I’m at the “pencil work” stage of my progress with Finnegans Deciphered. I’m picking my way through it, adding this little revelation here, pumping up that bit of dialogue there. Fixing mistakes. I found a missing question mark at one point, for example.
In the story my protagonist, Greg Finnegan, is reading a novel and fearing that there is some subtext to it that he is missing. Resolving that is the whole point of the story, but its real-world analog has me bothered. I feel as though I am marking time, waiting for some subtext about my story to come to me. I fear that the novel is dancing over something deeper that hasn’t yet revealed itself to me. If I keep at it, this thinking goes, the epiphany will come.
Thus the pencil work. The fine tuning. I keep tinkering with it, hoping that something I’ve overlooked will become clear. Does this ever happen to you?
And so I’m in pursuit of a prey that may not be out there. Eventually, I suppose, if I don’t make this vague discovery, I’ll decide that the novel is whole and complete as it is and begin the gargantuan task of preparing it to be shopped around.
I haven’t dared let myself do a word count. I’ve told the story I have to tell (except for the fretting above), and I hope it comes in at the minimum a novel “requires.” But if it didn’t, what would I do? I suppose I could bring in some superfluous subplot. Some red herring, say. (The story fits vaguely into the cozy mystery genre.) Or I could give more background to some of the characters. Or something. But all of that seems contrived and unnecessary.
Well, we do what we can do.