Answer by Candace Vianna:
In my opinion, it varies. First ask yourself this question. “Why do I want to a novel?” The answer to that question determines your approach.
Are you writing to generate income? If so you need to make content choices based on market demand. You can write a great novel about a flying baboon with dandruff and halitosis, but if no one’s interested in flying baboons, you won’t make any money. But if your heart is really set on writing about a flying baboon, maybe the children’s market it a good fit.
Which leads to “Who is my audience?” If it’s a children’s book your baboon can’t go around dropping the f-bomb every other sentence. In my case I wrote my first novel for the romance market. Even then, I had to make several editorial choices based on the audience I was trying to reach. A romance containing steamy baboon lovin’ wouldn’t be suitable for the YA (Young Adult) audience. And the Christian romance market wouldn’t appreciate a profane LGBT baboon (no matter how funny he/she is.)
So let’s assume you’re writing for the mainstream romance market… An abundance of overly detailed love scenes can get your novel flagged for adult content and your novel will be filtered out general searches. Plus you run the risk of getting labeled an erotica author. This is a great if that’s your market, but five years down the road, you might regret not using pen name—just sayin’. The problem is once you get that label, the G-rated “Baboon’s Guide to Good Hygiene” you wrote next, might automatically get stuck in the erotica category (which will only piss-off the readers’ looking for sensual loofah techniques for hot baboon shower sex.)
But let’s say you have all the bananas you need. Maybe you want to raise awareness about dwindling baboon habitats, or the rising rate of depression among homeless baboons due to social bias on internet dating site. Or perhaps you just want to share your unique perspective with the world. Is a novel the best format?
So now you’ve determined there are baboon fans in your market. You know what you want to accomplish: Make enough money to buy bananas and help lonely baboons everywhere make love connections. This is the point (for me,) the actual writing process begins. You can see where I’m going with this, right? Once you’ve figured out why(You), for whom (Audience) and the purpose (Goal) of you’re novel, you’ll probably know where to start. Good luck and happy writing… Candace.