As writers, we like to think of ourselves as experts on human nature. After all, to write realistic dialogue and create compelling characters, we have to observe the world around us, right?
Well, yes. Sort of. Anyway, it’s a good excuse for some borderline creepy behavior. The following quiz is a tool to help you evaluate your creepy writer habits. Should your score and the resulting diagnosis alarm you, don’t worry: you can change.
I’ll let you know as soon as I find out how.
- You bring a camera with you on vacation. At the end of the day, someone looking at your pictures would see…
- Only posed shots of my friends/family.
- Candid pictures of everyone in my group, along with a few funny street signs and a really fat cat I saw on a park bench.
- Everything listed above, along with pictures of interesting events (a picnic getting attacked by pigeons and an angry taxi driver yelling after a fender-bender).
- Lots of shots of random strangers, including close-ups.
- Multiple pictures of the same random stranger, following him/her throughout different stages of the day.
- The extent of your eavesdropping is….
- I do not eavesdrop. Ever. Even if someone is yelling in the restaurant booth next to me (I plug my ears).
- I’ll usually listen in if the person is talking loudly, or if I hear my name mentioned.
- Sometimes I’ll tune in to a conversation if I’m bored, but only in a public place.
- I will intentionally overhear conversations, placing myself in strategic locations to get the best auditory quality.
- I have bugs set up in the rooms of the most interesting people I know and rotate between them to see if any good conversations are happening.
- In reference to your fictional works, how honest is the statement, “Any relation to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental”?
- Totally honest. I don’t even use the names or hometowns or hair colors of people I know.
- Mostly true. I mean, I probably subconsciously incorporate things borrowed from people I know, and maybe I pick up a quirk here and there.
- It could still hold up in court, but I do steal interesting personality traits, fashion habits, or phrases from my friends and acquaintances.
- Um, a few characters might possibly be based pretty heavily on real people.
- You know those Taylor Swift songs about former boyfriends where she doesn’t use names but everyone knows who she’s talking about? Yeah, that’s me.
- In general, how curious are you?
- I haven’t asked anyone a personal question since fourth grade.
- Mostly, I mind my own business, but sometimes I secretly wonder what’s happening with other people.
- I’m curious about just about everything, but I never verbalize it.
- It’s a bad habit – I have to know what’s going on, and I’m good at figuring things out in a subtle way.
- I’m not curious at all. I already know everything that’s happening and why and how long it’s gone on and what might happen next. Sometimes before the people involved in the situation know all of that.
Mostly a’s: You are not a writer. Why are you even reading this blog? Go alphabetize something.
Mostly b’s: There’s no question: you are totally normal (which may also mean that you’re not a writer, but that’s another topic for another post). Your level of creepiness is still zero.
Mostly c’s: A few snoopy tendencies can tend to crop up, but not to an unhealthy degree. You’ve probably found a good balance for writing.
Mostly d’s: You’re bordering on creepy, but can still pass yourself off as normal. You know, as normal as a writer can be. Try to keep your observation skills under wraps as much as possible. Disguises are always fun.
Mostly e’s: This is not okay. Stop reading this blog and put out a restraining order on yourself. Right now.