1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it.
4. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
5. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
6. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
7. When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
8. Discount the first thing that comes to mind. And the second, third fourth fifth – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
9. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likeable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
10. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed?
11. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
12. You gotta identify with your characters. What would make YOU act that way? You can’t just write ‘cool’.