I just finished reading the Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. This is probably the longest book I have ever read, but except for a few slow parts it clipped along nicely. I enjoy reading novels and I like to write as well, but just to try to express myself, to formulate a thought that fails to satisfy until it is written. There certainly is a need to articulate. I have never really tried to write people.
You write to express yourself, sure, but it seems that you write a novel to express a person that lives within you whom you are not really excited to share, that you don't know how to share and to own. I have read novels that do not seem thus inspired, but many are. A person needs to write when once they realize that the thoughts and philosophies that define their beliefs are incongruous with one another and would make more sense if presented as the thoughts and philosophies of half a dozen distinct characters. The novel then is a stage for a writer to play out the people within him, the people who tolerate and despise and resent one another, who challenge and sharpen and object to one another. Each character in a novel is an experiment, the writer tries to prove or fears to allow that the person could exist in a life. In this way, the writer gives voice to his vengeance and mercy alike, his acceptance and rejection of life, his assurance of clarity and his confounded despair, dispensed through the voices of a sufficiently large number of people to make such a noise of thoughts believable to the reader, who in turn fancies himself to be more lucid and coherent than he perhaps is.