THE OTHER NETWORK WRITER'S ROOM

INSIDE THE ART, CRAFT AND BUSINESS OF WRITING for Film, TV, Books, Stage, Print or Digital Media (with Particular Attention to Comedy)

WSAT – The Writing Skills Aptitude Test

“Find out who you are. Then do it on purpose.” 
- Dolly Parton
WSAT.HORIZ.250x177
What’s that? You say you have certain natural strengths as a writer? You want to choose Projects that play to your strengths – or develop weaker muscles – but you’re not sure exactly what’s in your creative toolkit?

The WSAT (Writing Skills Aptitude Test) is a way to rate your own skills at different aspects of the writing process. If you want to make things really interesting, ask someone familiar with your writing to evaluate your strengths and see if it jibes with your own assessment.

Almost anyone can develop almost any of these skills if they want to, so please don’t misunderstand this exercise as any kind of permanent categorization that will consign you to any particular kind of writing. The WSAT also doesn’t assign relative value to the different skills. The point is that certain skills may be better suited to certain Projects, genres and formats. If someone else told you they had that set of skills, what kind of writing project might you recommend to them?

The WSAT is designed to give you a snapshot of your current skill-set, which can potentially help you focus your current and future writing project(s).

WSAT (The Writing Skills Aptitude Test)



Grammar & Language Skills
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Story Sense (compelling plots)
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Structural Abilities (architectural awareness)
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Compelling Characters
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Dialog
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Details (research or specialized knowledge)
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

High Concept (big ideas)
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Originality (original ideas/style)
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Prolific (lots of ideas)
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Fast (lots of words)
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Funny
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Distinctive Authorial Voice
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Commercial Instincts
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Collaborative Abilities
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Attention Span
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Stamina (Ability to Rewrite Over and Over)
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Good Listener (Ability to Hear & Translate Feedback)
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Thickness of Skin (Ability to Take Criticism)
Undeveloped 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Strong

Look back at where you rated yourself strongest.

Now see if that particular set of skills is actually well-matched to your current vision of the current Project and the format you’ve chosen to write in.

You may consciously want to write to one of your undeveloped aptitudes for your own evolution as a writer, but it’s also not too late to change or adapt the material to your natural talents.

It’s probably most productive, at least on your first few big writing projects, to write to your strengths. If you have a strong aptitude for plots and storylines, consider adding some to your intimate domestic drama. Maybe the drama is wrapped in a genre? If you’re strongly collaborative, maybe you want to find a writing partner, or work on a script (which is inherently more collaborative than a novel). If you’re funny, why is your Project so sad?

I don’t suggest that you feel, or are, limited by your natural gifts. Cultivate as may different writing skills as possible. Even if you don’t think you’re wired that way, it’s good to try things out. You might surprise yourself – or find a new angle on the material.

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This entry was posted on December 27, 2012 by in Creative Process, Writing Strategy and tagged .
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