Bird by Bird Test | Mid-Book Test - Easy

Anne Lamott
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This test consists of 15 multiple choice questions and 5 short answer questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. When writing towards a scene, why may you find it is all wrong when you finish it?
(a) Because your subject matter expert finally called you back to talk about set design.
(b) Because the wind is blowing from the west now.
(c) Because of what you have learned about your characters along the way.
(d) Because your editor said it was wrong.

2. How does Anne define clutter?
(a) Makes her hold her breath.
(b) Wonderfully fertile ground.
(c) Easier to deal with if you put in specific piles.
(d) Something to be swept under the rug.

3. What is Ethan Canin's idea of the most valuable thing about writing?
(a) A likeable narrator.
(b) A strong plot.
(c) Using a sanserif font.
(d) Good dialog.

4. According to Anne, what is one thing that can make a book very tiring to read?
(a) Dialogue written in dialect.
(b) Dialogue written without any dialect.
(c) Serif font.
(d) Dr. Suess.

5. What does the image of putting an octopus to bed describe?
(a) Solving problems in a final draft.
(b) Exactly what it says, putting an octopus to bed.
(c) Putting the nursing home residents to bed.
(d) Making all the voices quiet.

6. What does Anne warn about doing with your characters?
(a) Placing them in an improper set.
(b) Getting them to do something because it is convenient to the plot.
(c) Letting them speak in dialect.
(d) Giving them only one page of description.

7. When Anne is participating in the school lunch writing assignment, what does she say about hers?
(a) Her father always made the perfect sandwiches.
(b) It was really about opening our insides in front of everyone. Just like writing.
(c) Homemade bread was something to be proud of.
(d) All the kids wanted to trade for her tuna salad.

8. What is a plot treatment?
(a) A road map of the beginning and end of a chapter, and how the end grows into the following chapter.
(b) It treats the false starts in a book.
(c) It is something done by a big plotting machine.
(d) A treatment of the dialog in the book.

9. What is a recurring problem that Anne sees in her students?
(a) They really want to be published, and kind of want to write.
(b) They are too busy writing to listen to her class.
(c) They are bad spellers.
(d) They do not have good agents.

10. What is the way to hold a reader's attention?
(a) Pictures.
(b) Dialogue.
(c) Drama.
(d) Good plots.

11. What is Anne's first suggestion about writing dialogue?
(a) Read your words out loud.
(b) Always write in dialect.
(c) Secretly record your friends talking and use their words exactly, without asking permission.
(d) Copy conversations you hear in public.

12. How else does Anne say you might you know you are done?
(a) Your editor tells you that you are done.
(b) You have done the best you can do, and have no more to give.
(c) The plot has come together beautifully.
(d) Your check arrives in the mail.

13. What advice did Anne's father give her brother when he was overwhelmed at writing a report on birds?
(a) "Take pictures of the birds in Bolinas."
(b) "Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."
(c) "Woody Woodpecker is a great bird to write about."
(d) "Only write about California birds this time."

14. How does a writer end up with a good second draft or a terrific third draft?
(a) By getting a good agent.
(b) By hiring an excellent editor.
(c) By drinking lots of wine.
(d) By writing a bad first draft.

15. How does knowledge of your characters emerge, according to Anne?
(a) Quickly and easily.
(b) Like a Polaroid, it takes time to know them.
(c) Like a sunrise, full of beauty and splendor.
(d) Characters come after you finish a good outline.

Short Answer Questions

1. What was Vonnegut's comment on writing?

2. What are great language tools that explain the unknown in terms of the known to the reader?

3. What does Anne tell her students the reason to write is?

4. According to Anne, what is the way to "nail" a character?

5. Where does plot grow from?

(see the answer keys)

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