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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Message in a Bottle

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: Norman Cooper
Posted on: Sun, August 9, 2015

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, create a scene where the character sends a message to him/herself in the past. Be creative with how the message is sent and delivered.

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How often have we said, If only I had known then what I know now? Or regretted not acting on a gut feeling?

What if there were a way to send a message to stay home from work on a certain day? That the younger self should say hello to the pretty lady that you saw on the train everyday? Or to make a different choice, in hope of a better outcome?

According to some theories of Time Travel, our actions in the present could alter the future. Could this message change the course of history? How? Does your character understand this? Could it be part of his/her motive in sending the message?

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, create a scene where the character sends a message to him/herself in the past. Be creative with how the message is sent and delivered.

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In your critique, note how well the writer has constructed the setting and shown us authentic characters acting in believable ways. Would you like to read more of the story? And, as usual, pay attention to all the technical concerns that go into good writing.


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Modified by Gayle Surrette.