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IWW Practice-W Exercise Archives
Exercise: Lighten up!

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: Margery Casares
Posted on: Mon, 5 Mar 2001
Reposted on: Sun, 28 Mar 2004
Reposted on: Mon, 4 Jul 2005

Exercise: Lighten up!

A writer may describe light in several ways. Light has color, character, and motion, and it has a definite effect upon the beholder. There are numerous descriptive words for light.

LIGHT COLORS: A few words used to describe light are: opalescent, silvery, dusky, golden, pearly, coppery, frosty, dusky, et cetera.

LIGHT CHARACTER: A few descriptive words for the character of light are: dim, bright, brilliant, faint, murky, intense, shadowy, obscure, mellow, bleak, wan, hazy, pale, radiant, soft et cetera.

LIGHT MOVEMENT: Picture light suggested by the following adjectives: dim, bright, brilliant, faint, murky, intense, shadowy, obscure, mellow, bleak, wan, hazy, pale, radiant, soft, fading, beaming, glowing, et cetera.

LIGHT EFFECT: A few light effect words are: dazzling, blinding, glaring, soothing, cheery, stimulating, peaceful, depressing, gloomy, dismal, somber, cold, hot, warm, chilling, cool, irritating.

Choose words to describe light by keeping in mind that your description must reflect the disposition and mood you wish to create for the reader.

EXERCISE: Write a scene or scenes in 300 words or less, using light to illuminate the reader's understanding of the character, the setting, or the activity in the scene.

Patricia Johnson's wrap-up
Posted on: April 18, 2004

Several forms of light were used in the submissions. They included a good mix of natural and artificial light; TV light in a darkened room, light in a cemetery, neon light, strobe light, cigarette light, candle light, flames, starlight, moonlight, and sunsets. Some of the techniques for using light included contrasting light and shadow, animal's reactions to natural light, transformation from day to night, and using light as a living image. Some submissions relied on one source of light, while others used many diverse kinds of light.

The most successful submissions managed to describe light in detail so precisely that it was essential to the piece. When light was used well it created mood, showed changes and emotions of characters, represented symbolism and foreshadowing, and worked in harmony with the story without distracting the reader. Many submissions managed to give a good excerpt piece without relying on a finished story line.

Things to address next time include close attention to the details of light. Clarity is necessary. Tying the light accurately to the mood and emotions in a story takes time to develop well. Rewriting may be necessary before submitting to the list. A total picture can be conveyed using light in a short word count, but it takes practice!

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Modified by Gayle Surrette.