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How to answer every Goodreads Trivia question correctly.

In my previous post, I described my glee at writing difficult questions. I've added a few more, and had the pleasure of seeing one rated as "impossible" in difficulty. At least until I gloated about this to my friends, who promptly answered the question and downgraded the rating. You'd think that true friends would take a hit for me, but no, they just wanted to demonstrate how smart they are.

Here, as promised, the answer to success at Goodreads trivia. And no, Discoverylover, this does not involve asking a friend for the answer!

Now, if you take the neverending trivia quiz, you will be presented with a series of literary trivia questions. I suspect that questions are being added faster than any normal person can answer them, so it really is neverending. Or, if one attempted to get to the end, there would be no time for actually reading the books.

Each question gives you three options. You may answer the question - usually because you already have a good idea of the answer. You may guess - an "educated guess" maybe, but a guess nonetheless. Or you may skip the question.

(Or cheat by looking up Wikipedia or something, but cheating is something that only cheats do, and I have no time for that.)

Only the first choice is a good one. Guessing answers is guaranteed failure, and skipping questions destroys your "streak".

But if you take the trivia test, you are bound to get a question on a book you know nothing about, and you must then either guess or skip.



The key to success at Goodreads trivia is to answer only the questions where you already know the answer. You therefore never have to guess, or skip. Just rack up an impressive score of correct answers and be the envy of your friends, top smirker in the mirror, strutter in library halls etc. etc.

Two ways of doing this. The easiest is to read a book and then find the list of trivia questions for that book. Presumably the answers to all the questions are fresh in your mind. In any case, you may skip those you are unsure about.

For example, trivia about Tom Sawyer. It's years since I read this, but I'm bound to know the answers to most of the questions. Easy way to rack up a good winning streak!

Especially if the questions are as easy as this one!

Two ways to get there. Each trivia question (if correctly marked up) will have a link on the screen, like this:
take other questions about

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Second way to find a list of questions about a particular title is to go to the book's page, and scroll down until you see a link in the right-hand column marked "trivia about....

Alternatively, (my preferred method) of finding questions to which I already know the answer is to look at someone else's list of answered questions: Somebody such as "Book Pig", who has answered 83 667 questions. (The top rankings are shown on the Trivia Leaderboard and there are some impressive statistics there.)

Just page through the questions, answering only those where you are sure of the answer.

And in no time at all, you'll be up there on the leaderboard and your friends will be wondering why they never see you in real life.
skyring: (Default)
I don't know exactly happened, but somehow Goodreads has sucked me in in a way that similar literary networking sites have not. Visual Bookshelf, for example.

Goodreads is fun. Besides, they list me as an author, based on one self-published travel story - about New Zealand, which, unsurprisingly, I am wholly positive about - and a couple of pamphlets masquerading as NaNoWriMo novels without the really awful bits. Just the awful bits.

But perhaps the most fun is the trivia quiz. In a neat Web 2.0 setup, users are invited to submit trivia questions for "The Neverending Quiz".

Q. Which Shakespearean character is Juliet's paramour?

A. Macbeth
B. Hamlet
C. King Lear
D. Romeo

You write the question, submit multiple answers, indicate which is correct, and the thing goes live. Other users answer (or skip) the question in their bid to get as many questions correct.

It's like a wonderful great trivia night. Best of all, you get to see how your friends fared on the same questions. Jane answered correctly, Frank fluffed it, and Ophelia skipped it.

There's also a heap of statistics for each question, for your individual progress, and for your standing within the Goodreads community. On that last point, I'll just say that a lot of people have a lot of time to read books and answer trivial questions about their contents.

Great fun!

I decided that I'd write a question or six, and I turned to that delightful saga, Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin for material.

The whole point of trivia is that questions should exercise the mind. Not too much - the answer should be something that an attentive reader will know, or that an inattentive reader will suddenly recall on being informed. Or something that a nerd might puzzle out, without having read the book itself.

Something like the Romeo and Juliet question above would be beneath my dignity:

Q. Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series deals with straight, gay, and transgender relationships in which city?

A. Salt Lake City
B. Horton, MO
C. Springfield
D. San Francisco

But with a bit of thought, one can be fiendish. For example, one of the early scenes in the first book is set in the best supermarket in the world, the Marina Safeway. The motto of the store echoes the reputation of the place as a pickup joint:

A dozen cardboard disks dangled from the ceiling of the Marina Safeway, coaxing the customers with a double-edged message: ‘xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx.’
And friends were being made.
As Mary Ann watched, a blond man in a Stanford sweatshirt sauntered up to a brunette in a denim halter. ‘Uh… excuse me, but could you tell me whether it’s better to use Saffola oil or Wesson oil?’
The girl giggled. ‘For what?’

So I wrote a question based on this well-known motto:

The motto of the Marina Safeway, famous as a place to find a date, is quoted in Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City as:

A. "Ingredients for Life"
B. "Everything You Want from a Store and a Little Bit More"
C. "Safeway: Where You Get a Little Bit More"
D. "Since we're Neighbors, let's be Friends"

The correct answer is, of course, D, which was Safeway's slogan back in the Seventies, when the series began. However, since then, Safeway has used a number of slogans, each of which would be likely to be more familiar to contemporary American quiz-takers, as well as being faintly suggestive of getting spice with your soda.

I've written a few similar questions, each with four plausible answers. You've got to know the book, otherwise you are just guessing, or succumbing to my gentle misdirection. Notice how two of my (wrong) answers above are very similar. The temptation is to assume that the correct answer is one of the two.

The questions may be dressed up, with links to books and authors, book cover illustrations and author pictures. There's even the chance to add some explanation, revealed after an answer is chosen, as to why you got it wrong. It's all good fun.

Here are my questions. So far!

Next week: How to get 100% correct answers. Without cheating!


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September 2010

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