Can You Tell The Difference Between Practice And Execution?

On writing easy, practice books in preparation for your opus.

Bad Writing (without preparation):

Cardine thrust his sword into the ground; the grass and leaves were like delicate fringes of green lace around the sturdy metal blade.

“Upon mine honor, we will not leave the field without victory today!” Cardine cried. He wrapped his wife’s scarf around the pommel of his sword, and yanked the blade free of the ground. When he did so, a groaning emanated out of the grassy knoll upon which he stood, and ripples of green fire began to lick up between the blades of grass.

“It is a strong spell,” Vuron said, watching the green fire grow up towards the sky.

Good Writing (with preparation):

Prep: Cardine is on a rags-to-riches journey to defeat the Headless Count; he has got hold of an enchanted sword, and is accompanied by Vuron, a witch who made a bargain with the devil to deliver Cardine’s soul into hell at the moment of his victory.

Cardine’s homemade belt made a deep contrast to the luxurious leather of the great sword’s hilt; it looked, he thought, like a war horse dressed in a donkey’s harness.

I will take a fine sword harness and belt from the stores of the count, Cardine swore to himself, as he and Vuron came to the open valley that formed the last barrier between the farmlands and the count’s dark lands.

“You know it is a trap,” Vuron murmured. The witch’s bright gold hair shone in the afternoon sun; if she had not been in thrall to the devil, Cardine thought for the thousandth time, he would try to marry her.

“Should we push through?” Cardine asked. Vuron studied the tender green shoots of grass that clung to the ground before them.

“I do not know what he has done,” Vuron said.

“The sword will help us,” Cardine told her. He drew his blade, which gleamed in the bright air, and turned the point towards the enchanted meadow. Teach me what to say, Cardine thought, and he focused his mind on the knot of power that lay in the center of the sword.

Remember to give yourself space to write badly, even terribly, in order to get in shape for the writing you really care about.

Advertisements