The Writing Life Test | Mid-Book Test - Medium

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This test consists of 5 multiple choice questions, 5 short answer questions, and 10 short essay questions.

Multiple Choice Questions

1. How long did it take William Faulkner to write "As I Lay Dying"?
(a) Ten years.
(b) Six weeks.
(c) Six months.
(d) Six years.

2. What book was Dillard working on in Roanoke, Virginia?
(a) Pilgrim at Tinker Creek.
(b) Living by Fiction.
(c) An American Childhood.
(d) Holy the Firm.

3. What does Dillard's "line of words" do with random pictures in the writer's mind?
(a) Dreams of them.
(b) Dissects them out.
(c) Writes them down, word for word.
(d) Dismisses them.

4. According to Dillard, how do painters work as opposed to writers?
(a) Painters work on a blank canvas, writers on a computer.
(b) Painters work with their hands, writers with their heads.
(c) Painters work with color, writers with black and white.
(d) Painters work from the ground up, writers from left to right.

5. Dillard refers to writing as changing "..from an expression of your notions to an epistemological tool." What does epistemological mean?
(a) Greek knowledge.
(b) Surgical incision of the perineum during childbirth.
(c) A philosophy concerned with the nature and origin of knowledge.
(d) Bacterial DNA that is extrachromosomal.

Short Answer Questions

1. To what does Dillard compare writing a book?

2. Who is the Danish aristocrat mentioned in Chapter 2?

3. Who once said, "Which is the work in which he hasn't surrendered, under dire difficulty, the best thing he meant to have kept"?

4. What does Dillard say that she makes a pen drawing of in Chapter 2?

5. When Dillard once wrote in a cinder-block cell, what scene did it overlook?

Short Essay Questions

1. How does Dillard describe the way in which a writer might start the process of writing a book?

2. In Chapter 1, what does Dillard say she thinks of as the usual reasons for an author getting stuck in a book?

3. How does Dillard describe the line of words as being one's own heart?

4. Dillard vows to remember her difficulties writing in Roanoke, Virginia. Why is this ironic?

5. When Dillard was working in the library at night, how did she find her way around in the dark?

6. Why did a ritual slaughterer bid goodbye to his wife and children every morning as if it were his last, in Chapter 1?

7. What decision did Dillard make to finally shut herself off from all distractions at the library carrel?

8. What is the meaning of Thoreau's note that "The youth gets together his materials to build a bridge to the moon, or perchance a palace or temple on the earth, and at length the middle-aged man concludes to build a wood-shed with them"?

9. What is the most appealing schedule that Dillard says she knows?

10. Why does Dillard feel that an appealing workplace for a writer should be avoided?

(see the answer keys)

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