Blog Post # 33
August has come to an end. The year is more than half over, and what a year it’s been. There are word counts and reading I could be talking about, but there are things more important than that sitting on the horizon, dark clouds promising lighting and rain. But for familiarity’s sake, let’s talk about the word counts first.
The Writing Front
So last month was once again below where I expected to be. The monthly quota should have been 16,987 and I ended the month at 8,514, or just over half way there.
Which means my word counts for the year looks like this:
43%. Okay. I just have to push harder on the writing front for this month. I know I can because the mental time my novella consumed has been freed up, but I’ll get to that in a bit.
Work in the Background
So in my last post you got to hear all about my writing woes with developing a brand new climatic ending to my novella. I wish I could say that’s where it ends. Writing ain’t that easy, kids. You still have to splice that scene into the original document, which means lots of reworking your transitional sentences, deleting some, making sure you go back and drop some foreshadowing earlier in the text. Yeah. Lots of freaking work that doesn’t build your word count. Not technically.
Not that any of that is not important, but it’s not something that you can measure with data and impute into your spreadsheet. How do you measure ‘editing’? I guess you could do it in hours spent, but still I don’t feel like that’s a true measure of what you’ve accomplished. Maybe when I get back the edits from Jessica B. I can measure the hours it takes me to edit in all her edits? Feel free to offer suggestions if you’ve got a better method to measure editing cause I can’t think of one.
The Reading Front
I’m guessing Pinterest story prompts don’t count here. I probably shouldn’t count the multitude of times I reread my novella which was like all the words ever. So I’ve read like ten million novellas if you want, or none if you don’t think it counts.
I will tell you this, you will learn a lot about yourself as a writer when you reread for edits. I obviously have to check over and over to make sure I have accidentally gone into song lyrics or alliteration (unless it’s necessary, but I’m sure my threshold for what alliteration is necessary is much higher than most.)
Things I did notice though? I got much, much better at rounding off my characters. I attribute that to deep, intensive character profiling. It took the better part of the month to work out the backgrounds for the characters in my novella, even the ones that are barely mentioned. It wasn’t writing that I could ever use in the text, but it was vital to the believability of the work. Seeing the depth of character on my last read through really helped convince me I had made improvements in character development process, and thus helping develop my ability as a writer. What I write will never be perfect, but at least I’m not sitting around waiting for it to improve. It’s in doing that I’ll learn.
On the list of things I never thought about when I first decided I wanted to self-publish: the moment when I could share with everyone my cover art. The cover was always sort of foggy to me since I always planned to have someone else working on that front. So when my cover artist and I met up in a Starbucks to go over the cover, I was just floored. These eyes, these eyes were the stuff of myth. Looking at them sent shivers down my spine and slightly terrified me but also drew me in. And that’s exactly what I wanted for this tale. It sets the mood visually, and it’s just too freaking perfect.
I could go on and on about it, but you can see it above. It’s just really amazing to be able to talk to another artist who gets what’s in your brain and make something out of that. I wish I could make that happen more often. There’s really no real way to explain the experience of working with other people who understand that impulse to create and that help you build your work into being the best possible version of itself that it can be. When writing is such a lonely task, being able to talk about it to people who understand is liberating.
So when I got the file sent to me, I may have told her that I was more excited about getting this file than my college acceptance letter. When she challenged me on my “disproportionate amount of excitement”, I had only one reason to explain it.
Having cover art, having something to show people when I say, “Hey look I’m writing a book!” is like having a tangible proof of something I set out to do when I was only 12-years-old. Looking at the cover art on my computer made me think of a lot of things.
I thought of that 12-year-old girl, lying in her dark bedroom, the opening music for ‘Angel’ floating into the room, as the first story idea bloomed in her mind. The same girl who would spend her summers locked up in shaded rooms, sweating against the heat in the old house, typing until she fell asleep, only to wake and continue typing to try and figure out the rest of this story that she’d barely scratched the surface of.
I thought of the 18-year-old who attended her first writing class at the collegiate level, how shy she was to let others read her work and ask her questions in a group. How she grabbed and saved every piece of advice she’d been given during that time, whether it pertained to writing or to taking a business minor because it would come in handy in reading contracts and filling out taxes and keeping financial accounts.
I thought of the woman who spent nights making lattes, listening to music, writing down quick snatches of ideas on scrap paper and shoving them into her apron so as not to forget those moments of inspiration. I thought of the woman who woke up at three a.m. to go to work, to sit in the dark arranging product, listening to podcasts about self-publishing.
How could I go back and tell all of those versions of myself that we’re almost there now, that we have a cover, and the editing is almost done, and soon, so soon, we’ll actually have published something we wrote? I alone could look back at all these memories and know just how far we’ve come when I stared at the cover. My excitement at having cover art was born out of knowing exactly what this meant, what this stepping stone looked like compared to the rest I had traversed, what few stones were left between me and my goal, and how close I am to achieving the first dream I’ve ever wanted with all my being. There’s no limit on that kind of excitement.
Someone break out the sparklers.
Love and Lightning,
M. L. Trumbull