I'm taking a writing class, Make Your First 50 Pop!, by Christine Fairchild (http://editordevil.blogspot.com/). It is an on-line class, using the Yahoo Groups format, and I've found the other students to be accomplished and enthusiastic. It has been a lot of fun.
The idea is that before the class began we all sent Christine, an editor with 20 years experience and a helluva good writing teacher, the first 50 pages of a nearly-finished work. Then, over the course of the class we've been submitting sections of those 50 pages to illustrate the different lessons she sends out. At the end she'll send us back the 50 pages we submitted, along with her editorial comments.
I think my first mistake was sending in 50 pages of a work that's not quite finished. Actually, it's not nearly finished. I had it to a stopping place (about 70k words), then let it lie for several months, picked it back up with a bunch of new ideas, and have been reworking it ever since. The next mistake was reading the lessons she sent us, because by the time I got to lesson 4 I realized I had the whole thing organized wrong. Oops.
I emailed Christine this morning and she hadn't started working with my first 50 pages, so she was willing to let me send in a revised version. Which means I have to polish the rough cuts I've made and send it in. While I'm supposed to be re-writing the ending of another big project. And working full time. And it's a holiday weekend.
Hallelujah! Worse things could happen to me.