General info:
How it works
Too Many Emails?
Listserv Settings
Contact Us

Critiquing Lists:
Child/Young adult

Discussion Lists:

The IWW Blog Writing Advice

Other Topics:
Our administrators
Other writing lists
Books on writing
IWW History
Showcase of Successes

IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
"I Thought I Saw..."

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 Alice Folkart
Posted on 5 July 2009
Reposted on 8 Aug 2010
Reposted on 13 Jan 2013
Reposted on 20 July 2014


Exercise: Write a 400-word story that starts with "I thought I saw..." You may write in first or third person.

"I thought I saw..." is a fine opening for a fantasy or sci fi story, but also a good beginning for a mystery or psychological novel, even a love story. Did the bride think that she saw her groom's old girlfriend lurking behind a pillar in the church? There's certainly a story there. This exercise will give us practice in exploring the great "what if"? Think about how you'd feel if you had seen something that you thought was impossible or didn't exist--a dragon, an intergalactic alien, a character from your favorite book, a dead lover. Think about how you'd feel if you'd seen something you weren't supposed to see--your parents hiding your birthday present, the lady next door kissing the mailman, a friend shoplifting. Would you doubt yourself, your eyesight, your sanity?

Exercise: Write a 400-word story that starts with, "I thought I saw..." You may write in first or third person.

Critiquing: Did you find the writer's take on "I though I saw... " Interesting? Scary? Exciting? This is a good exercise to practice showing instead of telling. Did the writer clearly relay what he saw and what the consequences were? If you liked the piece, tell the writer why, and if you didn't, please say what it was that didn't work for you and what might have helped it to be better.

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