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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Gifts (v. 3)

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: 17 Dec 2006
Revised and posted on: 11 April 2010
Reposted on: 28 October 2012
Reposted on: 29 November 2015

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write a scene that shows the character receiving a life-changing gift and makes clear the nature of the change.

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Write a scene that shows how receiving a particular gift has changed a character's life. The gift may be a long awaited store-bought present, a surprise homemade gift, breakfast in bed, a compliment, some advice, or any other form of gift you might think of.

Show how the character perceives the gift and why it has an impact on his or her life, for better or worse. You might show what the character gained or lost from getting this gift. Maybe relationships changed, or the importance of something came to light. Did the character grow in any way or learn something after receiving this gift?

"The Gift of the Magi," a short story by O. Henry, gives us a wonderful example of what two characters learned after giving and receiving gifts: (http://tinyurl.com/cygfe).

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write a scene that shows the character receiving a life-changing gift and makes clear the nature of the change.

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In critiquing, comment on how the change in the character is related to the gift. Is the change believable? Does the author develop the character from the beginning so that we can see and understand the change(s) wrought by the gift. Is the gift giver changed in any way by the recipient's response?


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Modified by Gayle Surrette.