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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Opening the door (Version 4)

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/).

Originated by: Florence Cardinal as "The Doorway"
Posted on: 21 Oct 2001
Reposted on: 6 Oct 2002
Reposted, revised, on: 21 May 2006
Reposted, revised, on: 29 July 2007
Reposted, revised, on: 22 Nov 2009
Reposted on: 6 Feb 2011
Reposted on: 9 Sept 2012
Reposted on: 7 Feb 2016

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, let your readers see a character opening a door, and then show us what the character sees on the other side.
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This is an exercise in creating a setting--keep that in mind. Your submission may be the beginning of a story or a scene, or it may introduce a character. But above all, this is your chance to practice developing a backdrop.

Imagine your character at a door. What does it look like? Where
does it lead? The character opens it. Did she need a key? Did he knock, ring the bell, or just turn the knob and walk in? Or is there a knob? Does the door lead inside, or outside?

The door and what the character sees need not be anything fantastic, although they can be if you so choose. Make sure you take the time to fully visualize the setting before you start writing. What counts is not a budding plot, but the place in which the action gets underway.

Once the door is open, what does the character see, hear, smell? How about the sense of touch? What does he touch? Does anything touch her? The wind, perhaps? Describe it all so your readers can experience it along with you or your character.
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Exercise: In 400 words or less, let your readers see a character opening a door, and then show us what the character sees on the other side.
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In your critiques, concentrate on the setting. Can you *see* the place the character is standing or sitting? Setting affects characters, so see if you can perceive any such effect. And, of course, comment on the writing in general.


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Modified by Gayle Surrette.