Question Writing Questions

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Kimahri
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Question Writing Questions

Post by Purity Control » Mon Apr 21, 2008 1:35 pm

So basically, me being a Junior in HS this year, I'm really seeking to improve my game even more. So I've decided to write questions as practice.

Going into my senior year, Im thinking it would be a great idea to sell these packets for the purpose of funds, and I would be curious to the process of doing so. However I am unfamiar with the process of getting questions sold, so here are my questions.

Do I have to file taxes or anything?
Is "mirroring" a tournament on the same day a real pain? Would this be annoying for the Question Writer?
What steps should I take to catch interest in my product?
What major concerns should i keep in mind while producing questions, and trying to sell them?

This is in the hypothetical stage right now, and nothing is set in stone, but i just wanted to see what murkish waters im stepping my feet into. In terms of question-writing mechanics, i know what to avoid (wikiplagiarizing, :chip:ing around, transparency) and what to use (pyrimidality, etc). These questions are posed to see what i must go through once writing and editing and the questions.

If anyone really wants to know, it would be simple Tu/B most likely, with powers. I am thinking about implementing a system of "staggered powers" where an early buzz is 20, and a later buzz, but still early is 15, and the rest of the way is 10. The distribution would lean away from Trash, with a frequency of 1/22 most likely.

Again this is hypothetical and would I like information more on the process more than anything.
Thank You.

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Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
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Re: Question Writing Questions

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:25 pm

Rule of quizbowl: Nobody makes money off of quizbowl.

On that note, why not just write questions for a tournament for your school to host instead of just selling packets. If you write more questions, I'd recommend submitting them to college tournaments freelance instead of trying to sell them.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

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Irreligion in Bangladesh
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Re: Question Writing Questions

Post by Irreligion in Bangladesh » Mon Apr 21, 2008 2:46 pm

Yeah, making money off of quizbowl is pretty much a futile attempt. You can't go into question writing thinking about money. Pretty much, the only possible positive outcomes are A: if you go into it thinking that you can improve as a player first and make some spare change second, or B: that you can write for a tournament in your area that has used terrible quality questions in the past, thereby making the tournament better (or starting a new tournament at your school like Charlie said). Money pretty much has to come second.

Given that, mirroring a tournament is a good idea, especially if the mirror sites help contribute questions. If you don't feel comfortable writing a subject, the mirror site provides a potential for more people to write your off subject.

Finally, a good number of question writing enterprises are group efforts, such as NAQT and Aegis Questions </shameless self-promotion> I believe Aegis is only accepting HS graduates right now, but then again, if you're not in Illinois, it might be different. I'm not sure - talk to Carlo, Nick, or Matt if you're interested.
Brad Fischer
Head Editor, IHSA State Series

Winnebago HS ('06)
Northern Illinois University ('10)
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Re: Question Writing Questions

Post by Deviant Insider » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:06 pm

You would have to file taxes eventually, but consider that a long-term concern. Charlie's sort of correct about making money--some people do make some money, but they generally make less than they expected to (as well as less than minimum wage).

Two things you would have to do early on would be to write a sample round of questions and find a tournament host willing to use your questions. Unfortunately, the latter task might be difficult because a lot of hosts have already figured out who they want to use as a writer. When you are getting started, the easiest thing to do might be to have your school host the tournament or have your coach ask TDs in your area if they are looking for a source. Writing a sample packet is an important experience for you not just so you have something to show off--it will give you a sense of how easy or difficult it is for you to write a full match and will give you a sense of how many matches you can produce during the course of a year (or six months or whatever).

Additionally, you need to be willing to customize your questions to meet the needs of the TDs, many of whom follow the rules in their state, and the state rules vary widely. The 20/15/10 idea is reasonable, but you might find somebody willing to purchase your questions who doesn't like it, in which case you probably should be willing to drop it.

Mirroring a tournament is easy if you have two hosts willing to do it. Otherwise, of course, it's impossible. It means finding hosts in different areas willing to abide by the same rules, which probably will be difficult for somebody like you without lots of national contacts or an established body of work. I don't mean to be discouraging--Quizbowl attracts a lot of outstanding students, and some of them are able to pull off some impressive feats.
David Reinstein
PACE VP of Outreach, Head Writer and Editor for Scobol Solo and Masonics (Illinois), TD for New Trier Scobol Solo and New Trier Varsity, Writer for NAQT (2011-2017), IHSSBCA Board Member, IHSSBCA Chair (2004-2014), PACE Member, PACE President (2016-2018), New Trier Coach (1994-2011)

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First Chairman
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Re: Question Writing Questions

Post by First Chairman » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:23 pm

If you've never written questions before, then start getting a reputation for yourself as a good question-writer. Get your team to host a tournament, and be involved with writing (collaboratively) and editing (if possible collaboratively) the questions. Talk to people here who write questions and read a lot about the way a lot of people here prefer their questions. Get a lot of mentoring.

BUT BEFORE YOU DO THAT... you have to decide a game format. Are you going for lightning round-like questions or do you want to go full pyramidal? Are you writing handout questions? How difficult do you want the questions to be? With your innovations: TRY IT OUT FIRST with other people who are not as adept as you think you are with reading or playing the game. You need the staff to be on board with what you do, and you don't have 2 days to train them on your format.

Don't think about starting up your own company until you get a good reputation and develop sound business practices.

[Darn: in short: what Reinstein said.]
Emil Thomas Chuck, Ph.D.
Founder, PACE
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Auks Ran Ova
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Re: Question Writing Questions

Post by Auks Ran Ova » Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:36 pm

ILoveReeses wrote:BUT BEFORE YOU DO THAT... you have to decide a game format. you want to go full pyramidal.
I fixed that for you.
Rob Carson
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Re: Question Writing Questions

Post by bdavery » Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:52 pm

As someone whose income has been 80-90% quiz writing for most of the last 5 years, I agree with what has been said by others. I would add:

1) Practice writing and re-writing and editing until you learn to enjoy all of those processes. You may find that writing 20 tossups for one pack is fun, writing all the bonuses for one tournament is not fun, and that final editing of an entire tournament (including distribution checking, spell-checking and computation checking) is utter misery.

2) Work as a writer for (or with) someone else for a while; you will make a few dollars (though maybe not many) and you will get better faster.

3) Study the competition to see what they have done or are doing. Then find a niche somewhere in quizbowl that they don't seem to be filling. (Note: you may discover that no one's filling it because they don't know how to make money out of it yet.)

Prospective writers who are out of high school may contact me through my website to express interest in writing for me in 2008-09.
Bryce Avery
President, Avery Enterprises
http://www.averyenterprises.net/quizbowl-blog

Purity Control
Kimahri
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Re: Question Writing Questions

Post by Purity Control » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:18 pm

IT wouldn't be to make money, its more of like getting funds for our school. Our coach is a bit lackadaisical when it comes to stuff like this. Im just trying to find a way to fundraise and i would rather not have to sell candy. To make a long story short, I want to be more active than the rest of my team.

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Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN)
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Re: Question Writing Questions

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:39 pm

Well, if you want to do it to raise money for your team, your best bet is to write the questions and then have your school host a tournament on them and use the entry fees from competing teams as your fundraising - if you get a decent sized tournament that will do you more good than sellign the questions ever will.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
"I won't say more because I know some of you parse everything I say." - Jeremy Gibbs

"At one TJ tournament the neg prize was the Hampshire College ultimate frisbee team (nude) calender featuring one Evan Silberman. In retrospect that could have been a disaster." - Harry White

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