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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Take a Number

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: Charles Hightower
Posted on: 2 April 2017

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, show a group of individuals whose number is
gradually being reduced by one. Describe how they disappear, along
with interactions between the remaining members. How do they react
when one of their group leaves the scene?

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The situation might be people waiting in line at the Department of
Motor Vehicles or doctor's office, individuals awaiting an audition,
or pledges waiting for initiation into a fraternity or sorority.
They might be bank hostages waiting for release, space travelers in
some weird jail, or even captives expecting the worst.

When a particular member is removed, does their absence serve to lighten
or sour the mood? If strangers initially, can the individuals remain so as the
plot unfolds? If the mood is grim or tense, do the remaining members truly
know what happened to their former comrades? Or might they assume the
worst?

You might choose to follow one of the 'chosen', and allow readers to
learn their fate. Or maybe you have other ideas.

Remember to show, not tell. And consider how dialogue and action can
help to shape your characters into living, breathing images.

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, show a group of individuals whose number is
gradually being reduced by one. Describe how they disappear, along
with interactions between the remaining members. How do they react
when one of their group leaves the scene?

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Critique: Were you drawn into the scene? Were you able to visualize
the characters, and experience their situation? You might point out
particular sections that were terrific or in need of improvement, and
identify why this was so. As always, be sure to review for grammar,
spelling, and the common flaws in writing.


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