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Exercise Wednesday: The Imposter

September 12, 2012

In today’s exercise, we’re writing about a character who isn’t what he or she seems to be. There are plenty of examples for this to draw from. One of the richest is Mad Men‘s Don Draper. If you follow Mad Men, you know that Don isn’t really Don Draper. He’s Dick Whitman. He assumed the mantle of Don Draper after the real Don Draper was killed in the Korean War.

This faux Don becomes a salesman and ultimately a very good ad executive. He’s a good father, but a horrible husband. He’s a trusted mentor for some, and a source of fear and unease for other. And in spite of the people around him, he’s always alone.

That’s one of many ways to be an imposter. Consider these:

  • The constant fear among some high achievers that the curtain will be pulled back and they will be shown to be much less than their accomplishments seem to indicate.
  • The closeted homosexual, constantly living with the knowledge that he or she isn’t what they project, and dealing with the integrity issues around that and the wonder whether they’re somehow wrong or evil.
  • Someone mentoring a person they don’t really care for.
  • A husband or wife trying to make the best of a rotting marriage by pretending it’s fine.
  • A single mom juggling jobs who resents her children for the freedom they have and she’s given up.

Time limit: 25 minutes

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2 Comments
  1. September 12, 2012 11:17 am

    Great writing prompt, Chris. In other news… I have been trying to reach you about sending my a goody bag donation from Write By The Water to your conference. My email is
    wbtwater@gmail.com
    Thanks!
    Linda Sands

  2. Chris Hamilton permalink
    September 12, 2012 12:10 pm

    Linda, thanks for the kind words. I’ve sent your e-mail address to our marketing chair.

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