Don’t bore the reader.
You can get away with breaking all of the other rules at least once in a while, but you can’t get away with breaking this one. Readers will accept almost anything from you if you don’t make them feel they have wasted their time and money. Remember, you can bore readers in a lot of different ways. It doesn’t necessarily take a dearth of action; too much action can get you the same result. Everything in writing, like in life, requires balance.
The more closely the author thinks of why he wrote, the more he comes to regard his imagination as a kind of self-generating cement which glued his facts together, and his emotions as a kind of dark and obscure designer of those facts. Reluctantly, he comes to the conclusion that to account for his book is to account for his life.
You should never read just for “enjoyment.” Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick “hard books.” Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for god’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, “I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.” Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of “literature”? That means fiction, too, stupid.
You don’t actually have to write anything until you’ve thought it out. This is an enormous relief, and you can sit there searching for the point at which the story becomes a toboggan and starts to slide.
The art of the dramatist is very like the art of the architect. A plot has to be built up just as a house is built—story after story; and no edifice has any chance of standing unless it has a broad foundation and a solid frame.