Sunday, February 19, 2012

This Week's Practice Exercise

Post Cards - Wish You Were Here

Prepared by: Alice Folkart
Reposted on: Sunday, February 19, 2012

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In 400 words or less construct a story in the form of a series of post cards. Give us only what is on the post cards being sent from one person to another, letting the post card messages stand on their own, allowing the reader to decide what effect the messages have on the recipient.

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Maybe you don't save old letters and postcards, but if you did, you might sometimes look them over and be reminded of significant events and people in your life. They might rekindle past joy or pain, confusion or fear, love or anger; or they could remind you of choices made and people long-gone from your life.

Create a series of post cards that tells a story, a one-sided correspondence--son to mother, husband to wife, friend to friend, where we see only one side of the story and must intuit the other. The messages might be brief, of the, 'Arrived Rome safely, Love Meg,' or 'Lost passport. Send money,' variety, or the very detailed kind, overflowing with sentiment and emotion, squeezed onto every available space on the card. Is the writer trying to hide something, using the distance to say something difficult, showing off, or maybe ending a relationship, or starting a business?

Resist the urge to describe the picture on the post card, let your character's words tell us where he is, why he's there, and what it has to do with his story.

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In 400 words or less construct a story in the form of a series of post cards. Give us only what is on the post cards being sent from one person to another, letting the post card messages stand on their own, allowing the reader to decide what effect the messages have on the recipient.

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Your critique should address how well this story, told in small segments by one person, holds together. What do we read between the lines about the relationship between the writer and the recipient? Is there a subliminal message? Does it seem that the writing is hiding something, hoping for something? Are the postcard messages falsely cheery or glum? Do you believe what the writer says? Do the messages make us want to know more?

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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