Finnegans Deciphered, and collected

I’ve passed an important milestone on my journey to complete my novel-in-progress, Finnegans Deciphered. I consolidated all of the chapters into a single document.

For me, that’s a sign that the major writing is now finished. All that remains is tinkering and, of course, wholesale editing and possibly rewriting and hair-pulling frustration and unfocused anguish. But at least the hard part is now behind me!

The final document has swelled by four hundred words since I did my first count of the “finished” novel. That’s the result of my wedging in of late revelations and plot needs, but it’s not the four thousand or fourteen thousand more words I’d feel more comfortable with. The novel barely qualifies as a novel, at least by commonly accepted word-count standards. But I won’t concern myself with such outside standards. I have to be true to the tale I have to tell. Plus, it’s possible that as I do more comprehensive read throughs, I’ll develop this or that plot point or character quirk or even monkey around with the tone and I’ll find more words that need to be said. Or not.

It’s come to seventeen chapters, and seventeen happens to be a significant number in the plot. Nonetheless, I suspect one of those chapters will be split in twain (a possible location for more words to add to the count), so that coincidence of chapter count and plot point won’t survive. That might have been fun to keep, but it also seems a bit twee. (Also, it’s only coincidence that I posted this entry on the 17th of the month.)

So now I’m at the point where I have a whole document “in hand.” That will make for more difficulty finding given places in it that I want to address, but I think I know the story well enough now to be able to navigate it. Perhaps I will print (on paper!) the whole thing and have it literally “in hand.” Then I could carry it and a red pencil to my cabin in the woods for a weekend read-through session. Sounds lovely.

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3 Comments on “Finnegans Deciphered, and collected”

  1. Pete Says:

    Whether it’s novel-length or novella-length doesn’t matter. Just tell the story that needs to be told, with however many words it takes, and no more words beyond that.

  2. Averil Dean Says:

    Congratulations! That’s a huge milestone, and it makes a big difference psychologically in how you view your work. I’m going through my WIP one scene at a time, reassembling it into a single document with the chapters undelineated so I can figure out what I’ve got. I’m trying to resist the urge to skip around, but it’s a struggle.

    Print that sucker, Paul. Hold it in your hand and take a minute to enjoy the moment.

  3. Brian Keaney Says:

    When I first began working on a computer I used to write separate chapters as separate documents and then go through the process of consolidating them. Then one day I wondered why I was doing this. I just started writing the novel as one document. I found that not only did this involve less hassle but also it gave me a far greater sense of the novel as a totality and made navigating the text much easier.


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