Sunday, August 31, 2008

This Week's Practice Exercise~

Prepared by: Ruth Douillette
Reposted, revised on: Sunday, 31 August 2008



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Exercise: In fewer than 400 words write a story in which the conflict revolves
around graffiti. Use first person POV. The person speaking need not be the one who
wrote the graffiti, but could be.

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Coming up with story ideas can be the hardest part of writing, yet imaginative
writers often build stories around seemingly inconsequential objects or
commonplace images that others might overlook. Creating a story from the smallest
detail is a skill worth developing. This exercise provides practice in developing a
story around such a simple detail: a few words of graffiti.

Words are everywhere, even places they don't belong: spray painted on bridges,
lipsticked on public restroom walls, scratched into an old school desk, carved on the
trunk of a tree, smudged in the grease on the back of a truck.

You might write about a sixteen year-old girl who writes a note using her finger on
the fogged rear window of her dad's Chevy. The message emerges again on a rainy
day when Dad is driving the family to church. Or perhaps a man calls the number
scratched on the wall of a gas station restroom, and recognizes his neighbor's voice.
Does she recognize his?

Have fun with this, but remember the point is to spin a story from a simple detail.
Push your imagination, and enjoy.

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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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