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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Transitions (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: Florence Cardinal
Revised by: Bob Sanchez
Posted on: Sun, 15 Apr 2001
Reposted on: Sun, 27 Jan 2002
Reposted on: Sun, 20 Apr 2003
Reposted on: Sat, 24 Jan 2004
Reposted on: Sun, 22 Jan 2006
Reposted on: Sun, 30 Sep 2007
Reposted on: Sun, 2 Aug 2009
Reposted on: Sun, 30 Jan 2011
Reposted on: Sun, 23 Sep 2012
Revised and Reposted on: Sun, 20 Mar 2016

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, smoothly move a character from one location to another, or from the present back to the past, or forward to the future.

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Moving a character from one scene to another is often a tricky maneuver for a writer. If a character changes location too quickly, readers feel disoriented and confused. But if the action drags, weighted down with too many details, or unnecessary conversation, a readerís attention flags.

For example, your story might include these transitions: an employee walks into the bossís office, endures an angry scolding, and then Ö heís fired. He's told to make himself scarce. So he quickly leaves the office building and walks into a nearby bar to have a drink and contemplate his future.

Hereís another type of transition: a realtor decides to explore a house thatís just come on the market. She unlocks the front door, walks into an empty room, feels disoriented, and suddenly finds herself standing in the past. The house is now furnished in Fifties style. She sees a family sharing dinner around a dining room table.

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, smoothly move a character from one location to another, or from the present back to the past, or forward to the future.

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In your critique, decide if the character moved naturally from the opening situation into the one that follows. Did you easily follow the action? Or did you feel confused or disoriented?


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