Show and Tell Wednesday: On one hand…



An idea stolen, ahem, borrowed from the “Hand in Hand” photo series created by Wofford College for  SharedWorlds 2013.

I know I tell this story often, so please excuse me if you’ve heard it:

I was about to sign up for my first fiction-writing class, a course that met once a week on Tuesday nights. It was taught by romance author Barbara Ankrum — who I’d never read before. Little Sis suggested I read her books so I’d know whether her writing jived with me. I found several of them, a historical and a contemporary, and read them both.

“I’ll never be able to write sexual tension that well!” I lamented after reading Renegade Bride.

“That’s not her first draft,” Little Sis replied sagely.

And that advice has led me through every step of my writing journey. In the darkest times, when I’m wrestling a manuscript that won’t come together or even reading a scathing review of one of my published books, I tell myself that my last word is not yet written. 

It’ll only get better from here, right?

Check out the entire “Hand in Hand” series for some inspiration.

What’s the writing advice you’d like to “hand” down? 🙂


7 responses to “Show and Tell Wednesday: On one hand…”

  1. Tamara Hogan says:

    Ooh! The Hand in Hand site is so cool, Jeannie. Great stuff there.

    The writing advice I’d like to hand down came from foul-mouthed author/blogger Chuck Wendig: “Your first draft can and should look like a f*cking war zone.”

    Reading this was such a relief to me! Carnage is…just part of the process. 😉

  2. Laurie Kellogg says:

    I LOVE this concept, Jeannie. It’s so true. A first draft is only a shadow of what a book can become. I’m doing a final polish on a rewrite of a book I wrote 13 years ago, submitted, and haven’t touched since. I was pleasantly surprised it was in better shape than I’d anticipated. That’s because it WASN’T the first draft.

    I write a lot of humor in my dialogue, interesting metaphors in my narrative, and lots of emotion, angst, and 5 senses in my characters’ internal thoughts and visceral reactions. Most of that doesn’t happen until the second pass on a manuscript. In the first draft, I’m too busy focusing on the GMC of the characters to worry about being witty or sentimental.

    Thanks for putting it into a short reminder not to judge our work too harshly while we’re writing. The end product is always so-o much better.

    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I’m toying with the idea of revisiting my first manuscript which I actually consider my first and fourth manuscript because it was completely re-written. It’s the only novel I’ve submitted that was never purchased….which makes me wonder if that should tell me something….

      But I’m hoping to have your experience when coming back to it. I hope it’s not too bad. It definitely isn’t a first draft, but it’s not a final one either!

  3. Kate Parker says:

    Such a timely reminder, since I’m trying to get organized on a new book. Where to start? Who dun it? Why? You know you’re in trouble when the subplot is in better shape than the plot. I feel a lot of drafts coming. Thanks for the words of comfort.


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