Not sure which genre you’re best suited to writing? Take this handy quiz!
A lamp is missing from your home. You must account for its disappearance. Make up a story. Take your time, I’ll wait.
Ready? Now, which of the following does your story most closely resemble? (Any minors reading this, please skip items 15 & 16.)
- The lamp went on a trip in search of its brother lamp from the furniture store, which it hadn’t seen since they were both sold. The lamp found its brother at a yard sale in a neighboring state and is bringing it home soon.
- You were practicing to see how far you could throw the cat. The lamp stuck its shade out to trip the cat. The cat was not amused.
- You (if you’re a teen) or your teenager threw a wild party. The drunken guests had a contest to see who could walk the farthest balancing the lamp on his head. The lamp lasted 0.3 seconds. You trashed the remains.
- Aliens landed in your backyard and abducted the lamp, believing it to be a representative of the planet’s dominant species.
- Zombies stole the lamp so you wouldn’t see them when they come in the middle of the night to eat your brains.
- You rubbed a smudge off the lamp and a djinn appeared. He informed you that you were the long-lost descendant of Aladdin. You’ll be leaving now to redeem your three wishes.
- A small but brave band of hobbits fought a huge army of orcs in your living room for possession of the lamp, which contains the good power of the last of the wizards. The hobbits won and are taking the lamp back to the wizard.
- The Darkness Squad confiscated the lamp. It is illegal, counterrevolutionary, and unmutual to have more light than your neighbors.
- The lamp came to life and stalked you, finally cornering you in a closet. It multiplied into a hundred lamps, which shone so brightly in your eyes that your brain began to fry. Your muscular neighbor arrived in the nick of time with a baseball bat and smashed them all. But wait—was that a light in the corner? Oh no—a new lamp is growing from each fragment! AAAGH!
- Your worst enemy took the lamp in order to booby-trap it so you’ll be electrocuted next time you turn it on.
- International villains broke in to retrieve the lamp, in which they had hidden the detonator for a nuclear bomb big enough to destroy the universe. They caught you just as you were about to turn on the lamp, thus detonating the bomb.
- You discovered the lamp was bugged when the FBI came to arrest you for subversive activity (you made a disparaging remark about Obombacare). They took the lamp as evidence.
- The sheriff trapped an outlaw behind your house. Firing at the sheriff through two open windows, the outlaw hit the lamp instead. The sheriff took the lamp as evidence.
- Your secret admirer took the lamp as a keepsake of the time he came over, ostensibly to borrow a cup of sugar but really just to look at you, and you turned on the lamp to find the sugar.
- You and your lover knocked the lamp over in a bout of particularly steamy sex, which then got even hotter. Positively electric.
- Your husband and his lover knocked the lamp over in a bout of steamy sex, which you walked in on. The lamp was his entire divorce settlement.
- You turned on the lamp and found yourself in the court of Henry VIII, who insisted you become his next wife. Since there were no outlets there to plug the lamp into, you could not return. After three and a half days of marriage, King Henry had you beheaded as a witch. Your ghost returned to tell the story.
- The lamp shone with such a beautiful bright light that first the next-door neighbors, then the people down the block, then people from all over the city were drawn to it. The crowds got too big, so the lamp left to fulfill its destiny of enlightening the world.
- The lamp awoke to find it had turned into a firefly. The kids caught it and put it in a jar, where it died.
- Once the lamp was. Now the lamp is not. Its puny light extinguished forever. And you ask why? Out, out brief candle!
- You cannot lie, you did it with your little hatchet.
Have you picked your answer? Just one, mind—we’re all required by Official Book Market Law to specialize. Okay, here’s the answer key:
- Picture book
- Middle grade
- Edgy contemporary young adult
- Science fiction
- Urban fantasy
- High fantasy
- Murder mystery
- Spy thriller
- Women’s fiction
- Time travel/historical/paranormal—make up your mind!
- Memoir, possibly faked
Go forth and write your genre!
P.S. If your story was nothing like any of these but involved deep characterization, beautiful language, and a compelling theme, I’m afraid I have bad news for you. You’re literary.