Don't Take Trivia Trivially

Wednesday, May 13, 2020
Picture it: 7 teachers plus a couple of spouses. 9 categories of hand-written triva questions. All of us perched in front of our laptops/tablets, desperate for some fun during this pandemic.

Everyone but me was drinking. I bombed, even though I was only drinking water. However, some realizations hit me over the head the next day, and here they are:

Be realistic about yourself. There was a category about alcohol. I’m fond of a capful of Rumchata in milk not much of a drinker. There was a category about superheroes. I know nothing of that topic, except for the old Batman TV show. All the other teachers were 20 or 30+ years  younger than me. I knew there would be questions/whole categories that would be too young for me or beyond my scope of interest/knowledge..

I also know I am not a romance writer. I can’t write science fiction. I can’t do horror (but my current hair-do does qualify me to be a freak show exhibit). Although I do try to stretch outside my memoir box occasionally, I know my general lane and am well aware of my deficiencies, which leads to the next realization…

1. See the "Eclectic" section.
Have a sense of humor. At the end of the final (9th) round (10 questions each) I had amassed a pitiful 26 points. That’s not even a 3-point average. I wore my loser banner proudly.

Learn to laugh at and joke about your rejections and your mistakes. “Hey, that rejection came back to
me faster than the speed of sound,” or “Perhaps they haven’t sent an acceptance because they’re
arguing amongst themselves over how high my advance should be. Each editor thinks it should be
higher.” It’s better to laugh than cry.

2. (Again, see the "Eclectic" section)
Learn from your mistakes. My category was language. I only had one multiple choice question. The rest gave no clue or possbible answer. Most of them were hard. On the other hand, one of the spouses had most of their questions in multiple choice format. They had a couple of bonus questions at the end. Some of the teachers had more questions that were easy. Next time, I will make up questions that more people can relate to (perhaps a Viggo Mortensen category?), will use the multiple choice format more, and will definitely include bonus questions.

Right now I’m in a blurb group and a query letter and synopsis group through SCBWI (Society of
Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). No agent is beating down my door to sign me, so perhaps
what I am submitting needs to be tweated have a major make-over.

3. (See the next section for an explanation.)
Embrace the eclectic. One of my teacher friends last night recreated alcohol/beer labels. She arranged grapes into a foot-print pattern. She paired up a slice of grapefruit with some parsley. She painstakingly placed dry pasta and fruit roll-ups in a careful arrangement. It was beyond brilliant.

Maybe you have a friend who is into dog shows. You might use their expertise and include a dog show thread in your murder mystery. I have a friend who spent part of their married life in an isolated part of Alaska. Crazy things happened to her. Perhaps I could use that lonely place as a back-drop for a piece of flash fiction. Use your friends (in a good way) and use their unique interests.

Even though I’m licking my wounds (which is better than licking the ice cream off a fudgsicle) because of my epic loss, I learned some things about myself.

4. (See the above section for an explanation of why this is here.)
And now, I’m off to write better trivia questions in case they’re charitable enough to invite me to the next one... Can you guess the labels? (The answers will be in my bio section.)

Sioux has lots of time to write these days... and yet she's wily enough to avoid it most of the time. She's a full time middle school teacher (from a distance currently), a part-time frustrated novelist and part-time "fetch" partner with her dog, Radar. If you'd like to read more of her work, check out her blog.

And do you give up? 1--Malibu rum. 2--Barefoot wine. 3. Jagermeister. 4. Smirnoff


Margo Dill said...

I am glad to see that one of my fellow writers is not very good at trivia--just like me! :) I am always amazed at all the knowledge all my friends have at trivia nights. Where are they storing that? Our brains must be too busy writing and creating for that.

OMG, that food art/label recreation is fantastic! This pandemic is stretching us all.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Trivia night sounds like a blast! I went to a virtual rave last Friday night on Twitch where they do DJ Roulette--one spins for a few minutes, then the next one jumps in, and so on--and they have a theme, which happened to be cowboys (Tombstone was playing behind them on green screen) and you can chat and win prizes. It was so much fun! I'm not good at trivia though.

The food art is so creative! I love the pretzels. Oh, I see... label art! That is so creative. :)

Your outlook on rejection is wonderful. Remember an agent is just a stepping stone and not the end game. There are options to achieve your publishing goals, and the industry is going through a lot right now. You have the right attitude to see this through though, Sioux! And you're looking good in that mask! xo

Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--The "food artist" is as talented of a teacher as she is at food creations... and poetry... and all things technological... incredible Halloween costumes... and anything else she does.

I guess you and I should never be put at the same trivia table? ;)

Angela--That trivia night sounds like it was a lot of fun. These days, we have to be creative with how we connect and how we entertain ourselves.

Thanks for the encouragement. I hope you're right.

Cathy C. Hall said...

I got a whole lot of thoughts here:

This is a great time to be a member of SCBWI--SO MUCH FREE STUFF!

When I do Jeopardy and the kidders happen to be around (the boy ones, that is), I notice that we have distinctly different strengths: Me, literature, theater, science, history, music and art (the old stuff). Them, sports, spirits (the drinks), music (the new stuff), movies, pop culture, and more sports. Oddly none of us are good at ANY of the geography. I'm not sure why all that matters...

Except to say that yes, a category about Viggo Mortensen would be a winner (for you).

Thanks for the laugh out loud post, Sioux!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Cathy--My areas of expertise--when it comes to Jeopardy--is even more limited. Literature... but Dickens, Vonnegut, Stephen King, Joe Hill--only writers I love.

Yeah, I stink at anything that even whiffs of geography, too. I blame it on how large the world is.

Yes! Anything Viggo would be good for everybody.;)

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