So I got no reading done this weekend on my stack of novels and memoirs. I printed off my first WIP last Wednesday (11pt font, .5" margins, 1.5 spacing). I hadn't looked at the thing since before NaNo and had honestly forgotten many things about it.
For reference, especially since a handful of you awesome readers are new after Alex J. Cavanaugh's awesome Top Ten Music Blogfest on Monday (Welcome! And thanks again to Alex for hosting :) I must tell you the brief history of me and this WIP. I started it on 18 July 2009 (don't ask why I know the date; I just do) and worked tirelessly on it and its two sequels until all three were written at close to 450K in March 2010 (don't know this date, though). And then I never let go. And I didn't let go. And I didn't let go. I didn't start anything new...
Well, no, that's not entirely true. I worked on something akin to garbage for about 10 days, which amounted close to 50K of stylistic nonsense. Even the plot was pretty boring. But even so, I couldn't take my mind off of the first WIPx3.
So, like every idealistic new writer, I put my first 250 words on Nathan Bradsford's blog for critique (my entry has not yet been selected), and my first 5 pages up on WriteOnCon.
A. Sobering. Experience.
After only one person critiques my first 5 pages on WriteOnCon, without holding back and essentially telling me the idea had merit but the execution stank like rotten composting roasting on an open fire, I snapped back to reality. I got involved in a critique group, found a fabulous individual critique partner from it, and rewrote the whole thing.
Then it sat. I stopped looking at it in the middle of October. I did NaNo, finished my semester, started another project, and then realized I could finally get back to the original.
On Friday I read 1 chapter. I didn't get any further than that.
That was enough. I realized how all entirely completely utterly horribly wrong some of the basic foundational material was. While the main plot works okay, I have to entirely rework my backstory. I need to make it more relatable.
People had made this suggestion before, but I hadn't been ready to hear it. Three months away from my WIP, and I think I'm ready. We'll see how it goes.
How do you edit? Have you had any editorial surprises? How long do you wait before you return to your WIP? How much overhaul do you take to your work? (Please don't tell me that it's perfect the first time! I might have a brain spasm.)