I’ve just spotted http://lauracea.blogspot.com/2011/04/o-oh-i-didnt-know-that-yes-i-did.html?spref=tw; a list of 15 rules of writing, some of which Susan agrees with, some not… I used not to be a fan of prologues but having needed one in novel no. 2 I’m warming to the idea.
I’m hopeless at memorising things (which is why I had a 2-line part in my school play) so can barely remember two of Shel Silverstein’s poems ‘Snowball’ (http://tiny.cc/zm4g1) and ‘It’s Dark in Here’ (http://tiny.cc/bgyvt).
I totally agree with limiting exclamation marks; unless someone’s shouting, there’s really no need. Regional dialects; absolutely. The occasional (and consistent) ‘mam’ is fine but unless you’re writing a book that’ll only be read (and understood) by that area of the country, just don’t.
There’s nothing worse than having a wonderful idea and not having something to write on; I have a mini notebook and decent pen (a pen that doesn’t work is worse than not having one) in each of my dog-walking jackets.
Thesauruses are invaluable although if you’re working on a computer you’ll likely have the word processor’s and/or in the internet.
Some clichés are fine to use but yes, definitely with caution. If a reader gets to one and rolls/his or her eyes, he/she may start losing interest and with so many other distractions these days, that maybe a battle your book won’t win.