To go back briefly to the topic of beginnings, Mary Kole, associate agent at Andrea Brown Literary Agency, has launched a competition on her excellent site. She's looking for novel beginnings in the Middle Grade and Youg Adult categories. So if you have a completed manuscript with a first chapter that will sweep Mary and thousands of readers off their feet, why not have a go? The deadline is the 31st of January and the rules and details can be found here. Good luck!