I had only made it to the top of page four in my new novel when my character wound up pressing his lips together. But I’m not going to dither around and find a better way to put it for now. I’d really like to try moving more quickly through a first draft. So I’ll use my own personal cliche as a signpost for later.
I know that there are some writers out there who can push through the entire first draft of a novel without doing much editing at all. One of the reasons that I produce a semi-polished rough draft is that I belong to this wonderful on-line critique group, The Dreamweavers. We have a rotation system such that we take turns submitting on the weekends. (A discussion of our structure can be found on my website.) Three out of the six have been together for about twelve years. That practically makes us the dinosaurs of the electronic critiquing world. I value their input at all stages of a project, but I want their first exposure to my story to be positive, so my prose has to be up to a certain level.
My main character is pressing his lips together in a place that has several things in common with what you see in the picture below. But imagine white paint on the walls, which has faded due to centuries of sandstorms and neglect.