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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: SOS

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, November 2, 2014
Reposted on: Sun, November 13, 2016

____________

In 400 words or fewer write a scene in which we see someone who needs to be rescued. You might
want to show us the physical surroundings, briefly set up the situation, and give us a peek into the
character’s emotional state.

____________

Ships sinking, planes crashing, floodwaters rising, wild beasts circling for the kill, cars breaking
down in the night on lonely highways, burglars, kidnappers, your mother-in-law, your neighbor’s
dog, a boring blind date, shots in the night, street riots – any of these could trap and/or threaten a
character or characters leaving someone needing to be rescued. Is this happening in present reality,
in the historical past, or in a far galaxy? Is this story realistic or magical?

Your vignette could be gripping, frightening or funny. Perhaps a friend has been cornered by a
geeky bore at a party, and she signals with her eyes a plea for someone to rescue her. Or maybe a
boy is taking an important college exam, and is stuck, hit by questions that he never expected –
how is he rescued?

____________

In 400 words or fewer write a scene in which we see someone who needs to be rescued. You might
want to show us the physical surroundings, briefly set up the situation, and give us a peek into the
character’s emotional state.

____________

When critiquing, consider whether or not you were hooked by the opening, whether or not you
would have read further eager to know what would happen. Are the characters three-dimensional
or flat. Is the piece about character or are plot and action more important? And of course, consider
the quality of the writing.


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