Writer's StudioLast Friday at my Wild Writers critique meeting, someone commented on how she was chomping at the bit to start a new novel, and a few people echoed her excitement about the joys of the first draft, free and unfettered.

For them anyway.

I’m still not completely out of my habit of agonizing over word choices as I write. I’ll catch myself hesitating because the word or phrase or sentence I just wrote isn’t quite what I mean and what if I forget about it when I start to revise?

The truth is that I’m not going to forget. if it’s bad, I’ll see it and can fix it. So this Studio is less about editing as you go and more about selecting the right words.

I’ll use a short excerpt from a story-in-progress called “Kat Flynn’s Guide to Getting Over a Crush.” I will be offering it on all e-formats in May to celebrate the 5th anniversary of the publication of Fact of Life #31.

The Excerpt

He was standing just outside the gym, talking and laughing with a group of guys and girls. All six-foot-two, dark-haired awesomeness of him right over there. So close and yet so far away. My heart did its usual skip-beat, warmth flooding through me.

Okay, I’m not sure how I’m going to change this yet, but I do want to point out some weaknesses I see already.

  • The first sentence opens the story. It’s fine, but I think it could patch a little more punch. I’ll work on that.
  • It has a been there, read that quality. How many different ways can you describe what it feels like to spot your crush? I don’t know, but I’d like to find a way that hasn’t been overdone.
  • “So close and yet so far away” is cliched. It actually works here because Kat would say that, but I think I want to try something different, something that gives a better sense of how she’s really feeling about a guy she can’t stop thinking about who may never look at her in any meaningful way.

It looks like I have my work cut out for me! What else do you see in this excerpt that could be strengthened?