More work Afoot

Every time I think I am finished with the first draft of Finnegans Afoot, I find myself returning to fix this or that or add some essential point that I had left out. When I do, I generally find some typo or spelling error that I had overlooked, and I realize that there is still some trail left before this hiking novel is complete.

I slipped in a controlling metaphor in the very first chapter. Ann Finnegan is sitting on the porch of the bed and breakfast where they are staying, trying to put together a puzzle. She’s not having any success, which frustrates her. The reason, the reader will learn much later in the story, is because another of the guests had accidentally taken many of the puzzle pieces up to her room and left them there. When they are restored near the end of the story, the puzzle can finally be completed.

The Finnegans are stumbling toward a big revelation in the novel, but they don’t even realize they are on the trail toward it. When it happens, though, they are separated and each learns something different about the central mystery. If they can get together to share what they know, they will have the whole thing resolved. Fate keeps them separated though. I like this “he said/she said” aspect of the story, and I think it is a counterpart of the missing puzzle pieces metaphor. If they can get all of the pieces together they can figure it out.

I’d been making notes about this and that point I needed to stress or add to the story. Now that I’ve sat down and tried to incorporate all of these notes, I hope I can feel that the story is finished. Perhaps not, but I’ll relish the illusion for a day or two.

Some of the writing seemed a little clunky in spots, and I think I’ll get even better at spotting it (and then correcting it) as I gain more distance from the first draft. I’ve already begun fooling around with some query ideas, but I don’t want to be premature about submitting it. How long should I wait? I don’t know. I hope I’ll have a sense of when it is ready.

In the meantime, there is so much more to write.

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