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  • Writer's pictureDale Thele

Abracadabra Hocus Pocus Alakazam!

Updated: Apr 19, 2023

The kind of "magic" we're discussing today is the writing kind of magic. There won't be any white bunnies popping out of silk top hats or colored scarves appearing in thin air. This post is about the magic that comes from writing, or rather, where that special magic happens. Buckle up because we're going inside the world of a fiction writer.

This is where the "magic" happens. Actually, this photo was taken several years ago, but I can assure you little has changed. I believe the only change was the desk clock was switched out for a vintage 1960s mechanical electric swinging girl clock. (You can see the clock in the next photo) Very little changes on my desk, except for the many layers of dust that collect between writing manuscripts. The desk is not dusted during the writing of a manuscript. Once the final manuscript has gone to print, then the desk is thoroughly dusted and cleaned. That works out to one annual cleaning, based on the fact that I'm producing one novel each year.

This is where I point out some unique features of my writing space. Nowadays, most people no longer use a desk mat with blotter paper. Take a gander at what's under the laptop. You got it! It's a leather desk pad with refillable blotter paper. The pad protects the desktop from ink stains and it offers a smooth writing surface when I'm writing with fountain pens. Yep! I use fountain pens even when I'm not writing a manuscript.

Here are additional items I wish to point out about my workspace:

A. Under normal circumstances, a wire letter tray sits where the easel stand (looks like the top portion of a music stand). Actually, the easel is holding my handwritten rough draft so that I can transpose it into my digital editor on my laptop. Only the rough draft is handwritten, all other drafts and rewrites are done digitally. (sorry to disappoint)

B. From the calendar, you can see that this photo was taken in 2021 (no, I do not keep old outdated calendars on my wall) I was probably transposing BLURRED LINES in this photo.

C. These are sticky notes that I use each day to record the total word, page, and chapter count when I wrap up my writing session for the day. Each notepad is dated and placed on top of the previous day's notepad. This gives me a running count of my progression with that particular manuscript. Look to the right, near the letter "B" and you can see that I'm also working on a second manuscript at the same time.

D. Of course, no writer's desk is complete without a coffee or tea mug. During the time I was working on BLURRED LINES, I was drinking coffee. Since then, my taste has switched to hot tea - herbal, but mostly caffeinated tea.

As for the desk, it's actually the left side arm of a much larger Steve Silver desk. I didn't have the space, nor the dollars to purchase the entire ensemble. It wouldn't have mattered anyway, because the ensemble was discontinued and all that I wanted of the set was this side table which I purchased at a deep discount, being that it was an orphaned piece, and it had a few dings because it had been on display. I was also able to procure the matching wheeled 2-draw filing chest that fits under the desk. I wasn't able to locate the matching rolling banker's chair, but no worries, there were plenty of inexpensive wooden desk chairs available to complement the desk.

As I've often mentioned before, I write the rough draft by hand with a fountain pen in a cheap college-ruled composition notebook. The notebook pictured above is the handwritten rough draft of CAROUSEL PONIES, the 4th novel of the Shane Davison Chronicles Series, due to be released in 2024. The manuscript was written exclusively on the right-hand page. The left page was left intentionally blank for notes and afterthoughts. Usually, the afterthoughts are written in pencil and on the left page. Sometimes I use different colored pencils to jot my notes. The reason I do this is that when I get into the "zone", I write as fast as possible to unload everything onto the paper. Later, sometimes days later, I get an idea that I missed when writing the draft, so I add those notes on the left page opposite the page that coordinates with the notes. Then, when the rough draft is completed, I begin transposing the manuscript to digital format for easier editing and rewriting.

The cheap composition notebook(s) are kept in leather hand-sewn notebook covers (until the manuscript has been transposed). I find this gives the rough draft a special quality—a measure of worth. After all, the rough draft is the basis of what will eventually become a novel or a story. Giving value to the rough draft isn't much different than pampering one's child—the rough draft is my baby. One day, it will mature into a full-fledged novel, a novella, or a short story.

I'd appreciate hearing your comments. Leave your thoughts in the Comment Box at the bottom of the page.

Dale Thele, Bestelling Fiction Author

Bestselling Fiction Author

Stories with an LGBTQ+ Twist

corrupting readers since 2008

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