1. Writers Write – Set up a daily writing schedule and stick to it.
2. Stand and Deliver – Provide an insight right away. Say something no-one has said, but that we all know.
3. Get To It – The reader’s internal clock is ticking. Hook them right away and keep them reading.
4. Make It Count – You are paying with your life. Do not write something trivial.
5. Keep It Simple – Clarity! Simplicity! Directness!
6. Do Not Complain – We all have our complaints. Nobody wants to read whining.
7. Do Not Explain – Show more (action). Tell less (explication).
8. Witness – Fiction is witnessing rather than preaching.
9. Wanting It – What does your primary character want? Does the character get it?
10. What Versus Why – More often than not, write the “whatness” of things, and not the “whyness” of things, which is the province of psychology and other related disciplines.
11. No Emotional Cliches – No eyes conveying emotion, no tears, no smiles, etc. These are cheap tricks for lazy writers.
12. Even If It Hurts – Hack details that do not advance the narrative. Also, do not smack the reader with background information. If it is important, then pay it out slowly, organically.
13. Write It Out – Not a ripe apple, but rather an apple so juicy full that the wet sweetness runs down my face and down my hand when I take a bite.
14. Avoid Sentimentality – Writing becomes sentimental when you claim something that has not been earned.
15. Talk to Someone – Writing is more than just the correct use of nouns and verbs, more than words on the page. Writing is the authority of one human heart speaking to another human heart.
16. Location, Location, Location – Everything happens somewhere.
17. Sensations – Describe a scent every couple of pages. Use all the senses.
18. Revise – All the best writing is rewriting.
19. Less is More – Omit useless words.
20. Get the Basics Right – Grammar, punctuation, dialogue, attributions, etc.
21. Yadda, Yadda, Yadda – Does it pass the “so what?” test?
22. Go for the Jugular – You can always be nervier than you think.
23. Make It Great – The best art celebrates the mystery and holiness and beauty of life.
24. Get Tough – Writers and their writing face constant rejection. Develop a tough hide.
25. Keep Going – Writers fail when they fail to write.