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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Lost

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: Alice Folkart
Posted on: June 19, 2011
Posted on: February 1, 2015

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In 400 words or less write a scene where a character becomes lost under pressure to reach a destination. Open with the journey underway, then show the character getting lost or realizing that he is lost. Let us see his efforts to find his way and let us share his emotions.

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What is the character's goal? What will happen if he cannot reach it? Is there a time limit? Does he simply get lost, or is he led astray? Is he on his way to his wedding? Charged with delivering something important? Lost on the way to the airport or in the airport itself? Is he driving at high speed on the Autobahn or creeping along through a fog on back-country roads, hacking through dense jungle or walking through a very tough neighborhood? Is he alone? Is he going around in circles in some labyrinthine office complex like a rat in a maze? Does he know from the moment we see him that he is lost, or does it only slowly dawn on him?

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In 400 words or less write a scene where a character becomes lost under pressure to reach a destination. Open with the journey underway, then show the character getting lost or realizing that he is lost. Let us see his efforts to find his way and let us share his emotions.

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Critique: In your analysis look at whether the author draws us into the character's predicament. Does the author use scene and senses to pull us into the character's emotional state? In what specific ways does the author create the tension?


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