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 come from lessons in the Provisional Writers Program, which trains new writers for NHBB. The Provisional Writer Program has run twice, in fall 2015 and summer 2017, and will likely run next in summer 2019.

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

Sixty-Second Rounds