A Writer’s Entrance Exam

Say you wanted to enroll in studies at a respected educational institution—let’s call it Wisenheimer Academy for Clever Kids. You might expect to take an entrance exam to determine your degree of fitness for WACK, right? Just as you would to begin training for ministry, law enforcement, or interplanetary space travel.

Oddly, though, there is no entrance exam for writers. Until now.

That’s right. Thanks to this website, you can, with a modest investment of time and effort, determine your fitness to pursue the writing life. The following questions may reinforce your confidence in writing for publication–or save you much time and trouble by steering you away and into an easier, more rewarding line of work, such as lumberjack or Alaskan crab fisherperson.

Simply answer yes or no to the following questions, and calculate the results when you’re done:

  1. Do you love words? Sentences? Paragraphs?
  2. Do you have a favorite punctuation mark?
  3. Do you drink too much coffee? Or tea? Or wine?
  4. Are you constantly feeling assaulted by spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors in magazines, newspapers, billboards, cereal boxes, and protest signs?
  5. Do you talk back to the television or movie screen to complain about poor characterization, unrealistic dialogue, and plot holes?
  6. Do you sometimes imagine story lines for strangers you see in stores, on the street, or on planes?
  7. Do you sometimes think, in the midst of a great or terrible experience, “I can use this?”
  8. Do you feel a rush when you enter a bookstore or office supply store?
  9. Do you critique birthday, Christmas, and anniversary cards you receive, thinking, I could’ve written a better greeting than that?
  10. Do you lose track of time when you’re on a writing tear?
  11. Does your Amazon delivery driver know your name?
  12. Does a word or idea often keep you awake—or wake you—at night?
  13. Have you cried because of something a character in your story did?
  14. Have you ever used toilet paper or a cash-register receipt as a bookmark?
  15. When you’re writing, do you alternate between “This is the best thing anyone’s ever written” and “This is the worst thing anyone’s ever written?”
  16. Have you ever named a pet after a character in literature?
  17. Have you ever named a child after a character in literature?
  18. Do family members refuse to play with you in Scrabble?
  19. Do you resent your parents for giving you a happy childhood?
  20. Have you ever used laundry, dirty dishes, or alphabetizing your canned goods as a distraction from writing?

Now, total your “yes” answers. How did you do?

5 or less = What kind of monster are you?

6-10 = You’re a writer.

11-15 = You should be in therapy.

16-20 = Forget therapy; it’s too late for you.

23 Responses to A Writer’s Entrance Exam

  1. Lee Wimmer March 17, 2022 at 5:10 am #

    I love it! Lol, I have often wondered why I was author material

  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser March 17, 2022 at 5:15 am #

    My Labrador’s named Labby,
    red heeler is called Red,
    bookshelves sag, look flabby;
    there are books upon the bed.
    It has been, well, donkey’s years
    since I have seen a movie;
    too many books, and poor Barb fears
    my fav’rite word is groovy.
    I sing her songs, the words a-change
    and meaning’s pitch is queered;
    at times she things I am deranged,
    at times she thinks, just weird,
    so more boxed wine, get a bit tighter,
    and I’ll PROVE I am a writer!

  3. Michael March 17, 2022 at 5:21 am #

    That was fun! Funny things is – I’m already in therapy. I’m a therapist!

  4. Ginny Graham March 17, 2022 at 5:52 am #

    How did you know? How do you know so much about me? Your test is awesome. Especially liked “Have you cried because of something a character in your story did?” Yes!

  5. Deena Adams March 17, 2022 at 5:58 am #

    Thanks for the laugh this morning. LOL. I’m thrilled to know I won’t have to resort to becoming a lumberjack or Alaskan crab fisherperson. .

  6. Deborah Raney March 17, 2022 at 6:17 am #

    If only I’d named a pet after a literary character, I would have a perfect score! If you’ll let me count the fact that I named a dog in one of my series Huckleberry after Huck Finn, then I nailed it!

  7. Roberta Sarver March 17, 2022 at 7:46 am #

    Loved this exam. Yes, I qualify as a writer. I function as a square peg in a round hole.

  8. Warren March 17, 2022 at 8:09 am #

    But, but, but I came from being a lumberjack.

  9. Kristen Joy Wilks March 17, 2022 at 8:43 am #

    Ha ha! I sure love office supply stores, but I’m terrible at Scrabble.

  10. Carol Ashby March 17, 2022 at 8:55 am #

    Great list! Number 7 applies. When we started to roll our pickup when it fishtailed and slid off a iced-over road in TX, my elbow whacked something really hard, raising a bump that was about 3/4 inches tall in less than a minute. I took notes for several days on how that injury reacted and how long it took for the bump and its massive bruise to go through the different colors and finally disappear. If anyone needs that info, contact me. I wouldn’t recommend doing the experiment on yourself.

    The male characters in my Roman-era stories do tend to get injured, and it’s hard to find detailed info online about how some things heal.

    I ask friends who might have info, too. When I had a horse roll on a character and break his femur, I thought he might hear the bone snap. I asked a friend who’d had that happen, and he said he did hear it.

  11. Gordon Palmer March 17, 2022 at 8:56 am #

    Ha. That oddly gave me confidence. Should I be concerned?

  12. Georgia Francis March 17, 2022 at 9:48 am #

    Awesome!

    #3, #4, #11, and #13 pretty well sums it up.

    Thank you, loved the entire list.

  13. Carol Buchanan March 17, 2022 at 11:00 am #

    Oh, good! It’s so nice to have validation. I’ve thrown away all the therapists’ phone numbers I’ve collected, and used my 17 score to relax. You’ve saved me a ton of money because therapists’ fees would be ill spent. It’s too late for me, thank goodness.
    I guess I’ll just keep writing. 😀
    Carol

  14. Tonya Wellington March 17, 2022 at 1:25 pm #

    Love love love this! Soooo true, every one!

  15. Darla Grieco March 17, 2022 at 2:14 pm #

    Ha! I was sure it was too late for me, but it looks like I’ll need to head back to therapy. Where did I put that business card?

    (There is no doubt in my mind that it has become a bookmark. 😂)

  16. Andrea Herzer March 17, 2022 at 4:29 pm #

    Number 15 made me LOL. Thank you for this!❤️

  17. Jody Evans March 17, 2022 at 10:02 pm #

    Whew! 15. What a relief that it’s not too late for therapy!
    I love your brand of humor, Bob Hostetler!

    I look forward to hearing you speak at Mount Hermon next week, too.

  18. Diana Derringer March 18, 2022 at 7:06 am #

    I’ve used this basic outline for memes and articles on “You Might Be a Writer If”

    • You get out of bed in the middle of the night to jot ideas in the dark.
    • You stuff extra notepads and pens in your backpack, pockets, or tote before vacations or weekend getaways.
    • You see every landscape, season, person, and activity as a potential story.
    • Your fireproof file cabinet holds as many writing folders as photo albums from pre-digital camera days.
    • You text with proper grammar and complete words and sentences.
    • You edit personal emails and private messages.
    • You can find The Christian Writer’s Market Guide faster than your phone.
    • You notice editing errors in everything from newspapers to novels.
    • You spend an entire day worrying over that one word just beyond your grasp.

  19. Sheri Parmelee March 18, 2022 at 12:18 pm #

    It’s too late for therapy, I suppose…..

  20. Cindy March 18, 2022 at 1:28 pm #

    Thanks for the smiles. I really enjoyed this, but it’s definitely too late for me. FYI, my cat’s name is Mr. Darcy. Lol.

  21. Joyce Cordell March 26, 2022 at 1:11 pm #

    I chuckled at the truth about many of these, 15 out of 20, in fact!

  22. Peggy Lovelace Ellis March 30, 2022 at 10:17 am #

    Oh, dear! You’ve been peeking in my windows!

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