Monday, March 26, 2007

This Week's IWW Practice Workshop Exercise

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 Writing Workshop. Information about the IWW and all its individual lists can be found on the IWW Home Page.

"Every picture tells a story" (Version 2)
Prepared by: Rheal Nadeau
Posted on: March 8, 2003
Reposted on: January 11, 2004
Reposted on: January 16, 2005
Reposted, revised, on: March 25, 2007

Exercise: In 100 to 300 words or less describe a single moment in time -- a snapshot that tells a story without dialogue or action, but is capable of capturing a revealing moment that evokes an entire story. Use simple descriptive language, and remember to show, not tell.

  • Often a scene, a photo, or a drawing, can tell an entire story without any action, words, interpretation, or explanation.
  • A walk can reveal a half-eaten orange lying on the ground, a gate hanging from one hinge, or an elderly gentleman standing at the corner of a busy street. An empty house with broken windows, leaves floating in a swimming pool, or an abandoned toy on a side walk--all lend themselves to this exercise.
  • With careful attention to detail, help the reader to see that defining moment in time.
  • If you include people in the scene, remember to describe the scene as if you were looking at a snapshot.
Critiquing suggestions

What is the single revealing moment you take away from the scene's description?
What part of the writing helped you to see the moment hidden in the picture?

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