Poet, Memoir, Fiction Quiz

Poet, Memoir, Fiction Quiz

When we're just starting out down the writing path, we often don't know exactly what kind of story we want to tell. We start by looking at the books we love, and we tend to imitate those, but then we reach out and try other forms, learning to spread our wings a little. Sometimes, though, we're left looking at a fork in the road -- are we prose writers or poets? And within that, do we write fiction or nonfiction? If you're agonizing about whether you sing in poetry or prose, then fear not: we at Teen Ink have you covered. Try thinking hard about these questions to see what your true writing identity is!

  1. Two roads diverge in a yellow wood. Do you:
    1. Ponder a while and take the road less traveled by;
    2. Think this would make a great climax in your novel;
    3. Wonder if this is a dream, and what that says about your childhood?

  2. It's a dark and stormy night. Do you:
    1. Consider writing a gothic tale of horror and the macabre;
    2. Roll your eyes and think, "This is so cliché";
    3. Hide under the covers as you always have during storms, ever since The Incident?

  3. There's a beautiful passage of description in the book you're reading. Do you:
    1. Skim over it as fast as you can to get back to the characters doing stuff;
    2. Wonder what the main character is thinking right now, and what his backstory is;
    3. Delight in the sheer artistry of language?

  4. The ending of the book you're reading is ambiguous. Do you:
    1. Assume it's because the character's story, like real life, is always in the process of unfolding;
    2. Hurl the book across the room, then race to the internet to find if the guy died or not;
    3. Enjoy ambiguity and think it's all part of the metaphors going on?

  5. A song you've never heard is playing on the radio. Do you:
    1. Listen closely to the lyrics because you want to find out what happens to the characters;
    2. Listen closely to the lyrics because you want to understand the word choices;
    3. Listen closely to the lyrics because you're a writer, duh, and the lyrics are the most important part of any song?

Well, how'd you do? As you can probably figure out, there are no wrong answers here. But it might be interesting to give a little thought to how you think about language, narrative, and meaning. Does the world have meaning because you can shape it into the arc of a story? Does it have meaning because of beautiful language and metaphorical richness? Or does it have meaning because you're a human being who has lived and experienced and therefore gives it meaning?