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Finding That Right Word

    By Henry McLaughlin It seems to me the more writing I do, the more I find myself looking for the right word, the perfect word to convey what I want. Maybe it’s the color of a character’s eyes, or the fury of a thunderstorm scudding across the sky. It might be the clamor of city streets or the stillness of a forest at sundown. I become a perfectionist, seeking the best word to engage the reader in the story at that moment. When this happens early in my writing process, like the first or second draft, I’ve sometimes forgotten one of the cardinal rules I learned early in my career—get the first draft out. Don’t stop writing to go searching for perfection. I’ll lose whatever momentum I’ve developed. I’ll stop writing. Norah Lofts is credited with saying, “I can fix a bad page. I can’t fix a blank page.” This advice has inspired me to keep writing, even when what’s coming out is junk. Why? Because if I’ve got junk on the page, I’ve got something to work with. I’ve learned that e

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