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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Graffiti


These exercises were written by IWW members and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its members. You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that you found them at the Internet Writers Workshop (http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/).

Prepared by Ruth Douillette
Posted on Sun, 11 Mar 2007
Reposted on Sun, 31 Aug 2008
Reposted on Sun, 21 Feb 2010
Reposted on Sun, 10 July 2011
Reposted on: Sun, 19 May 2013
Reposted on Sun, 24 Dec 2014
Revised and reported on Sun, 25 Sep 2016

-------------------------

Exercize: In 400 words or less, write a scene in which conflict
develops around a public display of graffiti. Tell the story in first
person POV, but your narrator need not be the character who writes the
graffiti. He/she could be an accomplice, an authority figure, or a
witness to the graffiti activity.

-------------------------

Words are everywhere, even in places they don't belong: spray painted
on bridges, inked on public restroom walls, scratched into an old
school desk, carved on the trunk of a tree, or perhaps scrawled on the
sides of a subway train.

Coming up with new story ideas can be difficult, yet imaginative
writers often build stories around unremarkable images that others
might overlook. This exercise asks you to develop a story around such
a simple image: in this case, a few words of graffiti.

You might write about a new girl at school who wants to be accepted by
the popular group in her class. When they give her a red permanent
marker, and command her to write nasty stuff on the vice-principal’s
car, she obeys. But she’s caught in the act by the school cop. Now
what?

Or perhaps you might invent a character who impetuously calls a phone
number scratched on the wall of a gas station restroom. He dials the
number, a woman answers, and during their conversation, he realizes
that he's talking to his neighbor. He hangs up. Did she recognize my
voice? he wonders. Now what?

Take a look around your town’s public areas, or your own neighborhood
this week, and try to spot examples of graffiti. Perhaps a few local
images will suggest a story. Write down a few words ... then a few
more words ... and see where your imagination takes you.

-------------------------

Exercize: In 400 words or less, write a scene in which conflict
develops around a public display of graffiti. Tell the story in first
person POV, but your narrator need not be the character who writes the
graffiti. He/she could be an accomplice, an authority figure, or a
witness to the graffiti activity.

-------------------------

In your critique, consider how the writer used graffiti to develop an
imaginative story. Were you intrigued, amused, or drawn into the plot?
As always, consider all aspects of the writing.


Web site created by Rhéal Nadeau and the administrators of the Internet Writing Workshop.
Modified by Gayle Surrette.