This article is a simple breakdown of lessons new writers of fiction may appreciate finding out early in the process. It focuses on longer fiction and it takes a list form so feel free to add your own suggestions too.
Those all-important first few pages:
The first line is the most important and will be written and rewritten many times in order to captivate the reader. This apples to the whole opening scene too. Don’t wait until it’s perfect before you move on.
Never introduce too many characters at once. It’s too confusing for a reader.
Provide a clue about your setting. It could just be a reference a car or a tunic, but of all the places a story can be set in, you need to indicate where yours falls.
Try not to give huge backstories early on. You’ll probably do so in the first drafts, but you should end up writing sections later where these details will become self-evident or arise naturally.
Throughout your work:
Write about what you know. The small details you’ll be able to include will make your work seem more real and a lot less research will be involved.
Make sure the small details in your book are correct, because readers will notice mistakes.
Dialogue is usually more interesting than description, but often harder to write.
Take breaks from your work (an hour, a day, weeks or even a month) so that you can come back and look at it objectively (you’ll notice awkward phrases and plot holes this way).
Be willing to cut sections that don’t work. It’s better to accept this fact sooner rather than later. Your work is unlikely to end up anything like your initial idea.
Develop characters you care about and are interested in. In many cases, they’ll become like friends.
You need subplots and small climaxes building up to a big ending to keep the book interesting.
Remember there are more senses than just sight. Try to include a variety.
Always have paper and a pen with you to record any ideas that come to you when you’re out.
Have a separate document on your computer that you use to record an outline of your plot.
Dealing with writer’s block:
Change what you’re doing. For example, go back and edit another section. If it doesn’t instantly evoke the scene you had pictured, you've got something to work on.
Put your characters in scenes together, give them a problem, and just see what happens. Or put them in situations you’ve been in recently. Even if these parts doesn’t make it into the final book, you may learn more about your characters.
Take a break, go for a walk, or do something unusual. You'll be surprised when inspiration strikes. Reading or watching other stories is good too.
Remember to take all of these tips with a grain of salt, as the most important thing is to find your own story and your own style.