I think there are entirely too many people out there that think that it's just a snap to write a novel and get it published. Well, how hard could it be anyway? You just come up with a story, write it down, hand it over to the screaming masses of publishers that are lined up with their hands out, and then rake in the cash. Isn't that how all of this is supposed to work?
Hmmm, just where should one begin? Well, for starters, let me say that I was in that camp not too long ago. I didn't figure that it was really all that hard. I mean, it's just coming up with a story for crying out loud. I could make one of those up really easy! Oh, you wanted more characters? Okay. And you actually want the correct police procedures used? Well, sure, I can see that. And it helps to know where landmarks are in the various cities that I have my characters in? Sheesh, alright. Wait, what? You don't want all of my characters to talk and act the same? Geez, you're a nitpicker- What?? I need to write how many pages? And what's an agent? Don't sports professionals need those?
And on and on it goes. You need to have what it takes to go the distance. There is plenty of time that should be spent on plotting your novel. Plus, you should detail out each of our characters: where they grew up, what they like and don't like, what about their parents, do they have any siblings, who are their enemies (and everyone has at least one!), etc. And research is important as well. Find out what the city of Chicago is like, get some information on the subways in New York City, and so forth. Also, in general, take notes! For goodness sake, you have plenty of ideas, why forget about them? Write things down to use at a later date, even if it isn't for this particular novel/project. You never know when an idea will prove useful.
Along with all of this, learn the publishing industry. What's happening, who are the players, what's the latest news? Is a particular genre really hot right now? Why is that? Do you want to self-publish, go with a smaller publishing house, or go with a larger publishing house? What about going with one of the Amazon imprints? Are you planning on ebooks, print books, audio books, something else? What about your marketing plan for whatever version or versions of your novel come out?
There are so many things to think about, so many things to do, both with the novel itself as well as outside and around the novel. This business isn't for wimps at all! Are you a writer, or a wimp? Me, I'm a writer, soon to be published. And it's a great ride.