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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Oh God, Why Me? (Version 4)

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: Prepared by: Rhéal Nadeau
Posted on: September 14, 2003
Reposted on: September 26, 2004
Reposted on: October 2, 2005
Revised and reposted on: February 25, 2007
Reposted on: May 28, 2008
Revised and reposted on: May 17, 2009
Revised and reposted on: August 23, 2015

____________

In 400 words, write a scene with someone faced with a series of unfortunate events that creates a worsening situation. This continues to build until a crisis demands action or reaction from the main character.

____________

A necessary element in fiction, as in life, is conflict. Conflict creates tension, raises challenges, and adds suspense to a story. In short stories, the focus will usually be on a single type of conflict. In longer works, we'll usually find a mixture of conflicts.

In your work, you should build a series of conflicts that become an obstacle for the character. The chain of catastrophes might be told as a grim history, or could even be shared as a humorous tale.

Think of a series of failures that lead to a train derailment or hazardous waste spill, a progression of miscommunications that lead to fistfight or warfare, or the calamity of a badly planned wedding or funeral. How does the character react to these events? Does the character feel anger or self-pity? Does the character persevere or change direction?

____________

In 400 words, write a scene with someone faced with a series of unfortunate events that creates a worsening situation. This continues to build until a crisis demands action or reaction from the main character.

____________

When critiquing, look at what forces are at play, and how the events unfold. Does the character react in a credible - and interesting - way? If anything stretches credibility, say so. On the other hand, also point out the things that work well.


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