Obviously someone who builds houses might look at this and say, "What? Has she lost her mind?" I would answer, "Why no. No I haven't." If you truly think about it building anything is similar to building something else. For example, we all start with plans, then we build upon those plans to make it a reality.
1) As writers we begin with a thought, an idea. Builders being with plans.
2) We decide to take that idea and bring it to fruition. In doing so we lay the foundation for our novel. For example. I had the idea for my latest WIP late at night. I could have ignored it and mulled it over for a while. Instead I jumped out of bed and started writing. I started building that foundation.
3) Once the foundation (my first draft) was laid, I began to build the frame. By building the frame I mean I began to fix the plot, tighten it up. The roof needs something to hold it up and that would be the plot. Without the plot (frame), or plot holes (support beams), the roof will come tumbling down.
4) Once the plot (frame) is in place we begin to close it up, board it up, put the roof on. By this I mean we tighten up the plot and characters. For me I have been doing this by working through the characters eyes. I have sat down for the past week and looked at each individual character, chapter by chapter, to see what it's like for them. What are they thinking or doing? As a result I have been closing up that frame, making it more leak proof. I still have yet to do the actual writing on this section. I've only been planning.
5) The next step after closing everything up and tightening the story (house) is to smooth out all of the edges. Make it more seamless and liveable. In this stage the writer (or the builder) puts other important pieces together to make the jump between chapters or scenes more natural.
6) The final stage is to move in, so to speak, bring it to life. This is where the writer makes sure that every little flaw is smoothed out and begins to put the finishing touches on their WIP. It's as if the builder is putting the decorations in a show home, ready to show it off to potential customers (agents) with the hopes of gaining a buyer (publisher).
So, I don't think that I'm too far off when I say that building a home and writing a novel are similar. I think they both take different amounts of expertise, but where as building a house involves many people and lots of money, writing a novel is a solitary job and doesn't require much money, mostly time and lots of brain energy.
Your turn: Tell me what you think writing a novel is most like?