Saturday, February 20, 2010

This Week's Practice Exercise

Graffiti
Prepared by: Ruth Douillette
Reposted on: Sun, 21 Feb 2010

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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 common place 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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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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Critique by commenting on how well the story uses the graffiti as the point of conflict in the story. How does the writer's choice of the protagonist make the story more effective than if told through the eyes of a different character?


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.

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