be a fiction writer. All the other things above can be learned, but this can't. WORTH 100 POINTS




SCORES
0 to 99 A writing career isn't for you.
100-145 If you're willing to change and work hard, you can become a professional writer
145-190 Congratulations. You are completely insane and the perfect candidate for being a professional writer.


NOTE: Please pass along the link to this quiz rather than copying and pasting it into emails.

OBLIGATORY PROMO: To learn about Marilynn Byerly and her novels, go to http://marilynnbyerly.com.

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3 comments:

The Story Lady of Storyation.com said...

190 - yes I'm insane.
Now I do beg to differ on one score. I don't make a regular habit of blowing off my writing goals by any means, but there are times when an outing with friends and staying up late is better than banging the keys and missing the friend time.

The Story Lady

Deidre Knight said...

Great quiz, Marilyn! And so true.

Pee Wee said...

Enjoyed this quiz. 190 Insane - but I stumbled on number 5. That was a hard one for me. When my day is filled with "do's and dont's" I
forgive myself for not writing. However I never let it happen two days in a row. If I'm just goofing off, then yes, I do get frustrated with myself.

Your blog is interesting and educational.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

Sylvia (Pee Wee)

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