Monday, August 20, 2007

This week's IWW Practice exercise~

Exercise: Sounds of Silence

Prepared by: Rheal Nadeau (Original title: Hush!)
Posted on: 19 Feb 2001
Reposted on: 7 Apr 2002
Reposted on: 13 Feb 2005
Reposted, revised on: 13 Aug 2006
Reposted on: 19 Aug 2007

Exercise: In 300 words or less, write a scene in which you depict total silence
without using the words "silence," "quiet," or other synonyms.

This assignment deals with the absence of something, in this case sound. Describing
the absence of something can be more difficult than describing something that is

A story might include a moment where the action ceases and all becomes quiet.
Something shuts off, or stops moving and silence prevails. Perhaps the crying baby
finally falls asleep, or the neighbor's dog stops barking. It is easy to describe noise,
but how do you describe silence?

Choose a setting. Add some noise. Create an event that causes the noise to stop and
show the reader what that "sounds" like. How does it feel? What emotions occur as
a result of the silence? The silence might feel peaceful, comforting, relaxing,
ominous, threatening, or foreboding.

A thought--total silence is rare. Will there be other sounds that begin to intrude on
the silence?

Critique by assessing how well the essence of silence was portrayed. Could you
"feel" the change from noise to quiet emotionally? Did it engender a certain mood?
Was the story free from synonyms for silence?
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 (

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