Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: A Child is Born (Version 2)
These exercises were written
by IWW members
and administrators to provide structured practice opportunities for its
You are welcome to use them for practice as well. Please mention that
them at the Internet Writers Workshop
Prepared by: Carter Jefferson
Posted on: 18 February 2007
Reposted on: 11 May 2008
Revised and reposted on: 24 May 2009
Reposted on: 1 August 2010
Reposted on: 14 August 2011
Reposted on: 11 November 2012
Reposted on: 28 September 2014
Revised and reposted on: 21 January 2018
In 400 words or less, write a scene in which a birth plays an
important part, and show at least the beginnings of any
changes this new arrival might cause.
Birth can be an occasion for joy, something to celebrate with
flowers and gifts, or it may be a disaster for everyone
concerned. Sometimes a birth comes as a surprise. It may not
be planned, anticipated, nor welcomed. It may take place in a
hospital, an ordinary bedroom, or a cotton field. By its very
nature, it causes change -- in a happy family, in the life of a
single mother, or in the hopes of succession among the
children of a king.
For this exercise, you need not show the actual birth process.
But make sure that your scene shows the immediate or implied
changes wrought by the blessed event.
In your critiques, note how well the setting is constructed,
and whether we have been shown authentic characters acting
in believable ways. What do we learn of the characters from
their reactions to the birth? What future actions does the
scene foreshadow? Would you like to read more of the story?
And as usual, pay attention to all the technical concerns
that play into good writing.
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Modified by Gayle Surrette.