Sunday, January 16, 2011

This Week's Practice Exercise

Family Rules (v.2)
Prepared by: Loretta Russell and Carter Jefferson
Posted on: January 16, 2011
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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write a scene in which a character breaks a "family rule" and suggest what the consequences of this action will be.

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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?

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, bringing two sets of family rules to the union, conflict often ensues.

In your sub, let your reader know, either by implication or through dialog, what rule is in force. Show a character breaking it, or let us know that it's been broken by showing us the reactions of other family members.

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

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In your critiques, let the writer know whether the rule in question is clear and the consequences of breaking it are properly shown. Comment on any aspect of the writing that needs improvement as well as complimenting the writer for things well done.

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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