For me, novels coalesce into being, rather than arrive fully formed.
I think words operate like musical notes that the eyeball hears.
A life can get knocked into a new orbit by a car crash, a lottery win or just a bleary-eyed consultant giving bad news in a calm voice.
False modesty can be worse than arrogance.
The art of the novelist is not unrelated to the illness of multiple personality disorder. It's a much milder form. But the better the book, the nearer to the padded cell you are.