Flock Together

Blog Post #32

2016-08-27 20.05.11

Dear Readers,

Guess who’s not dead yet? Why? ‘Cause I feel happy! I think I’ll go for a walk.

Or keep typing. I’m much more capable with the later anyway. Well, at least the typing that doesn’t involve blog posts because I’ve been woefully behind on that sort of thing. Sorry about that, readers. I was writing, promise! How much writing? Well I’m so very glad you asked. Let me show you this awesome.

The Writing Front

Word Counts

Right, so you haven’t seen a word count since May’s counts, let me show you June.

13846 / 16438

I was only 2,592 words short for June! I was so very close. I slacked off for most of the month and then like hit the keys like my life depended on it the last few days. Impressive.

For the month of July though, I pushed a little harder.

17022 / 16986

BOO YAH! In your face July! Ha!

*smooths shirt and hair*

What was I saying? Oh, yes, a very applaudable effort. Go team.

*Dumbledore when Hermione gets sorted clap*

I really shouldn’t be writing these posts so very late at night, but you write when you find the time you know? Between those two months I wrote 30,868 words. Bringing my yearly total at the end of July to:

79092 / 200000

I’m behind where I should be, no doubt. This time last year I was sitting at only 25, 634 words and this year it’s 79,092 which means I’m improving, even if I’m not hitting my goal exactly. That’s motivation enough.

I guess I should tell you exactly what I was writing last month that let me hit this one month out of the park. I was writing character profile sheets. Yes, I am aware that such things may never see the light of day. Or I will bind them all together one day and make it ‘an author’s guide to the crazy messed up backstories of anyone with a name in a short story that couldn’t keep its word counts together and became a novella instead’. That might be a bit lengthy of a title though.

Writing the Final Showdown

So what have I been doing this August? If you guessed editing based on the new character information, you are awesome. Way to read minds. Via technology. Or just use contextual clues like a pro.

So if you don’t follow me on Twitter, let me tell you about this scene that’s been pestering me.







Pain and anguish–that’s what I did. For days. Not that putting fingers to the keys was hard, but the mental strain of ‘here’s to hoping I’ve finally gotten this scene right, and even if I haven’t I’m writing this anyway’ type of writing was very off putting. Nothing for that final showdown scene feels right in my head yet. Maybe I just need to rest things again. Sadly, deadlines are deadlines, even if they are self-chosen and enforced.

Luckily one of my trusty beta readers has approved of the scene changes even if I’m not sure if I like them. Which I suppose only continues to prove that sometimes it isn’t about making sure everything is perfect in your head. Sometimes it’s about just showing up and doing the work.

Apparently the grammar of the new scene itself was a train wreck because the tense changes all over the place. But tense is much more easily changed than trying to manipulate a scene with characters and plot lines that just aren’t working. This is why knowing when and how to edit is so very important. There’s no point in fixing grammar errors if the story just isn’t working right. Maybe I’ll finally be able to commence Project Big Print for my editor extraordinaire before the end of the week. Cross your fingers!

Cover Art

Okay, I know this isn’t writing in the strictest sense of the word, but it is very important to the process when you plan to self-publish. There’s got to be something super pretty to draw some people in. I am just going to go right out and say it: I got super lucky once again.

I’ve been best friends with my editor/BFF essentially since the beginning of time, so the fact that fate dropped my cover artist into my life in the form of a coworker is just bonus. Not only has she studied in the lit and writing arenas, but she’s also got a graphic design background. Doesn’t hurt that she’s also a Ravenclaw. I’m a Ravenclaw. And my editor is too. Maybe it is true what they say about birds of a feather?

I kind of had a rough idea in my head, passed along the details, and then she got to work. She says that it’s coming along well, and then asked for a final title because she found the prefect font but I’m not allow to know what it is until it’s done, and I’m like that’s just not fair. Watch me pout but be secretly way too excited, World. Watch me.

The Reading Front

Nothing of what I’m about to list has anything to do with writing. It does however have everything to do with what Joanna Penn calls, “filling your creative well”. I guess that makes sense. You can’t just expect to put out good stories without having something to draw on, something inside your mind to make that clock tick.

Exploring Other Creative Outlets

Do you remember that trip I made to the Lit Fair in June?

If you look carefully you will have noticed in my line up of what I took home there was a book dubbed Veganomicon. Mostly I just really wanted to start eating better, and I figured who else would know how to make veggies taste better than Vegans? Yeah they’ve got a corner on that market. While I haven’t completely given up meat (though it is a close thing), it’s been nice to learn new things to cook and try.

Cooking is my other creative outlet. While I like frying things and pretending I’m an Iron Chef as much as the next person, the thing I enjoy most is chopping things. It’s very zen for me. It clears my head because I need to focus completely and keeps my brain from drifting around as much. And it’s nice to feel uncluttered in my own mind after all the hours of plotting plot and characterizing characters. I’ve always been a bit of a foodie, and there is almost always eating somehow worked into my stories, especially if there is socializing that needs to be done. It’s best done with food.

Traveling with Trains

I don’t know if you know this, but I’m kind of a Potterhead. There is nothing I like more than watching or reading or discussing or making jokes about Harry Potter. I recently took my first solo train trip, and to pass the time I took my copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child along for the ride. I sat down on the train, opened the book, read the first few pages, and then realized my massive mistakes. One, locating myself in a location similar to the open of the first new Harry Potter book I’ve read in years was really too much for my fangirl heart to take. Two, reading it with other people present where I couldn’t simply just let out my feels. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t do it the way I did.

Project Big Print

So I know I mentioned “Project Big Print” above so I thought I might give you a little info on that. The wonderful Jessica B. and I both learned to edit by hand on paper with all these fun little shorthand marks in college. This means that when she does finally do my major grammar edit she wants to do it on paper. Since my “short” story accidentally novella-ed even before I really finished the first draft, we decided it would best that when she was proofing the plot line, she’d read it digitally first so it would keep her inner grammar editor (and possibly Editor Cat) in check while she worked on editing the story.

For the most part, it worked. She gave me a few pages of written notes about story changes. I went through and worked them in. Then we did another round of story edits, and then finally I sent her my last major scene change earlier this week.

After approval, my task will be to go through all those lovely notebooks you see above, read through each of those pages marked with orange sticky notes, and work those changes in. (Honestly, I don’t know how notes for one story ended up in three different notebooks. Things just happened.) I will also need to splice in the typed scene I sent her as well as all the notes I have saved in my phone from when I was nowhere near paper and thought of details to add to From the Woods You Came.

I know. I italicized it. Just like I said I couldn’t justify yet.

According to the MLA, a novella individually published and not published as part of a collection should be italicized. After grammar edits and beta reading, this novella will be individually, independently, and irrevocably published.

Things just got real, dear readers. Things just got real.

Love and Lightning,

M. L. Trumbull


My editor has advised me that all changes work and that Project Big Print is a GO. For a partial summary of my feels, see below.

In reality: Blankly staring at the phone message until it’s gone blurry

In my head: What is life? What am I doing? How did this happen? Who am I, Hedwig? What am I? You’re an owl. You’d know.


In reality: Manic wooshing about the apartment like a cat at 3 a.m.

In my head: Chasing your dreams? Nailed it.


1 Comment

Filed under Editing, Writing Update

One response to “Flock Together

  1. Pingback: Promises to Your 12-year-old Self | M. L. Trumbull

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