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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Opening Up (Version 2)

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: Pam Hauck
Posted on: April 18, 2002
Reposted on: May 11, 2003
Reposted on: May 9, 2004
Reposted on: May 12, 2005
Reposted on: March 30, 2006
Reposted, revised, on: Sunday, December 2, 2007
Reposted on Sunday, January 18, 2009
Reposted on Sunday, September 18, 2011
Reposted on Sunday, October 21, 2012
Reposted on Sunday, March 30, 2014
Reposted on Sunday, April 9, 2017

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write an opening for a story
or novel that will make your readers want to know more, to turn
the page and keep going.

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Read the opening paragraphs of a novel or story you like. Does
it start with a bang or more subtly, planting a question or a
seed? What in the opening makes you want to continue reading?

The best stories grab a reader's attention immediately. Whether
you are writing a short story, novel or memoir, your first few
paragraphs must persuade a reader to turn the page and see what
happens next. Thus an effective opening is essential.

Three ways to rivet your reader are often cited: promise a
fascinating plot, portray a character who demands to be known
better, or write prose that enchants the reader from the start.
There may be others.

For this exercise, you are asked to write something that will make
us all want you to go on for pages more. Don't attempt to write a
complete story--write only the opening that will keep your readers
glued to your page.

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write an opening for a story
or novel that will make your readers want to know more, to turn
the page and keep going.

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

In your critiques, explain what makes you want to read more, or why
you think the writer has failed in the effort. As always, discuss
the writing as a whole.


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