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Discover Your Writing Rank!

Take this quiz to learn where your strengths and weaknesses are as a fiction writer and what steps you need to take to succeed.

Quiz Questions

  • 1.
    Plot Structure
    • A.
      Rank One: I don’t know how to structure my story. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I know how to create a general structure where my protagonist seeks to achieve a goal over the course of my story, but my plot is frequently bogged down with side trails when I’m writing. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I create plot structures that follow standard guidelines, but my structures can feel forced or clumsy in their execution. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I create stories with solid and natural plot structures that generally hit the right beats at the right times. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I create natural plot structures that not only hit the right beats, but which move the story from one beat to the next in a deeply engaging way. I know when to stretch or even break traditional plot structures to achieve the best emotional impact possible. 
      (5 points)
  • 2.
    Pacing & Suspense
    • A.
      Rank One: I don’t know how to write stories that don’t bore the reader. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I write stories that have some interesting parts, but my stories tend to drag and are not paced well. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I create stories that are generally interesting, but I struggle to fix pacing problems and sagging sections. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I create interesting stories and know how to imbue them with a natural flow of suspense. I know how to keep people reading my story. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I know how to pace my stories so they naturally flow from beat to beat. Readers are highly engaged and find it difficult to put my stories down. I end chapters at suspenseful moments and ask suspenseful narrative questions on all levels of my story. 
      (5 points)
  • 3.
    Story Uniqueness
    • A.
      Rank One: The story ideas I have are derivative of other works and easily predictable. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: My stories are somewhat unique, but heavily borrow elements from other works. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: My stories are generally interesting, but lack real surprises. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I regularly craft interesting and unique stories with several plot developments that surprise readers. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I consistently write high-quality interesting and unique stories with a driven plot. My plot developments are not only surprising, but also necessary, fitting, and meaningful. I know how to take the best of a genre’s elements and hone in on its strengths without being clichéd. 
      (5 points)
  • 4.
    Protagonists
    • A.
      Rank One: I don’t know how to create interesting protagonists.
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I can give my protagonists some unique qualities and goals, but I struggle to avoid making them bland or unmemorable. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I know how to develop a great protagonist in theory, but struggle to portray that character effectively on the page. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I know how to create unique, fascinating, and somewhat compelling protagonists. However, my characters take a while to emotionally bond with readers and are not immediately gripping. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I regularly craft raw, gripping, and compelling protagonists. They immediately pull readers in and readers are alternately fascinated and enthralled. I know how to create characters who readers would follow wherever they went. 
      (5 points)
  • 5.
    Villains
    • A.
      Rank One: I don’t know how to avoid creating bland and clichéd villains. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I create villains who have a personality, but are rather stereotypical. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I know how to develop a great villain in theory, but struggle to write that villain effectively on the page. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I create unique and complex villains. I know how to challenge the protagonist with the villain in a way that makes the story interesting. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I regularly craft villains who are human, unique, and memorable. I make sure the villain not only challenges the protagonist, but is the best person possible to do so. I use villains to bring out the best in the hero and make sure my villains are fully realized characters who are both empathetic and undeniably flawed. 
      (5 points)
  • 6.
    Side Characters
    • A.
      Rank One: I don’t know how to write interesting side characters. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I craft side characters who have a couple unique aspects, but my side characters are rather forgettable. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I know how to craft unique side characters on paper, but in practice my side characters don’t feel fully human. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I know how to craft unique and interesting side characters who feel human and who are appropriately developed for their role in a story. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I regularly craft well-realized side characters who are not only appropriately human, but who also reveal various sides of the protagonist. My side characters are all necessary and unique, and they all have motivations and goals that clash with those of other characters. 
      (5 points)
  • 7.
    Theme Analysis
    • A.
      Rank One: I don’t know how to create a good moral focus for my story. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I try to give my stories a moral point, but struggle to avoid being preachy or cheesy. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I ask moral questions with my stories, but tend to ask questions that are either yes/no questions with only two answers, or that have an obvious answer. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I create fascinating, open-ended moral questions that focus on what it means to live well. I provide answers for these questions, but they tend to be answers that people already believe. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I not only create fascinating and difficult questions about what it means to live in a fallen world, but I explore these questions in my writing in broad and deep ways. I shy away from simple responses and seek profound answers for these important questions. 
      (5 points)
  • 8.
    Theme Practice
    • A.
      Rank One: I don’t know how to give my stories a moral focus. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I try to weave moral aspects into my stories by simply having myself or the characters directly explain the moral points of the story. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I use character arcs and important conversations to unpack the theme of my story and seek to show readers what I am trying to convey instead of preaching to them. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I create characters who embody different answers to the thematic questions I am asking and convey my message by giving those characters poetic justice for their actions. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I not only create characters who embody different answers to thematic questions, but I force them to make difficult choices that reveal their true nature. I use poetic justice by giving characters natural consequences to their life choices that powerfully reveals my moral point to readers. 
      (5 points)
  • 9.
    Prose
    • A.
      Rank One: I don’t worry about how my prose sounds. I simply write. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I want to write good prose and attempt to do so, but don’t know how to spot problems apart from simple spelling and grammar mistakes. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I know what strong prose looks like and attempt to revise my writing accordingly, but have trouble actually writing strong prose. My writing is often clunky, wordy, or basic. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I often write in active voice using vivid words and descriptions to add spice and liveliness to my prose. My personal writing voice is emerging, but not completely defined yet. While my work may not have obvious flaws, I still occasionally struggle with wordiness and/or mechanics. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I consistently write in fluid, vivid, and clear prose. I understand how to choose the right words to convey the effects and emotions I want my reader to experience, and I have a solid grasp of grammar. Most importantly, I have a mature and defined writing voice that is strong and unique. 
      (5 points)
  • 10.
    Show, Don't Tell
    • A.
      Rank One: I may have heard the saying “show, don’t tell” before, but I don’t know how to apply it to my writing. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I realize that I must not only avoid telling but show well too. I know not to use telling to convey my characters’ emotions and I have a basic understanding of how to show characters’ emotions. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I am beginning to understand that “show, don’t tell” applies to almost every sentence I write. I also know several techniques for showing that allow me to construct more emotionally engaging, vivid scenes. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I am comfortable with avoiding telling and using showing for scene and character descriptions, internal monologue, theme, emotions, intentions, action beats, etc. I know many techniques for showing and when to use which type for the best effect. I mostly write with these techniques in mind. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: “Show, don’t tell” has become a part of who I am. I consistently apply it to all aspects of writing and I know when I should actually tell something instead of showing it (and vice versa). I know the strengths and weaknesses of each technique and keep them in mind while I write. I am able to edit out 90% or more of the telling in my stories without any help from beta readers or editors. 
      (5 points)
  • 11.
    Setting
    • A.
      Rank One: I don’t describe settings much in writing. Settings don’t largely impact their respective scenes. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I seek to describe the settings my characters are in, but tend to only include basic descriptions. My characters occasionally interact with their environment, but not terribly often. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I seek to write effective descriptions that clearly explain where my characters are, but struggle to do so without info dumping. My characters rarely interact with the setting. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I choose settings that uniquely fit the situation my characters are in and describe them so the audience easily understands where my characters are. My characters often interact with their environment. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I intentionally choose settings that raise the stakes, deepen emotional vibes, and uniquely fit the characters’ situation. I describe them in natural and compelling ways so the audience not only understands what’s going on, but also experiences the vibes associated with that setting. My characters interact with their environment so much that the scene would be very different if the setting were altered. 
      (5 points)
  • 12.
    Genre Expectations
    • A.
      Rank One: I don’t think about a story’s genre when I write it. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I think about genre when writing a story and make sure I read several stories in a genre before writing it. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I read heavily in a genre before writing it and try to replicate what I see other successful authors in the genre doing. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I understand why readers love the genres I write and try to include those elements. I seek to capture the best parts of the genre while also adding my own unique spin. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I not only have an expert grasp on what readers love about the genres I write, but also understand what expectations readers have for those genres. I craft stories that not only meet those emotional expectations, but exceed them in powerful ways. 
      (5 points)
  • 13.
    Understanding a Reader's Perspective
    • A.
      Rank One: I don’t consider what a reader is experiencing when they read my story. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I occasionally think about a reader’s experience when writing and revising, but not on a consistent basis. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I strive to consider how a reader will approach my story, but either struggle to accurately predict their response or struggle to know how to use that in my writing. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I write with a reader’s expectations and experience in mind and tailor my story to that perspective. I often meet readers’ expectations to deliver the best experience possible. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I not only write with a reader’s expectations in mind, but I can predict those expectations, and I use that to choose story elements that create the best experience possible. I know how to either meet or subvert a reader’s expectations in powerful ways that create a thrilling experience. 
      (5 points)
  • 14.
    Revisions/Editing
    • A.
      Rank One: Once my story is down on paper, I’m done. I rarely revise my manuscripts beyond a few spelling/grammar corrections. 
      (1 points)
    • B.
      Rank Two: I often revise the stories I write, and I might ask friends or family members for input. However, I don’t make any major changes to the manuscript that require reworking large aspects of the story. 
      (2 points)
    • C.
      Rank Three: I revise and rewrite my story until I’m satisfied with it. However, I often have trouble figuring out what problems my writing has and how I can fix them. 
      (3 points)
    • D.
      Rank Four: I am generally able to spot problems in my writing and often know how to repair those problems. I recruit beta readers and critique partners to smooth out the kinks in my story, and I regularly rewrite or rework large sections of the book as necessary to tell the story I want to tell. 
      (4 points)
    • E.
      Rank Five: I consistently know when my writing is below quality and can revise my manuscript to raise it to the quality I want. I have high expectations for myself and am willing to do whatever a story needs to make it as great as it can be. I not only recruit beta readers and critique partners, but also know what type of feedback to look for and how to use it in my writing. If I am self-publishing my work, I hire a professional editor to polish my manuscript before sharing it with the public. 
      (5 points)

Quiz Outcomes

  • 1.
    0 to 22 points:
    Beginner
    You’re in the beginning stages of learning the writing craft. There’s a lot ahead of you, but you’re in the perfect place to start studying writing in an organized fashion. The first step to growth is knowing where you’re at—and now that you know that, it’s time to start thinking about how you can grow beyond where you are. We've got some resources specifically tailored for your writing rank that will help you grow. Click the link below to expedite your growth as a writer.
  • 2.
    23 to 35 points:
    Novice
    You are past the beginning stages of writing and are a novice writer currently learning the general theories of storytelling. While you still have a long journey ahead of you, the first steps are often the hardest to take. As long as you keep up the momentum, you should be an intermediate writer in no time. Now is the perfect time to hunt for some great writing books to take your craft to the next rank. We've got some resources specifically tailored for your writing rank that will help you grow. Click the link below to expedite your growth as a writer.
  • 3.
    36 to 48 points:
    Intermediate
    As an intermediate writer, you know a lot about writing and are learning how to put what you’ve learned into practice. You may be struggling to fully put what you know into practice as there is a gap between what you know about strong writing and what you're able to actually do. However, you’ve come a long way, and with hard work and perseverance you should be able to move to the next Rank. We've got some resources specifically tailored for your writing rank that will help you grow. Click the link below to expedite your growth as a writer.
  • 4.
    49 to 59 points:
    Advanced
    As an advanced writer, you largely have the theory of storytelling down. There may be some nuanced techniques to continue to learn, but at this point, it’s mostly a matter of learning how to put the theories you’ve learned into practice. You probably want to start working toward publication if you haven’t already. We've got some resources specifically tailored for your writing rank that will help you grow. Click the link below to expedite your growth as a writer.
  • 5.
    60 to 67 points:
    Expert
    You’re a seriously skilled writer at this point who has a solid grasp on everything you need to know. You aren’t perfect yet, and you still want to be trying to grow. But at this point it’s largely continued practice, and you're at the point where you should be investing a lot of time to get published (presuming you aren't published already). We've got some resources specifically tailored for your writing rank that will help you continue to grow. Click the link below to perfect your growth as a writer.
  • 6.
    68 to 70 points:
    Master
    You're a pro and should probably be winning awards for your published work or something. Seriously. There’s very little you have to learn at this point and not many places to grow—just the practice of putting out high-quality novels on a consistent basis. We've got some resources specifically tailored for your writing rank that will help you grow. Click the link below to continue to perfect your growth as a writer.