i might as well, since i'm making pronouncements, officially declare that i will never finish the first novel i started to write. i will not in any way attempt to improve upon that idea or develop it further; it's over! i have my reasons for putting this statement in writing - mostly, i want to call that project finished as part of my theme for 2007, my "Year of Clearing the Queue."
my second attempt at a novel is still a good idea, btw, and i just *might* start over with the basic premise of it one of these days, but if i do, i'll have to let go of the parts that i wrote before, and think it through as a new thing, from my current perspective.
anyway... the book i just read, Your First Novel, was different than other books on writing that i've read, because the first half was full of useful ideas about writing from a published novelist (laura whitcomb), and the second half was full of *extremely* useful information from a literary agent (ann rittenberg). learning about the agent's role and perspective was revelatory in several ways, from the reasons why agents are important, through the steps a writer should take to produce a professional manuscript, all the way through what happens in each step as a book is being published.