I’ve been reworking the first chapter of Paladin today. In my meanderings, I came across an exercise, which I thought was going to be horrible to do and of no consequence. I’m not sure there is such a thing as writing of no consequence now.
The exercise was to take a line, divide it in half, begin your exercise with the last half of the line and end with the first half. I think they gave ten lines to choose from. I chose the following and the excerpt is the final paragraphs of the work. I fudged a bit, and changed it, but you can see the concept.
“They avoided the subject of war, but spoke of a more distant past and of the future.”
“I am not the high priestess, but I think she will agree this is the beginning of the time of the dragon. The first of the four prophecies.”
Maija stood again. She ran her hands through her hair and then dropped slowly to her knees. “Oh, Highness. What have I done?”
The princess walked to her and put her hand on her shoulder. “You have done nothing. Fate and Destiny are singing their songs and these words were written long before your birth. You could no more resist what they have decreed than I can fly.” She raised the cat to her face, where the cat opened its eyes and studied her with mild interest. “Little one. Go home to the dragons now and tell them the time has come.” She tossed it into the air and watched as it shimmered and turned into a fairy dragon once more.
Maija stared in astonishment. “You knew he wasn’t a sheka cat?”
The princess laughed. It was a light, tinkling sound which might have lifted from the throats of bluebells. “I can feel the difference in sheka magic and fairy dragon magic. However, it has been so long since I have held a sheka I didn’t want to ruin his fun. Now we must speak in earnest and not avoid the subject of war.”
At one point in time I used to think writing exercises was fun, but if I was in the middle of a project it was hard to justify the time spent doing them. I can’t tell you how many times I have done an exercise, which added an intriguing element to my work.
Writing exercises, like physical exercises stretch a person and make them try harder. I’ll post more exercises in the coming days, which turned into pieces of a novel.