There is only one question a novelist need ask himself:
What do I want?
Not: what does the editor want, what does the reader want, what does the public want, what does the critic want, what does my mother want, what does my best friend want?
Of course it is possible to write with all or any of the above questions in mind but you'll find when the going gets tough your mind will begin to skate unless you pull up and say to yourself- screw all the rest- what do I want to write here? It's the only way to break though the topsoil into the clay beneath. And clay is the stuff real people are moulded from.