Chapter 14 is completed

The words did not come easily, but I managed to finish Chapter 14 of Finnegans Afoot. My problem was twofold. First, it’s a climax chapter, and I wanted to get it exactly right. I don’t know if I did, but given the perspective of time and a complete read through of what has come before it, I think I can get it there. Second, though, is that I’m writing about a subject well out of my experience and certainly out of my comfort zone.

I had written most of the chapter earlier in the week and simply needed about a thousand words to finish it. Instead, I got started on Chapters 15 and 16. I finished those before I got myself back to Chapter 14. That non-sequential writing is odd for me, but it did afford me an unexpected opportunity to set up a great deal of tension at the end of Chapter 16 by just a few words in Chapter 14. Knowing so well what was going to happen, the idea of doing that came to me like a particularly well time gift. I love it when just a few words can do so much work in a story.

Anyway, I’ve gotten a start on Chapter 17. It’s the last chapter of the novel and I wrap things up, but only by implication. I’ve really come to hate final chapters and epilogues in mystery stories that get everything settled and explained too neatly. Life is full of rough edges and unsatisfying resolutions, and I wanted this chapter to end the story in a similar way. Yes, the mystery is solved, and the reader will see that. It just won’t be done in black and white on the page. I don’t think readers have to have everything laid out before them and explained. They are clever enough to understand the meaning with the right amount of suggestion.

I’m not in any race to finish Chapter 17. I managed to get about 500 words down already, but my concluding chapters don’t generally swell to the 3,500 word count I try to achieve (and usually surpass) in the other chapters. I may finish it tomorrow or next week. I need to give a thorough read through of my notes for the novel so I can remember just what I need to get done in this chapter. And then I will do it. And then it will be done. And then onward.

Note: Somehow I failed to publish this post on time. It should have appeared on April 19. If it sounds out of sequence, that explains why.

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