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July 19th, 2010

As of today at approx 4:30 central, I finished the first draft of my (stopping to count on fingers and running out of fingers) 11th novel.

That’s a lot of words.

For those of you who aren’t writers and don’t know the drill, this means that I have around 70,000 words that is not publication ready, but is plotted written and proofed to the point that I am not ashamed to show it to my editor. She will send it back in a couple of weeks with a page of revision notes, so that I can fix mistakes, glaring plot holes and parts that are stupid or icky.

There is always something, believe me.

From there it goes back to her for approval, then to a copy editor to English up the language and fix my inept spelling and punctuation. And then back to me, to fix the stuff she missed, and to remove a bucket of conjunctions that always seem to slip in at the beginning of my sentences.

There are other steps as well. And more editing that I don’t get to see. Sometimes I get another pass in there, somewhere. As you can see, it’s complicated. We do this for you, the reader, to make it look effortless.

But right now, after a couple of 7 day weeks, I am on break.
And I will have time to get in here, update the site, and share a few of the things I’ve come across in the last few weeks, that I haven’t had time to talk about.

Everyone see Inception yet? You should all go. It’s freaky. That would be my whole synopsis.

And since I am living in my own personal dream space lately, that movie was some kind of reflection of my life right now. Especially the concept of having a totem to hook you to the real world. In the movie, the characters had a spinning top, a loaded die, and a hand tooled chess piece. Things that had a familiar weight and could be handled to keep them grounded in reality.

The real world does get to be a sketchy place, for those of us who are busy building fantasy land all the time. And it is nice to have sensory clues to flip you from one the real into the unreal, to let you know that you are going to work.

I am a big fan of play lists, scented candles, set lunch menus, and desk toys. My desk is almost clean enough to photograph. But it is full of toys, and fiddly bits. And I like to have something in my hand.
For a time, on this book, I was playing mumblety peg with my letter opener.

Very slowly.

Last book, it was a pink shell cameo and a pewter handled walking stick.

Yes. A walking stick. The hero was bind. I was rolling his cane around in my hands. And dropping it. Because I am clumsy.

Before that, there was a heart of grey metallic glass that felt good in the palm. And an evil eye bead that I wore during the gypsy books.

A cat does not count as a totem. But Mohawk was just here trying to star in another post.

So, for a change, this post as a question for you all:
Any writers out there with totems? Or for that matter, desk jockeys of any kind with interesting toys and nervous fingers?