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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Danger

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, April 13, 2014
Posted on: Sun, April 17, 2016

____________

In lessn than 400 words, give us a character that must do something physically dangerous, show us what the character feels and what the stakes are in succeeding or failing. Your piece does not have to be a ‘story.’ You could just give us a view of character acting under pressure or in fear.

____________

Your character faces a challenge. Does he have to sneak behind enemy lines to rescue someone? Does she have to inch along a mountain ledge to get away from pursuers? Has someone dared your character to infiltrate a terrorist cell knowing that discovery would mean death? Or you might write about kids on a playground daring each other to do – what – break into the school at night, steal something, cross the river on spring ice floes, put a cow on the schoolhouse roof? The setting can be now, or in the past or future. What dangers did our ancestors face? What dangers might man face in the future?

Consider whether your character welcomes or fears this challenge and whether or not he or she is confident or feels unequal to what needs to be done.

Given the current penchant for action movies and violence-as-entertainment, you might want to fill your story with action. Your choice. But here’s a chance to practice.

____________

In 400 words or fewer give us a character that must do something physically dangerous, show us what the character feels and what the stakes are in succeeding or failing. Your piece does not have to be a ‘story.’ You could just give us a view of character acting under pressure or in fear.

____________

In your critique examine whether the writer engages us. Does the story/situation make us hold our breath? Do we vicariously experience what the character is going through? Does the writer use sensory and physical detail to pull us into the moment? Would you read on? If not, why?


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