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Exercise: Fear itself

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 (http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/).

Prepared by: Bob Sanchez
Posted on: February 3, 2008
Reposted on: September 20, 2009
Reposted on: October 3, 2010
Reposted on: December 23, 2012
Reposted on: September 21, 2014


Exercise: In 400 words or fewer, show us a person beset by fear.


"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," FDR famously said.

We humans are hardwired to feel a range of emotions to fit the circumstances we face: love, hatred, anger, and joy, to name a few. They can be intertwined and confused, as fear and cowardice often are. Some succumb to their fears, while others don't. The soldier in combat knows he may die at any moment, yet he does his duty. Firefighters and police officers face their fears, yet do their jobs.

But we don't have to face death to feel fear. What about that final exam? That job interview? The speech you have to give? The teenager you're still waiting up for, and it's one a.m.? The sources of fear are endless; it can be the only reasonable emotion, or it can be irrational.

Get inside the poor bloke's head, letting us know how the person feels and why. The fear can be of pain or death, but feel free to inflict the worry of shame, imprisonment, divorce, dishonor, hell, public speaking, or even success.


Exercise: In 400 words or fewer, show us a person beset by fear.


In your critiques, consider whether the submission evokes a strong emotion in you--and never fear, because these Practice subs are always about the writing and never about the writer.

Have fun!!

Web site created by Rhéal Nadeau and the administrators of the Internet Writing Workshop.
Modified by Gayle Surrette.