Hand, hands, handsome, handed, handwritten…

I really feel as if I’m on the last stretch of editing my latest novel; when I’m writing, quite often my thoughts gallop away and sometimes I’m quite surprised later when I read it through to find exactly what I have written! When I am editing, it happens that word or phrase recur, as if they are favourites and I have to use them at least once, sometimes several times on every page. These days, with search and find available it is so easy to go through even a very long document and replace or alter the text; imagine how long it would take with a quill and ink and paper!

I had a flurry of utterlies, a bevy of feel/felts and I’m now finding an avalanche of hands. As I go through I eliminate some, replace some by fingers, arms, or shoulders, change the structure of the sentence, or use a completely different phrase, nothing to do with any part of the body.

The search function is useful, but as well as ‘hand’ it picks up other words which have that combination of letters; I was ignoring them until i realised I had used the word ‘handsome’ about ten times on one page… so handsome goes on my list to be checked after wonder/wonderful.

The word can be a noun, that part of the body at the end of your arm, but it can also be other things:

  • a pointer on a dial or clock
  • a cluster of bananas
  •  a piece of ginger
  •  a bale of tobacco leaves
  • a measurement for a horse or pony
  • a person who works at something, farm hand, dock hand, factory hand (which leads to phrases like ‘all hands on deck’ being an old hand at something)
  • a round of applause
  • the cards or pieces held by someone in a game
  • someone’s writing (written in the same hand)

… it can be a verb:

  • to hand something (also handle something)
  • and with prepositions, hand over, hand to, hand in – all with a slightly different meaning

… or can be used with a preposition in front:

  • on hand/hand on/hands on
  • on either hand
  • on the one hand… on the other
  • in hand/hand in/keep your hand in
  • at hand
  • at the hands of
  • hand off
  • to hand
  • out of hand/out of someone’s hands
  • in the hands of
  • hands up,
  • or joined to a preposition, underhand
  • get/lay/put your hands on someone or something
  • go hand in hand with someone or something 

… and so many other phrases:

  • lend a hand
  • have a hand in
  • to strengthen their hand
  • art or writing by the same hand
  • a hand given in marriage
  • hand in glove
  • hand in hand
  • hand over fist
  • hand to hand
  • cash in hand

… and can also be part of another word:

  • handiwork
  • handsome
  • handful
  • handle

Oh, the list could go on and on! But my list, my check list… I must add handsome to very, utterly, felt… There are so many handsomes in my novel…

The novel I’m working on now is called Lucky Portbraddon, and should be published in September; if you haven’t read any of my other e-books, you can find them here:



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