It takes much discipline to be a writer. I have been writing my memoirs at the rate of two pages a day a couple of times a month (or less) so I can’t imagine sitting down to write an entire novel, chapter after chapter, hour after hour, day after day.
It also takes quite some planning to write a novel; to create characters, describe their appearance, give them personalities. I suppose the easiest method is to use the characteristics of people I know for my fictional characters. I would hope though that the people in my life do not recognize themselves in my novel, or on second thought it may not be such a bad thing; to see themselves as someone else sees them. This could lead to some self-realization for them.
“Write about what you know” is the advise other authors offer. If not, a lot of research is required. One cannot write a credible fiction without researching facts and weaving them into the plot. Consider the research done for Dan Brown’s novels, The “Da Vinci Code”, “Angels and Demons” as well as his latest Robert Langdon thriller, “The Lost Symbol”. His passion for the meaning of symbols and codes compelled him and his wife to look into the cryptic world of secret messages and their research took years.
Locale may be another factor in creating an interesting novel. I thoroughly enjoy novels that have the main character travelling from country to country in places I myself have never been. If I were to write a novel, the fact that I have done a bit of travelling could provide my characters with a bit of backdrop.
Gotta go, I think I hear my phone.