Open your narrative with a trigger statement to rouse the reader’s curiosity. create a doorway for your main character to walk through, unless she already acted, or in rare cases, had been acted upon in the first sentence.
Avoid talking over your character rather than through her. Allow her to tell her story. The writer establishes the world inhabited by the character; puts words from her mouth, thoughts in her head, and reactions to her surroundings and other characters.
When a situation requires an information-dump, hit it head-on, but keep it minimal and spaced between character interactions. Your POV character will have many opportunities to build her history through future action, dialogue, or internal monologue.
Avoid technique clichés such as staring into a mirror, mumbling to a pet or door knob, or reciting information to another character who would have already known the details.
Don’t create an audience-surrogate character to absorb information. If your character has a buddy or an intern-in-training, give her or him a legitimate purpose in the story beyond active listening.
Dialogue: Tricky but necessary to flesh out characters. Make it sound like something people might say under the circumstances, yet void of their natural rambling. The speech pattern for each character is as important to his or her development as what is said.
Author intrusion: Don’t break the flow of the narrative by speaking directly to the reader, unless the writer’s story telling voice has been established throughout the piece.
Internal monologue: No need to italicize if the character’s POV has been firmly established. As with Shakespeare’s soliloquies, use internal monologue to express the character’s true feeling and intentions.
Show-don’t-tell. Create the action rather than relate the action.
Avoid passive verbs. Is, are, was, were, be, am, and been are devoid of action and dull. Save them for statements of fact such as this one.
Avoid the ly Adverbs. The same applies to exclamation marks. Your characters’ words or actions should create the intensity.
Avoid echoes. Repetition of words and syntax patterns within a sentence, a paragraph, or the entire piece. Exception: parallel triplet constructions for poetic effect. (Majesty of threes)
Point of view: Dialogue and interior monologue must be restricted to your character’s six senses (five plus intuition.) She can only assume beyond what she can’t perceive or feel.
Purple prose: Limit adjectives and figures of speech for special effect, not as decorations that detract from the story. Be prepared to kill your little poetic darlings or dialogue cuteness.
Parsimony: Cut unnecessary words. They annoy and insult the reader who probably skips over them anyway. Every word, sentence, paragraph, and chapter must support and advance your plot, characters, setting, mood, theme, and voice—character’s and author’s.
Exempt from these rules: Quality writers with excellent command of language whose voice supersedes that of her individual characters without diminishing them.