I remember sitting down for the very first time to write a novel--this wasn't technically my "first novel" either--well, it was my first. But it was also going to be my only novel! (I'm currently writing my ninth or tenth, maybe even eleventh. I've written enough that I've lost count.)
Anyhow, I was in my mid-twenties, had one small child, was a stay-at-home mom, had no writing experience other than the little bit I'd learned in high school and a year of college. It had been a long time since I'd written anything! I was an infant in the writing world.
I couldn't even type without watching my fingers!
So, I sat down in a dark, cold basement, at my computer desk, and stared at the screen, wondering how in the world to put the images I saw in my head down onto paper. What I wish I knew back then? The first thing I wish I knew is:
LESS IS MORE (especially in YA).
I'd write eight paragraphs about what my character was wearing. Or a page on how the fog looked pooled below frost-covered pines. Instead of writing a story, I wrote a lot of description. And pretty crappy description!
More to come on this subject--there's a lot I wish I knew back then!