Sunday, November 25, 2007

This Week's Practice exercise~

Exercise: Family Rules

Prepared by: Loretta Russell and Carter Jefferson
Posted on: November 25, 2007

Exercise: In 400 words or less, write a scene in which a character breaks a "family rule" and at least suggest what the consequences of this action will be.


Every therapist knows that families have "rules," some unconscious, and some known and openly enforced. Are doors in the house always closed, or open? Does the toilet paper always come out from the bottom or the top of the roll? Do all the girls start wearing lipstick at age 10? Is the boys' going out for sports teams essential? Is attendance required at holiday dinners, or may family members do as they choose?

Such rules usually keep families moving smoothly. They are to families what habits are to individuals--they save time and the effort of constantly making decisions. But when a rule is broken, sometimes serious trouble follows. And when people marry, they bring to a new family rules that may differ widely but seem utterly commonplace to each partner. Conflicts ensue.

In your sub, let the reader know what rule is in force, either by implication or by seeing characters discuss it. Show the character breaking it, or let us know that it's been broken by showing us the reactions of one or more family members.

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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