I have to tell you all that I have been really excited to start the revision process on the Georgia Novel. This novel will be my fifth, and it sounds crazy, but with every other novel that I’ve written (some of them closer to 100k words than not), this one is the one that I have actually wanted to go back and revise. In some of the previous novels, I spent too much time planning plot and not enough time developing my characters. One time, I just started writing, and that NaNo Novel was complete crap. I am not Stephen King, and that fly by the seat of your pants writing style just doesn’t work for me.
With Georgia, I feel like I finally found the balance that I’ve been looking for. I have these great characters that I learned about by writing what the characters would do and how they would react in different situations. I didn’t have a nailed down plot and I allowed myself to make HUGE changes mid writing. One example of this is that Georgia, around page thirty, started having visions. That was not in the plan, but now it’s a part of her that makes her complete. Trust me, she definitely has visions. Georgia has become this real person in my mind, the kind of person that I want to be friends with. She’s feisty and Southern and driven, but she makes mistakes, sometimes in a big way, and it’s beautiful watching her story progress.
As I’m moving through revision, I’m realizing how really and truly difficult it is. I’ve done heavy revision on short stories and nonfiction pieces before, but I’ve never done anything quite like this. Especially in these first pages, I’ve realized how much better I know my characters, and I find myself thinking, and sometimes crazy-cat-lady style saying things out loud, like “She wouldn’t say that!” or “Oh, wow. That’s not like him at all. He would do this.”
I’m only about twenty-two typed pages into revisions, but it is so time-consuming because it’s so in depth. I’m adding scenes and fixing timeline issues. I have to add several scenes that show how my two main character’s relationship develops, and I have to finish the Cypress House. But here I am, so happy to be doing what I love.
I’ve done all of this in two months, something that I didn’t even think was possible at the beginning of the summer, and I really and truly believe that one thing has set this journey apart from all the rest. This time, I have a friend writing with me. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I emailed her to be my writing partner, but without those google hangouts where we literally talk through each other’s work one paragraph, one page, one scene at a time, I wouldn’t be where I’m at. I wouldn’t be (EEEKK!!) done with the Georgia Novel. I wouldn’t be into revisions. I wouldn’t have shared my work with anyone.
All that to say: I love revision, even though it’s slow, and thank you, Ashley, for helping me get through this novel. We did it.