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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Ultimatums

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/).

Created by: Alice Folkart
Posted on: 24 Jan 2010
Re-posted on: 12 February 2011
Re-posted on: 2 February 2014
Re-posted on: 16 August 2015
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In 400 words or less write a scene that either springs from or culminates in one of the lines below. What in the world is going on? Who has done what to whom? Show us. You may also invent your own similar 'ultimatum' line, if you like.

"I'm never coming back!"

"That's my final word!"

"Get out and take your _________ with you!"

_____________________

Your scene or story will, of course, have at least two characters. Show us what has happened or is about to happen. Show us where these people are--at home, in a bar, on a boat, camping? This might be a good opportunity to work in a little action. Is anyone about to throw something? Are doors slammed? Is this serious? Or is this something that happens frequently with these characters?

_____________________

In 400 words or less write a scene that either springs from or culminates in one of the lines below. What in the world is going on? Who has done what to whom? Show us. You may also invent your own similar 'ultimatum' line, if you like.

"I'm never coming back!"

"That's my final word!"

"Get out and take your _________ with you!"

_____________________

In your critique consider whether the writer has caught our attention immediately and whether the reaction which results in one of the characters issuing an ultimatum seems justified. Does the ultimatum show us something about one of the characters that we might not have known otherwise, e.g., the meek little wife finally telling the bullying husband where to go or the put-upon worker telling off his/her boss? How well does the author use action and scene to highlight strong emotions?


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Modified by Gayle Surrette.