RWTI: Richman Writer Type Indicator–New and Improved!

Another Psychologically Untrained Creator of a Type Indicator

Revised RWTI (Richman Writer Type Indicator):
Please circle one letter for each item below. In instances in which more than one answer is true, circle the one that best describes you. Once you score your responses you will find your results, which will reveal your true writer type.

a. I like to hear voices and can.
b. I hear music in words.
c. I am interested in the physical world.
d. I think writers are really cool.

a. I’m interested in cause effect relationships: if this happens then…
b. I’m interested in the experience of cognitive surprise.
c. I’m interested in making sense of reality.
d. I’m interested in being seen as artsy.

a. Human interaction and motivation fascinate me.
b. Word associations and sounds fascinate me.
c. Finding patterns in the mess of actually lived lives and experiences fascinates me.
d. Talking to other writers about the mysterious process of writing fascinates me.

a. I like to make sense of the world by imagining people in scenarios and seeing what happens to them.
b. I like to make sense of the world by making wild logical associations.
c. I like to make sense of the world by analyzing things that have already happened.
d. I like to make sense of the world by categorizing people based on how creative they are.

a. Being right is not important to me.
b. Being right is not possible in my eyes; I wouldn’t know it if I saw it.
c. Being right is important to me.
d. Being right is just being.

a. Descriptions, sensory details, and images are as important as trees to a forest.
b. Descriptions, sensory details, and images are as important as a tree to one climbing a tree.
c. Descriptions, sensory details, and images are as important as bark to a tree—the more closely you look at it, the more you’ll notice.
d. Descriptions, sensory details, and images are as important as the tree that falls in a forest when no one is there.

a. The most impressive use of logic is the re-creation of it based on real patterns that exist in the real world.
b. The most impressive use of logic is the rearrangement of it, which often includes turning it on its head.
c. The most impressive use of logic is recognizing it in existing scenarios and bringing it to light.
d. The most impressive use of logic is abolishing it and gaining mental freedom.

a. Money does not guide my actions but I like the possibility that it could become a part of my life—perhaps in huge amounts.
b. Money does not interest or motivate me.
c. Money is best in reliable and fair amounts—certain amounts of work should earn certain amounts of money.
d. Money is the bane of all existence. You shouldn’t let it rule/corrupt your actions. It should not affect any of your decisions.


a: _____

b: _____

c: _____

d: _____


b= P



F=Fiction writer. You are interested in a combination of the real world and the imagined world and are most satisfied by showing relationships and patterns through the most interesting examples and scenarios the human mind can conceive.

P=Poet. You are guided by surprise and have an inner ear that hears music others might miss. You are more interested in the spiritual and or philosophical than the concrete, but value addressing the abstract through concrete representation.

N=Nonfiction writer. You are interested in patterns and value the real, the right—you believe in being right, don’t buy exaggerations of relativity. You are interested in understanding the world better and believe people can learn by observing and analyzing the actual.

WB=Wanna Be. You love being a writer and think writers are fascinating, but you’re more creative than productive. Many of your ideas are too complicated to actually fit into the constraints of words and you are searching for new ways of expression that move beyond the usual means to which people too often fall prey.

If you come up with equal numbers in one or more categories, you are a Genre Bender. This means you are less easily categorized, highly creative, and work from internal patterns yet unknown to human kind. In other words, you are a genius and are uncategorizable. Enjoy your superiority and try to be kind to those of us who are bitter.

What are you? What questions should be added and subtracted—for the purposes of scientific reliability?


  • Brett says:

    That picture is awesome. Too funny.

    • Shira Richman says:

      I think I was drunk. I was gazing at Tracy, but I cropped him out so it looks like I’m thinking up new psychological theories, instead. Thanks for noticing it’s funny since that is definitely why I included it.

      • Brett says:

        It does look like you are philosophizing/psychologizing(?), and what better way to study philosophy (especially Continental philosophy) than when you’ve prepped with a few drinks.

        Schopenhauer would totally agree. Nietzsche wouldn’t, because he doesn’t agree with anyone.

        • Shira Richman says:

          Based on this information, I’ll have to read Schopenhauer and Nietzsche.

          • Brett says:

            Schopenhauer was damn poor, and at one point he apparently made a living by challenging tourists to drinking competitions and drinking them under the table. At least that’s what a philosophy prof told me many years back; I’ll have to look it up.

            As for Freddy N., he was (quite literally) a crazy person, at least towards the end of his life (he was hospitalized with dementia for the last 10 years), but his ideas were fascinating, albeit controversial. (He was no Nazi though; he refers to himself as an anti-anti-Semite in Genealogy of Morals.)

            • Shira Richman says:

              You make philosophy and philosophers seem fascinating.

              • Brett says:

                Dude! This is totally off-topic, but, you teach at the Colorado School of Mines, yeah? There is a frickin’ MOON ROCK at the school’s museum! Sweet!

  • Monet says:

    I should be writing nonfiction – crap, what am I doing with this poetry stuff

    • Shira Richman says:

      Sorry, Monet. The test knows best. But maybe you’re a genre bender, which is what I wish I were. In any case, you’re clearly brilliant. I love your posts and have told many people about the menstrual/minstrel one.

    • tanya.debuff says:

      poetry and nonfiction are lovers. :)

  • Seth says:

    Fiction Writer, with smatterings of Poet. Truth is, I enjoy both and I don’t like being constrained by saying one or the other. I find the best poems are often stories; the best fiction pieces often poetic. So this doesn’t necessarily tell me anything I didn’t already know. As far as the test goes, however, if I had to get rid of a question, I’d say the last one about money. I find the answers are too hard to quantify, so I’d say toss that and your methodology should still be fine. Also, have you considered varying up the order of the answers? It might help ensure a more consistent return.

    On another note, I have to say I found the WB category rather amusing. Not because I know people who are like that (though god knows I do), but rather because I’ve spent so much time being jealous of other people’s creative gifts outside of writing. Like, I admire and enjoy good writing, and at some point writing very much became part of who I am, but at the same time I’ve always felt like writing was somehow “not sexy” to the rest of the world. Like if I start telling people at a party that I write, their eyes just sort of glaze over. “Oh God,” their expressions seem to say, “another wannabe Great American Novelist.” Which stings, of course, but there you go. I find myself wondering if the same thing ever happens to guitarists. I highly doubt it.

    • Shira Richman says:

      You’re right, I should randomize the order. This is where the statistician in me offers her two cents: “Sorry, still recovering from the head-injury.”

      I don’t know what you mean when you say the test doesn’t necessarily tell you anything you didn’t already know. I’m sure this test is highly insightful and will likely improve your self-concept. Just watch as your life begins to improve from this moment on.

      I imagine guitarists get treated similarly to writers. So many people who don’t really play the guitar say that they do and then the serious players don’t get the respect they deserve. This is my reading of the situation. The “they” in life are generally suspicious (and enamored of)artistic endeavors. What do you think?

      • Seth says:

        Head injury? That’s no good. I’m just concerned that somebody seeking a particular result could always choose the same letter. Mixing that up would help.

        Also, don’t think I’m hating on your test; far from it. I just think I’ve had some time to puzzle out what matters to me as a writer, and so most of what I found here is sort of self-reinforces that. That’s all. That said, your arch language has a sort of arch “Road to Wellville” Victorian quality that I admire. A more refined sarcasm, if you will.

        I suppose you have a point. For me, it just seems like musicians tend to get treated with more credibility with writers. You have to go farther, go bigger as a writer before people will throw you any respect. Novel deal, position teaching, something. Play in a crappy AC/DC cover band Tuesday nights at Dino’s, though, and you’re practically a god. That said, I will definitely agree that creatives are generally regarded with mixed fascination and distrust by non-creative society. I just wonder how much these disparities say about the KINDS of art we value as a culture.

        • Shira Richman says:

          I agree with you that writers need to do more to get any respect than musicians do. Music has a much better DIY ruggedness about it, a more outside-of-society image than writing does.

          Luckily I have never had a head injury. It’s just my inner statistician who has–at least that is her excuse for the shoddy, lazy work she does.

  • Kathryn says:

    Almost 100% nonfiction writer here (6N, 2F), except my interest in writing nonfiction isn’t very strong. I do, however, like to take elements of the real world and fictionalize them—turn them around, imagine what if (but in the big-picture scenarios rather than smaller interactions, meaning that I often have to make a conscious effort to make things happen in my fiction).

    Ah well. Maybe I’ll go write an essay about how I lie when I write, dammit!

  • Shanti says:

    50% Fiction
    25% Poet
    25% Nonfiction
    0% Wannabe

    • Shira Richman says:

      You clearly have the perfect combination. Which I already knew from hearing you read your gorgeous fiction.

  • Nina says:

    50% Poet
    37.5% Fiction (3/8)
    12.5% Nonfiction (1/8)
    0% Wannabe

    Now I know why I was unhappy as a technical writer, and why journalism seems boring and shallow. My friend Shanti called me a poet once, and I denied it, but maybe …

    • Shira Richman says:

      I love the precision of your percentages. Poetry is all about precision…

      I also find journalism boring (though I try not to) and didn’t particularly enjoy teaching technical writing. Literal truth can seem so dry.

  • Jaime R Wood says:

    I’m 25% fiction, 25% poet, 50% nonfiction, 0% wanna be. This is a little disconcerting, although I’ve suspected it for a while. I may have to come out of the nonfiction closet and stop pretending to be a poet. But I really do love writing poetry…about nonfiction things. :) And I have no interest in writing fiction unless I could write a slightly fictionalized memoir to save face and familial relationships. I don’t know. I’m confused, but this test was fun. :)

    • Brett says:

      That’s a good point. I wonder how the confessional poets would score on this test; I’d bet they’d get some nonfiction points too, yeah?

      • Shira Richman says:

        Most importantly, it’s good that we remember this test is infallible. Very scientifically tested. Keeping that in mind, the test will recognize what kinds of poetry a person writes and may reflect it back through another category. What this really means is that your poetry, Jaime, is non-fiction poetry (perhaps fictionalized a little to save face and familial relationships). So, it looks like the test has you figured out. And that you have other forms of non-fiction available to you whenever you want them, if you ever do.

        • Ann says:

          I’ll agree with that- I got back non-fiction almost all the way, but I write poetry (about non-fiction things/my life, haha)… so the way the words sound and feel are very important to me, but I need something to frame why those words should sound the way they do, a reason to choose those particular words, and that reason, for me, comes through something from my life. Interesting. Cool survey!

  • Geneva says:

    50% Poetry
    50% Fiction

    I do write a lot of short shorts…or prose poems…or, apparently, something in between.

  • Lincoln says:

    Just like Nina:

    50% Poetry
    37.5% Fiction
    12.5% Non-fiction
    0% Wannabe

    • Shira Richman says:

      Another computationally gifted poet. Math and poetry do seem to go well together.

      What’s up? Am I the only wannabe around here?

  • Sam Ligon Sam Ligon says:

    I’m 62.5% fiction, 25% poet, 12.5% nonfiction. And 100% poser.

    • Shira Richman says:

      Finally, a poser to hang out with and talk about mystery and being. Thank god it’s you. I couldn’t be happier with any other poser.

  • Pete Sheehy says:

    I scored 12.5% poser, it was the money question that started me posing.

  • Asa Maria says:

    This is way more fun than grading! I read your post earlier this week and then got confused about which test I should take and decided on the latest version. In scientific research and software design (excluding Microsoft) the latest version is usually the best. Right?

    I’m 37.5% Fiction, 37.5$ Nonfiction, and 25% Poetry! Not at all what I expected. Much higher poetry and fiction than I thought. I’m really happy with the result, especially the non-existing poser points.

    I’m actually giving a physics test right now and the students keep on looking up at my giggles, which I’m unsuccessfully trying to mask as coughs. It doesn’t matter though, with these results, I’m pretty sure this isn’t the right career for me. :-)

  • Asa Maria says:

    Oh also, this test gave me happy flashbacks of my youth. I used to take all those quizzes in the glossy magazines my friends and I bought. The ones that would tell you what you’d grow up to be and whether you were fit to be a horse owner or not. (I never did get that pony I kept asking for.)

    • Shira Richman says:

      I want to take the test that will tell me if I’m fit to own a horse. Any ideas where I can find that one?

      • I think it was geared toward ten-year-old girls. And I took it in a Swedish magazine…

        • Amaris says:

          Asa, I’m sensing a potential essay that would deal with gender and cultural differences, since all the glossy quizzes I took as a ten-year old dealt with boys and teen romance (if “teen romance” isn’t an oxymoron).

  • Sara says:

    66% Fiction with tiny splashes of non-fiction and poetry. Sounds about right.

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