Crucial Quiz Questions

I started at QuizQuizQuiz in 2006, having been hired to be a quiz master and a quiz question writer. Not surprisingly, it was my first professional quizzing job (are there many professional quiz jobs?). I hadn’t written huge numbers of quiz questions before, and, consequently, I had an awful lot of questions bursting to get out of me.

I’d write quiz questions for our two weekly pub quizzes, I’d write special questions for corporate quiz nights, and I’d write them for all manner of quiz writing projects. I’d create the questions, they’d be used, and I wouldn’t worry all that much about it.

We did, of course, keep a question database of our pub quizzes, but I certainly wouldn’t remember any good ones I’d written from week to week. I think it’s pretty likely there are quite a lot of really good pub quiz questions I wrote in those first years which are lost  in cyberspace or in some external hard drive, either in the depths of the quiz database or elsewhere. Even worse, I’m quite sure there are many good questions that crossed my mind, I thought about noting down, then didn’t. No matter, I’d write more.

And I did, I hope. And I don’t think there is a finite number of quiz questions in me. Things will keep happening in the world, so there will still be good questions to be written. But what I will say is that I feel more keenly how rare and important really good quiz questions are, and so I try not to let any pass me by. I not only make a note of any good idea for a question I hear, I make sure I put every question I either write or edit, whether it is ideal for a pub quiz, corporate quiz or multiple choice format, into an easily accessible database. I don’t want to lose a single question. You never know when it might prove useful.

If you’re a quiz question writer, how do you keep a record of everything you’ve written?

And do you make a note when a good idea for a question comes into your head?

1 reply
  1. QuizWriter
    QuizWriter says:

    I keep them in the files that I write them in, then copy, paste and send them where they need to go. So they’re all horded on my PC, while I also make sure I attach the files to emails which I then send myself on a regular, maybe fortnightly basis, thereby keeping them in the ‘cloud’, updated and safe-ish from computer death. Obviously, the files – different horses for different courses – often contain 1000s of questions. I would hate to just write my questions then chuck ’em in a metaphorical, yet deep and dark well, never to see them again, and forgetting that I could well be repeating myself again and again. Which has happened, with two or three facts I subconsciously hold close to my heart. But the more I write, the more I want to keep them in one place where I can look upon them in their numerous might. Also, I now check my old Qs rigorously to make sure repeats don’t happen. After all, you should never write the same question twice, unless you’re bone-idle and think you can get away with it. At the end of the day, if you don’t really know what you’ve written, you could be doing a sucky job without realising it. You’ll also be a better question writer if you intimately know your past work, because, Goodness Gracious Me, when I I look back at the stuff I first wrote, I think it’s a bit crappy and clunky and bland – or at least, compared to the stuff I’m producing now. You should have developed better instincts for spotting interesting trivia titbits, now you’ve been in question-writer mode for quite some time. Because how do you know you’re getting better if you’ve got no real idea what you doing this time last year, let alone two or even five years gone?


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