Sunday, April 8, 2012

This Week's Practice Exercise

Money is the motive.

Prepared by: Carter Jefferson
Posted on: Sunday, April 8, 2012

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write a scene in which a character takes a risk out of greed or need for money, showing the reader what leads to that choice or what results from the action taken.

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"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."-- 1 Timothy 6:10 (KJV). Despite that admonition, most of us, Christian or otherwise, don't mind picking up a few bucks now and then, and some have become downright greedy.

Mysteries, thrillers, memoirs, literary novels--all those genres include stories in which characters pursue wealth, or somehow act out of desperation, seeking to gain money only to end up in difficult straits. For this exercise, you are to write a scene that shows a character facing or succumbing to the temptation to pull off a monetary coup, or suffering the consequences of doing so.

You have lots of latitude, but make sure the reader understands the character's motivation, and wants to know more about what happens. The character can be someone like a mugger or a bank robber, a mother desperate to feed her children, a businessman seeking power, or anyone else who decides to take a chance in order to make a monetary gain. If you choose to show the consequences, they need not be dire or even very serious, but they must make clear that the character involved pays a price.

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Exercise: In 400 words or less, write a scene in which a character takes a risk out of greed or need for money, showing the reader what leads to that choice or what results from the action taken.

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In your critiques, note whether the character comes alive, and whether you can see the motives behind the character's actions.


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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