Kathleen Rice Adams, talented writer and my Texas rival in gatherin’ all those wonderful maverick hunks, tagged me in the LOOK Challenge. “Look” is one of those words for which writers are always on the lookout. Like other words related to the senses, “look” can distance readers from the point-of-view character’s experience, so we try to use it with caution. The Look Challenge is a game writers play to remind us to keep an eye out for the overused word and replace it with something more evocative when appropriate. (Plus, the game lets us show off snippets of our works in progress.)

The rules of the Look Challenge require those who’ve been tagged to find the first occurrence of “look” in their work in progress, and then post that sentence and the surrounding paragraph(s). Then they have to tag an unspecified number of friends. Here’s my contribution. This is from the first draft of my wip OPEN FIRES a Western Historical:

He tipped back his Stetson. “Well I won’t smell pretty, Miss Walker, but I’ll be just fine in my shirt and denims.”

Her mouth curved in what might have been the start of a smile for less than a second. She rose gathering the buckskins to her chest. He unfolded from the ground and looked around until he had to make a move. “I’ll just step outside while you change.”

Again a small hand rested on his stopping him quicker than a bullet. She stripped his coat from her shoulders. “You need this.” A tremor shook her body.

“No ma’am you…”

She gave her head a small shake and a flash of fire ignited behind the fear and shock in her eyes. No matter what ordeal the woman faced recently, Nathan recognized an iron will. That warm feeling in his belly started again. He yanked on the coat and stepped outside into the cold Montana night. How the hell did he get into this?

Copyright @ 2012  Kirsten Lynn (no re-printing or copying without permission from the author)



21 thoughts on “THE LOOK CHALLENGE

  1. Really nice, Wyomin’ Kid! I’ve already got a hankerin’ to spend some time with Nathan. One question: How in the world did that man manage to keep his clothes, bein’ he’s in your corral and all? 😉

    • Thanks, Tex! This is only page five of the wip, so I managed to restrain myself and not strip him down in Chapter one! Though it took an enormous amount of self-restraint, cause Nathan is a fine man!

      –Kirsten Lynn

  2. Ah, Kirsten…I know I use “LOOK” a LOT in my stuff. I have to be on the “LOOKOUT” for it all the time, because I do describe a lot of interaction with the characters’ glances. Let me see what I can come up with…where do I post it? Shall I post it here?

    • Or post it on FB, so everyone can enjoy, Cheryl! This is another awesome excerpt, but I never expected anything different from you! You never disappoint! 🙂

      –Kirsten Lynn

    • Aw, thanks a bunch, Tammie!! This was one of those where I finished the first draft and a new set of characters started talking fast and furious to get their story told. But I agree, I need to get back and edit this one. Just reading the first pages again reminded me how much I love this story.

      –Kirsten Lynn

  3. Here’s mine from Gabriel’s Law. Brandon Gabriel is being attacked by the men of the town who hired him to get rid of a gang. Now that the gang is gone, they don’t want to pay him. This is on page 3-4.

    He tried to shake away the memory as the whip found its mark again, this time across his neck and shoulders. He heard Smith roar in pain as the backlash caught him on the cheek. But Brandon made no sound. His harsh training had been equal in both worlds, Comanche and Anglo. He clenched his teeth and bit back his groan of pain.
    They converged on him, and he was almost thankful. At least, they were finished with the whip. Now, it would only be a matter of time. Still, he fought as they tried to grasp his arms. They struggled for several minutes before subduing him, four of them holding his arms pinned behind his back, forcing him to stand.
    Arnold Smith’s florid features swam into his view, and he realized Smith was redder than usual because he was looking at him through a haze of his own blood.
    “You understand, don’t you, Gabriel?” Smith asked. “It’s just business.”

    • Thanks so much, Caroline! I really appreciate the compliment, especially from such an accomplished author.

      –Kirsten Lynn

    • I know, Charlene! I was a bit embarrassed when I hit the “find” feature and all the “looks” started popping up.

      –Kirsten Lynn

    • Devon, thanks so much! I really appreciate the encouragement! I’ll be bringing Nathan out of for revisions soon.

      –Kirsten Lynn

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