REVIEW: “Tapping the Source” by Elizabeth Hand

Review of Elizabeth Hand, “Tapping the Source”, in Tod McCoy and M. Huw Evans, eds., Pocket Workshop: Essays on Living as a Writer (Hydra House Clarion West Writers Workshop, 2021): 119-122 — Purchase here. Reviewed by Sara L. Uckelman. (Read the review of the anthology.)

In this essay, Hand offers an alternative to the standard adage “write what you know”. Instead, she says “write what you’ve felt” (p. 119), and that the scenes which draw upon your own emotional experiences are the ones that will resonate with readers. In order to help people develop the skill of writing what they’ve felt, she provides a two-step exercise, one that she has used effectively in teaching over many years. It feels a bit awkward to simply repeat the instructions in this review, and I’m not sure that summarising would get me something much different, so I’ll leave it at: This exercise looks like a useful and valuable one, even if done individually instead of as part of a group, and I look forward to trying it.

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