I get many requests from friends and family members, and even friends of friends, to read their manuscripts. Many want to try their hand at writing a short story or novel and I applaud the effort. I almost always agree to do a read on their work, but I'm honest with my critique. I'll usually find at least one thing that I like, but won't sugarcoat the problem areas, either.
I've read some great pieces and some that were not as great. Whether you like MY work is up to you, but I'm confident in my abilities to at least recognize good writing in OTHER people. What I often tell wanna-be novelists is that knowing how to write won't automatically make you a great novelist.
You may know how to string a sentence together so that it's grammatically correct and know not to confuse there, their or they're, but constructing a novel goes way beyond writing the words. You need to build characters, weave A, B and C stories together and write convincing and realistic dialogue. And that's just the tip of the iceberg! You can write enough sentences to make up 100-plus pages, but if they don't really build a story then your novel isn't going to hold together.
I'm always encouraging writers to take classes. I've taken many and plan to take more in the future. You can never learn too much. I attempt to share some of my knowledge in this article I wrote for HubPages on novel writing.
If you want to become a novelist, the first step should be to take a class and learn HOW to write a story. Of course, keep at your writing, keep learning and never give up.
Please read and review my novel REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.