On Writing Well Test | Mid-Book Test - Easy

William Zinsser
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This test consists of 15 multiple choice questions and 5 short answer questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. Who is the author talking to at the beginning of the book?
(a) He is presenting to student writers at a Connecticut school.
(b) He is talking with his editor.
(c) He is talking to his wife.
(d) He is talking to his mother.

2. What is Zissner's point of view on the debate between literature and journalism?
(a) He agrees that literature is the only true form of good writing.
(b) He agrees that journalism is bad writing.
(c) He believes it doesn't matter, and that good writing is good writing.
(d) He wants to go back to the pre-WWII form of writing.

3. What should every paragraph end with?
(a) Every paragraph should end with a period.
(b) Every paragraph needs to have a hook or a cliffhanger that will lead the reader into the next paragraph.
(c) All paragraphs should repeat the first sentence.
(d) All paragraphs should end with a summary of the entire paragraph.

4. What is one task that a good writer constantly does?
(a) Participates in writing workshops.
(b) Reads contemporary and classic works of other writers.
(c) Sends manuscripts out like crazy.
(d) Takes writing classes often.

5. What gives nonfiction books life?
(a) Humanity and warmth.
(b) Pure hard facts.
(c) The cover of the book.
(d) White lies that sell certain facts.

6. What could cause a writer to write unclear?
(a) Not knowing what they want to say.
(b) Not having enough experience.
(c) Not taking any writing classes.
(d) Not having brainstormed enough.

7. What happens when a writer writes in unclear ways?
(a) Their writing doesn't make sense.
(b) They lose the interest of the reader.
(c) They don't get published.
(d) Their book gets tagged as abstract literature and nobody ever reads it.

8. What is a common problem writers have?
(a) Writing too little.
(b) Not writing at the same time every day.
(c) Starting at the true beginning.
(d) Writing too much at first.

9. What is a dash useful for?
(a) Dashes are good to connect complex sentences.
(b) Dashes are good to separate thoughts.
(c) Dashes are good in place of exclamations.
(d) Dashes act as pointers to a point and to set off parenthetical statementes.

10. Why is consistency in verb tense so important?
(a) It is important so that verbs don't get confused with nouns.
(b) It is important for slower readers to follow along.
(c) Very tense consistency is important so that the reader does not become lost in the timing of events.
(d) It is important for the development of characters, and to set up a plot.

11. Who do authors please first with their writing?
(a) Family members.
(b) Themselves.
(c) Editors.
(d) Readers.

12. Who is rivaling everything that Zissner is saying?
(a) A student in the audience.
(b) Another writer.
(c) The professor of the class.
(d) A doctor who writes for a hobby.

13. What does reading aloud do for the writer?
(a) It helps the writer compare their work to others.
(b) Catches simple mistakes and clumsy constructions.
(c) It is a therapeutic process signifying the end of a story.
(d) It allows writers to understand their own writing.

14. Why is it important to narrow down a nonfiction piece?
(a) It isn't important. People just want to look at pictures anyways.
(b) Articles should not drain the writer and reader. Focusing on a corner is better than redefining an entire room.
(c) One person cannot write an article about every aspect of something. That is what books are for.
(d) It isn't that important. It just sells better to magazines to be focused.

15. Why is the above a problem?
(a) Writers end up editing too much.
(b) Usually the first two or three paragraphs of a piece can be cut.
(c) Writers don't put enough effort into their writing.
(d) Writers need to start at the end and work their way up.

Short Answer Questions

1. What attitude should writers embrace towards their editors?

2. Can a writer's style be affected to the reader?

3. What are the best aspects of a good story?

4. Why is nonfiction more popular than fiction?

5. What does Zissner use to highlight clutter in his students' writing?

(see the answer keys)

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