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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: What's going on here?

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: Bob Sanchez
Posted on: April 20, 2008
Reposted on: May 9, 2010
Reposted on: December 30, 2012
Reposted on: June 7, 2014

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write a scene building on the basic information provided here. Be sure to make each character's motivations clear, and let us know something of each one's personality.

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A woman runs on a quiet stretch of road. She isn't wearing running clothes,  but she moves quickly. Not far behind, a man in street clothes also runs. A canal parallels the road on one side; on the other side are scattered houses. A half mile down the road, a brick building.

So what's going on here?  Let us in on the story through the point of view of either character. Add any sensory and descriptive details at your discretion, but be sure we understand the motivations of the characters. What do they want? What do they have to do with each other? Do their goals coincide, or do they conflict? Can we see a quality or personality trait that drives each person? The reader does not necessarily have to learn the outcome, as long as the situation is clear.

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write a scene building on the basic information provided here. Be sure to make each character's motivations clear, and let us know something of each one's personality.

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In your critique, tell whether the writer has clearly established the situation. Are the individual goals clear? Do we have a sense of their respective personalities?


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Modified by Gayle Surrette.