“A Hand to Hold” is another example of a story whose basic premise existed in the back of my mind for a long time. I thought the idea of someone single-mindedly dedicated to her mission, even though she herself wasn’t terribly powerful or strong, had the makings of a dramatic story. Telling the story from the orphan Jot’s point of view came in later, as did the Lady Mara stuff.
Having said that, I have to admit I’m not entirely satisfied with how the story came out. In the first place, at more than 12,000 words, it really is too long. In addition, I didn’t give Jot much of a personality. If I were to rewrite the story, I would have made Jot a little harder and more cynical at the beginning, which would have made the contrast between Jot and Miki much more apparent and would have heightened the drama. Finally, looking back, I think the tone of the whole story was a little bit too serious. It might be counterintuitive, but using humor can actually increase dramatic impact. However, having written the installments serially over many weeks, I decided to let things stand as written.
As I said, this is a long story, with six parts as follows: