"If you could say one thing to aspiring novelists, what would you say?"
Learn your craft. The overwhelming weakness of most fiction manuscripts I see is that the writer hasn't taken time to learn the craft of writing fiction.
When I decided I wanted to write novels I began reading books on the craft of fiction. I've lost count of how many books I read. I read and studied novels. I marked them up like you would mark your Bible. I took notes. I listened to audio books. I did everything I could to help me learn the art of writing fiction. So take time to learn your craft. From the time I started studying fiction to the time my first novel was published was close to 12 years. I'm not saying you should take that long, but don't rush things either.
--James Pence, author of Terror by Night (w/ Terry Caffey), Blind Sight, and more. Visit his website.