There are many ways to write a novel. I don't recommend the way I did it!
I wrote the dang thing in a month, just to see if I could. NaNoWriMo is an annual contest of sorts that encourages would-be novelists to write 50,000 words in one month. So I did. What I wound up with was a disjointed story in several viewpoints with backstories written last. It was a mess. I have since worked hard on it, incorporating the backstories, making good separations, tying up the loose ends and refining it. It's not been easy and I have had help.
At first I just put the non-novel away, thinking it was a good exercise but not worth the work to fix it up. About a year later, I read it again and thought maybe it was worth the work. If nothing else, I now know a whole lot more about the entire process for this exercise. And, I have decided to publish it - just because I can.
Is it the great American novel? Well, it is American at its core as the storyline deals with an immigrant family's journey through several generations. Unlike most blockbusters though, this story deals with real people, not millionaires or celebrities.
My next novel will be planned, outlined, written to a structure and from a single point of view. Not because it will be better, though I hope it will, but because it is more efficient to write that way. I've written my whole professional life and found the entire experience of writing a novel fascinating because it was one area new to me.
It's out to an editor now for a final proof. When uploaded, I'll put a link here.