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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Thief

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: Sun, March 3, 2013

____________

This is a double exercise in which we are challenged to write a scene in 400 or fewer words in which someone is observed stealing something, but which ends at the very point where we expect to find out what happens-- a cliffhanger. How you conclude the scene should make the reader eager to go on to the next chapter.

____________

Either the observer or the thief could be the narrator, or you could step back and have the story told from the point of view of an omniscient narrator who sees and knows all—motives, background, personalities. Then, instead of neatly tying up the plot, leave us wondering what is going to happen next.

Will we be sympathetic with the thief who may be stealing food for his children or will we be irate at the car thief who just wants a joy ride? Will we wonder what the fond grandmother will do when she stumbles upon her favorite grandchild going through her purse looking for money? How will we feel about the wealthy matron being observed by a department store clerk lifting costume jewelry?

Does the theft hurt anyone else? Does the observer feel compelled to do something or to walk away and avoid involvement? What about the thief’s emotions, the observer’s? The thief could be a confident pro or a terrified amateur. The observer might feel ambivalent about wanting to stop the crime, but also not wanting the risk that comes with interfering.

____________

This is a double exercise in which we are challenged to write a scene in 400 or fewer words in which someone is observed stealing something, but which ends at the very point where we expect to find out what happens-- a cliffhanger. How you conclude the scene should make the reader eager to go on to the next chapter.

____________

In your critique tell us whether the story has led you to understand or sympathize with the thief and why. You might also let us know whether the author has made you want to know what happens next. If he or she has, explain what it is about the story and/or the characters that makes you want to read on. Can you imagine how the story might end? Are the characters and situation believable? And of course, keep an eye on the grammar and spelling in the piece.


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Modified by Gayle Surrette.