Bird by Bird Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

Anne Lamott
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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What is Anne's response when her students ask her for the best writing advice?

2. What is the way to hold a reader's attention?

3. What does Anne say writers want to happen to a reader as they read about a character?

4. What does Anne's friend tell her that we and our characters have to work within?

5. Ten days before Pammy died, she went shopping with Anne. On this excursion Anne figured out what Pammy's essence was. What was it?

Short Essay Questions

1. What does Anne suggest can help when you sit down to write dialogue?

2. When Anne's students tell her they do not know where to start, she tells them to start with their childhood. How is this helpful?

3. Readers need a sense that an important character, such as a narrator, is reliable. How does Anne suggest that writers accomplish this?

4. How does Anne suggest writing about school lunches be beneficial for a writer?

5. When Anne was writing food reviews, how did allowing herself to write bad first drafts help her?

6. What does Anne suggest doing with the feeling of paranoia?

7. Another of Anne's stories stems from the movie Stripes. The line is "Hey, lighten up Francis." How is this story helpful to her students?

8. According to Anne, how are we able to see the underlying essence of a person?

9. How does Anne suggest we can free ourselves from perfectionism?

10. How did having a mother and father who read, and a father who was a writer, affect Anne's life?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Anne starts off the last chapter by again encouraging her students to write about their childhood. Why does she place so much emphasis on writing about your childhood? How did we look at the world when we were children? What do you have to gain emotionally from writing about your childhood? What do you have to gain for your future work?

Essay Topic 2

Why is publication so important so some writers? Do you think these people will ever see writing its own reward? Why or why not?

Essay Topic 3

Anne likens the process of writing a first draft to a Polaroid picture developing. Compare and contrast the two.

(see the answer keys)

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