SD/PEN Member Profile: Trinity Fuentes

By Sylvia Mendoza, SD/PEN Outreach Chair

SD/PEN regularly selects members at random and profiles their background and experience in an interview-style blog post. These are valuable opportunities for members to introduce themselves to other members and prospective clients through this newsletter and on SD/PEN’s website and social media outlets.

This slightly edited profile features Trinity Fuentes, Developmental Editor, Writing & Creativity Coach at Form & Function Editorial LLC.

Growing up in Salinas and Monterey, California, Trinity Fuentes thrived in a creative household with parents who were hippies. She watched her father work diligently on his poems and listened as he and other poets discussed imagery, words, and line breaks. When she began writing, she already understood that writing encompasses not only the flash of inspiration but also the careful consideration, culling, and rearranging that happens over time.

With a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, a minor in art history, and a master's degree in Museum Studies, she began a 20-year career managing art collections and exhibition programs in museums and galleries, including SFMOMA.

After experiencing burnout and a series of family losses, a position in the diversity office at the University of Arizona provided invaluable opportunities to learn more deeply about inclusion, inclusive language, and diverse perspectives. The UCSD Extension Copyediting Program, with its rigorous curriculum, came next. Supportive instructors—Suzanne Sanders, Christine Steele, and Lourdes Venard—addressed practicalities, inclusive language, ethics, and the importance of acting as a bridge between the writer and the reader.

Next was developing a business plan for Form & Function Editorial, focusing on writing/creativity coaching and developmental editing, mostly for literary fiction. “I’m a collaborative partner who helps writers align form and function in their writing , to craft a creative journey with intention. It takes a great deal of trust for a writer to share their work, and I don’t take that responsibility lightly.”

Here’s more about Trinity Fuentes…

What accomplishment are you most proud of professionally?

Although I loved working with art, literature, and language, which are at the core of who I am, I’m most proud of pushing through my fears and following my dream to become an editor. I’m also proud of building community. Last March, several of my classmates and I formed a mastermind group. We meet biweekly to offer support, share resources, and celebrate successes. The group is incredibly uplifting.

What do you enjoy most about being a member of SD/PEN?

The most valuable aspect has been hearing well-established editors not only share their knowledge but also ask questions. It has helped me to realize that even experienced editors don’t know everything, and SD/PEN is a safe place to learn together.

What do you like to do to get away from editing and refill the well?

Each morning I devote time to meditation, yoga, reading, and writing. This routine keeps me strong and centered. As I live in Arizona, regular road trips to San Diego provide a change of scenery and climate. My spouse and I have perfected the socially distanced long weekend, and we enjoy long walks and spending an afternoon on a blanket under a tree in Balboa Park.

Tell us about a book you recently read that you would recommend.

I recently read The Readers’ Room by Antoine Laurain, which is a mystery centered around an acquisitions editor and her department in a publishing house in Paris. A book they’ve published wins the greatest literary prize in France. It should be a time for celebration, but the editor has a big problem—no one knows the identity of the author, and a series of murders mirrors the book’s plot. Although the mystery propelled me forward, I purposefully slowed down to savor the prose and spend time with the characters. Laurain’s novels incorporate magical realism, humor, and the perspective of historical hindsight. He places characters in interesting positions to face things they never could have imagined. Please note, this book deals with the theme of sexual assault, though it’s not described in detail.

Where would you like to go on your next vacation and why?

Before the pandemic, I used to travel to Europe every year or two, and it’s something I deeply miss. I would love to explore southern Spain. I appreciate architecture and have always wanted to visit the Alhambra in Granada and the Cathedral of Córdoba, a former mosque with distinctive striped arches. It’s fascinating to be in a building that has stood for so many centuries and imagine the history that’s unfolded within its walls.

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

Oddly enough, when I was nine, my friend and I used to pretend we were editors taking authors out to lunch to discuss their manuscripts. When I was ten, we attended an Ansel Adams opening at the Monterey Museum of Art. I wanted to be a part of the magic creating an experience like that. Years later, I managed the art collection at the Center for Creative Photography, founded by Adams, and worked with his art and archive.

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