Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Remember awe
These exercises were written
by IWW members
and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its
You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that
them at the Internet Writers Workshop
Prepared by: Rhéal Nadeau
Posted on: June 30, 2002
Reposted on: May 16, 2004
Reposted on: July 17, 2005
This is one of our "Remembering" exercises. The idea behind these
exercises is to learn to
draw from our own memories and experiences - these are our most basic
writers. (Too many writers try to write based on abstract concepts,
resulting in weak,
For example, we have all known love - it might not have been Romeo and
Juliet love, but
then did Shakespeare himself experience that type of blinding passion?
ever experience murderous jealousy, as in Othello, or did he simply
jealousies and build on those when creating that play?
This week, we will remember a moment of awe in our lives. By this I
mean an experience
that impressed us greatly at the time, that perhaps opened new
understandings, for us. This could be an encounter with nature -
anything from seeing the
Grand Canyon to witnessing the transformation of a caterpillar into a
butterfly; it could be
a great work of man: a building, an opera, a poem; it could be an
achievement, such as
Neil Armstrong taking his first step on the moon, or a baby taking
*its* first step.
As I tried to show in the examples above, this does not have to be an
epic event or
scene; often the small things are the most impressive. (Also, my
examples tend towards
positive events, but we also feel awe at negative experiences: the
devastation of war,
perhaps, or the destructive force of a hurricane. "Awe" is the root of
both "awesome" and
"awful", after all. This exercise is open to either side, though I
personally lean towards the
Write your submission honestly: remember what you experienced, how you
felt, as well
as you can; don't embellish, don't make things up to make a better
story. Remember that
the point of this exercise is to learn to remember; using those
memories in our writing
So the exercise: in 300 words or less (preferably), describe a moment
in your life where
you felt awed by something. How did you feel? Did this experience
change you, cause
you to see things in a different way?
Rhéal Nadeau's wrap-up
Posted on: July 6, 2002
I have enjoyed reading the submissions this week, and seeing the
variety of things or
circumstances that have generated awe for the participants. These
ranged from small
personal moments to major events; in all cases, though, awe came about
as a result of
being made to see things in a different way, though an event that
challenged what we tend
to take for granted.
How does this apply to our writing? As the submissions showed, awe is a
of change (even if only in how we perceive things - which in turn can
change how we act,
or react), and much of the best writing deals with how people change.
we are affected by what we experience can only help make us better
My congratulations to all the participants this week.
Web site created by
Rhéal Nadeau and
the administrators of the Internet Writing Workshop.
Modified by Gayle Surrette.