I've been meaning to post the latest version of my opening chapters for a while and I've finally mastered the technology to post them on my website (or at least, I've finally got round to getting Tim to do it.) You can find them at http://www.beverleyward.net/page4/page4.html They are also on www.groupthing.org under the group called Writer in Residence.
There have been some changes since the last time I posted them. I decided that Tag's opening chapter didn't make a strong enough opening and that there needed to be a clearer link between the two characters from the outset in order to get the reader interested. Hopefully by beginning with Lorna's character and voice and establishing her intention of volunteering at the literacy project, it sets the reader up to know how the two characters will meet, thus making them interested in reading on. That's the hope anyway! I've also done some work on the voices of the two main protagonists, although I still think I'll need to go back and work on these early chapters again, as the voices have become more convincing as I've gone on.
I was hoping to have a polished draft of the novel done by September but, because I've essentially done a total rewrite, and not a redraft as I expected, when it's finished it will still be a rough draft. I may send the early chapters (once I've polished them) to agents and publishers in September though while I work on the redraft. If I do, the chapters on the website are what I would send: usually they ask for 3 chapters (double-spaced, printed on one side of A4) and a synopsis which should be as close to one page as possible.
I've written a few books but this is the first one I've rewritten and redrafted over and over. I don't think I'd quite appreciated before just how much work goes into getting something to publishable quality.