How I Write Trivia Questions
A lot of people ask me how I come up with all the questions for my trivia nights, so I thought I'd share a little bit on the process.
First of all, I'm not a super smart guy or anything. I know as much as you need to get through life, and I don't retain a lot of dates and facts super well. In school, I was always good at reading and writing, which is why I was an English major. My only strength, really, has been my ability to speak and write. Science, math, and even important history just doesn't stick, but I can easily veil my bewilderment with a joke.
But, I still need to write 55 questions weekly on topics that I may or may not know about. Most of my trivia is pop culture based; movies, music, television, comic books, video games, etc. Anything fun. But I do sprinkle in rounds on sports, history, science throughout the weeks as well. I write the questions, of course, with a nice beer handy.
My process starts with the choosing of 4 categories that will make up the first four rounds of the week (round 5 is always a Confidence Round, ten random tougher questions that players then rank their answers on with 10 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, an idea I nabbed from Standup Trivia in Chicago and Tony Valle's YesIAmShow.biz). For the first four rounds, I try and make sure they are varied and unique. An example week might be Food Network Shows, Card Games, 80s Metal, and Movies with a Color in the Title. Once I have the rounds that are brand new (or that I've done before but with new questions) I start thinking of 11 questions for each topic. I usually try to find 3 easy, 3 med, and 3 hard, and 2 give or take any of those degrees. If I can think of the questions quickly, I decide to go with the round, and I get to assembling the questions on Powerpoint.
The whole process takes me about 2-3 hours a week, and I usually do it over the course of Sunday and Monday. Sometimes I'll reach out on FB for ideas for rounds or questions for a specific round, too. If you have any great trivia ideas, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll make sure to credit you and work it in!