Writers have been forever talking and writing about how painful and difficult it is to write a novel. “It is like walking to China on your knees.” Even Gabriel Garicia Marquez complains about the difficulty of writing.
I think good literary novels are one part technique and one part suffering. Technique can be learned. The suffering is different. It is the slow maturation of the soul. The Ancient Greeks believed that “we must suffer into truth” or, to put it another way, suffering is knowledge. Jungians describe the perfect cooking of the soul. The good reader can see the author cooking his own soul on the page and the thrill, if the technique is good, is being a witness to it.