If you have a Facebook account, you’ve no doubt had the opportunity to take a plethora of quizzes.
Which Disney princess are you?
What Mexican food are you?
What is your stripper name?
Amusing? Perhaps. Creative time-wasters? Down to the last one.
Here’s a quiz, however, that will actually help you with your writing process. It was constructed by a highly qualified friend of mine, Dr. Katherine Ramsland, who holds graduate degrees in clinical psychology, forensic psychology, criminal justice, and philosophy (an MFA is soon to be added).
Originally published on her popular blog at Psychology Today, “Shadow Boxing: a blog that probes the mind’s dark secrets,” the quiz assesses your observational quotient or “OQ,” and places you on a scale of inward to outward focus. Knowing which end of the scale you gravitate toward can help you identify your natural strengths as a writer.
Ramsland defines observational intelligence as:
The ability to observe one’s surroundings, including the people in it, and to understand what the details show.
We each have an OQ, but according to Ramsland, people oriented in an interior direction have to work harder at adding important story details than people with an external orientation.
This is good for a writer to know, since being observant is a crucial trait for both the author building the story and the protagonist delivering it. Yet observation is not a mad, natural skill for everyone. “Innies” tend to miss a lot. I find it interesting that Ramsland herself, who writes about externally-detailed processes such as crime scene investigation, confesses to being an “innie.” Knowing this informs where she will have to exert more energy.
This quiz can be an eye-opener when it comes to your personal relationships as well. When my husband and I shared results, it explained away as innate traits things we’d previously seen as inexplicable downfalls.
The first question, for example, asks us to rate how true the following statement feels:
I am alert to the environment around me.
On a scale of 0 (not true of me) to 2 (that’s me), my husband would have given me a “0”. I am so often lost in the riveting cloud of thoughts unspooling in my mind, that each time we leave a hotel room, he gets ready to corral me with his arm, knowing I’ll head the wrong direction in search of the elevator. (But seriously, does he not understand that once I come to a dead end, I can turn around and find my way? The way I see it, there’s a health bonus: extra steps!)
I, however, gave myself a “1” on that question, because sometimes, I do notice the darnedest things. For example, I just noticed the light was left on in our closet, and thought, “Did my husband leave it that way all night?”
Take the quiz
Your turn! You have 3 options for each item: 0 = not true of me, 1 = sometimes or sort of true, 2 = that’s me! [Read more…]