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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Looking Ahead - Speculative Fiction

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 and Carter Jefferson
Posted on: September 4, 2011
Reposted on: March 24, 2013
Reposted on: March 1, 2015
Reposted on: July 17, 2016
Reposted on: July 29, 2017

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write the beginning of a story set in the future, near or far.

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It used to be called Science Fiction—now it's called Speculative Fiction. It's not Fantasy, not likely to deal with Zombies or Vampires, but it is the writer's take on the future. Will we visit other planets? Will we solve the climate change problem? Will the Chinese rule the world, and what would that be like? Is the future dystopian or utopian?

Think about what schools might be like in the future or what kinds of pets people would have? Could there be technology that would allow us to read each others' minds? What would the life span be in the future? Will the future be peaceful or full of wars? Will the map of the world have changed--countries disappeared, absorbed, destroyed? What about transportation in the future? Will we be 'beaming' ourselves hither and yon? And population--will there be standing room only? Jobs? Love—discouraged or encouraged?

The market for speculative fiction is strong and shows no sign of slowing. Maybe you'll write the beginning of a new bestseller.

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write the beginning of a story set in the future, near or far.

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In your critique consider whether the future the author presents is believable. What kind of detail does the author use to give life to his/her view of the future? Is this view of the future likely to happen? Does the author intrigue us, make us want to go further into his/her idea of the future. Would you read on? Why?


Web site created by Rhéal Nadeau and the administrators of the Internet Writing Workshop.
Modified by Gayle Surrette.