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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: What's Your View?

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.internetwritingwor kshop.org/).

Prepared by: Florence Cardinal
Posted on: September 1, 2002

Do you have trouble writing description, painting a word picture so others can see what you are trying to describe? Hopefully, this week's exercise will make it a little simpler.

This is in two parts. First, in 300 words or less, describe something you can see, or have seen often, something you know well. It can be the view from your window, the room where you're sitting, your house, your street, or the lake where you spend your holidays. Describe it exactly as it is.

Now, again in 300 words or less, take that same scene and embellish it. Is there a garden in your back yard? Fill it with exotic flowers, add a gazebo or a rose arbor. If you're describing the room you're in, hang different artwork on the walls. Add a Persian carpet or one of thick, white pile. Furnish it any way you want. To clarify, this is two views of exactly the same place or object, one exactly as it is, and one using that marvelous imagination of yours.

This can also be done the opposite way. If you described your house - a brick two story, or a small white cottage, turn it into a ramshackle shack. Peel off paint, fill the yard with weeds. Add broken shutters and missing boards. You probably live on an average street. Turn it into a slum, make it dirty and dangerous. Or add turrets and a dungeon and a fire breathing dragon. It's all up to you. If you change one small thing at a time, you will soon have something altogether different than the original description.

This is an exercise to stretch your imagination, to help you see that you don't have to invent completely alien or imagined settings for your story. Instead, take what you have on hand, what you can see and know well, and add the elements you need for your story. If the fairy godmother in Cinderella could change a pumpkin into a golden chariot, then you can change your old Dodge truck into a rocket ship.

Florence Cardinal's wrap-up
Posted on: September 8, 2002

Again, another productive week with the majority of submissions showing an understanding of what the exercise required. You showed us your bedrooms, work space, offices, spare rooms, garages, and more.

Not only did you do the exercise as required but you gave the rest of us a tiny glimpse into a small part of your lives. And, hopefully, you've come to realize how easy it is to create a scene from almost nothing, to close your eyes, let your imaginations loose and change the world around you to something entirely different.

I hope this will make creating scenes for your stories easier for you. All it takes is a bit of practice and a bit of imagination.


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