Houghton Mifflin HarcourtHistory Channel

Want to learn how NHBB writers craft the questions used in competitions? Interested in writing quizbowl questions of your own? Great! This page is a collection of lessons and essays about question writing. The ideas here are generally applicable to writing quizbowl questions for all subjects, not just history, though there are NHBB-specific essays as well.

Many of the essays here were used in the initial Provisional Writers Program, which trained new writers for NHBB in fall 2015; while the Provisional Writer Program is preparing for a second iteration in summer 2017, all interested new writers can practice with these lessons. Roughly a dozen new lessons will be added over the course of the year, so bookmark this page!

Introduction to Writing:

Why Write Questions?

Anatomy of a Tossup


The Basics of Question Writing

What Makes a Good Clue?



Advanced Lessons

Tossup Themes

Clue Density

“Description Acceptable” Tossups


NHBB-centric Lessons

NHBB Cultural History