1) Narrative is so much better than dialogue.
2) Adverbs are absolutely essential.
3) Using the tag “said” to carry dialogue is boring. Spruce it up a little by using words like grumbled, declared, cried or gasped.
4) If you must use the word “said” then by all means pair it up with an adverb—“Harold said, sadly.” Now the reader knows for certain that Harold is unhappy.
5) Readers are dumb. They are unable to infer a single thing. Spell it out clearly. If you're still uncertain that your reader gets the gist of what is taking place, then by all means, write it again. You may have to write it several times to ensure that the concept has been thoroughly explored and explained—“Harold said, sadly. The tear sliding down his cheek proved his unhappiness. He cried a little more. He had never been so unhappy in all his life.”
6) Exclamations should be used often! They are the visual signs of excitement and thrill! The proper rule of thumb is at least one exclamation point per page but no more than ten. Double exclamations or exclamations paired with a question mark are AWESOME!!
7) When using dialogue, infuse it with a thick coat of regional dialect.
8) Obviously, words are a writer’s paintbrush. A writer can never use too many. If you write anything less than 150K novels, then return to your novel and see what you’ve missed. Because you have definitely missed something.
9) Building on point #8, NEVER delete words or scenes from your manuscript. Every word is necessary and essential to the story development.
10) Characters must remain consistent throughout the novel. If a character begins the story rich, happy, and full of vigor, then they must end the story the exact same way. Otherwise, you risk confusing your reader by writing too many emotions. A consistent character is ten times better than a character who is flighty and unpredictable.
11) Phrases such as “all hell broke loose”, “needle in a haystack”, “so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk” are not only cute but are widely known terms that people worldwide can relate to.
12) When your character enters a new setting, take two to three pages to describe in detail his or her surroundings. If it is a room in a house, include the description of not only the drapes and rug thickness, but a full description of the sconces on the wall and the pattern of the wallpaper. This is important to the story.
13) A great novel starts with backstory.
14) Never show your work to anyone but your parents, boyfriend, girlfriend or adoring grandmother.
15) Imagination is dangerous and full of lies and deception. Write only what you know. Back it up with facts and references (add footnotes to your fiction as proof of your knowledge).
What other funny or bad advice would you add to the list? I know I've missed a bunch.