Over the last 6 years, as I've been learning to write, I've posted (or posted links to) the first five to ten pages of my manuscript over and over. If you go back and look it up, you'll see the development of the book as I've learned to write. Also the development of my writing. It's been quite a process. I've never (ever) taken a class in writing, and I didn't write a single word of fiction until I graduated from college just after my 20th birthday--and then I wrote 4 novels and took 5 years or so off from writing long fiction even though I enjoyed it. So I was kind of starting from scratch.
First I wrote, using Brenda Ueland's advice to write fast and furious and just tell the story with as much honesty as possible.
Then I revised.
Then I queried agents and used their comments to rewrite.
Then I researched manuscript format, length, etc. and cut 100,000 words (yes, the first draft was WAY too long) from the ms. This is actually a good writing practice skill that I used to have my students use: write, cut by half, rewrite to double the length, cut by half again. Just for practice.
Then I researched more: everything I could find about publishing, getting an agent, working with agents, manuscripts, contracts, copyright, querying, summarizing, etc.
Then I revised again, found an agent to work with (but never signed with her) and rewrote according to her specifications until I realized she was aiming for "Twilight" and I didn't want to write for adults.
Then I spent a year reading classic children's literature.
I threw away my manuscript and started over with the understanding that my heart and soul wanted to write for children (well, junior high kids), not adults or even teens. I rewrote from scratch.
I spent a month reading modern children's literature.
Now I'm rewriting again with what I've learned.
This time, I think I might have finally "got it".
In keeping with "tradition" and also the idea that the blog archives can't reveal my progress if I stop posting it, I'm posting the link the google doc where the first ten pages are hiding right now.
The Poison Spindle Problem, Chapters 1-2
Feel free to read. You can even comment if you want (gasp! Do I dare?).
My goal that I hope I've accomplished? It's finally done and I can move on to the story about the art forgers and the story about the dragons--and the cave-dwellers who keep them on ice.