I thought I'd share some of the things I've learned firsthand from authors and some pieces of advice passed on from other authors.
1.) "Write what you read. You'll already be aware of the parameters of a certain type of story." - I've been told this by too many writers to attribute it to just one person. For example in cozy mysteries, the murder always occurs off stage. In the case of romance novels, the story will always have a happily ever after ending.
2.) "Be prepared to work long and hard, perhaps for no compensation beyond experience." - Claire Delacroix. One always hears of the author who makes the best seller list(s) with the very first manuscript they ever wrote. While this does happen, it's definitely not the norm.
3.) "Set regular times during the week when you must write." - Gil Sanderson. I've found this to be true. When I follow a regular writing schedule, I accomplish so much more than when I just try to squeeze it when I can.
4.) "You have to grab your reader's attention right away so your first sentence, first paragraph, even the first page are of utmost importance." - I've been told this by many writers as well.
5.) "Beginnings set up the dominoes. By the end of chapter 3, every key element of the story should be in place." - Ruthie Knox. This goes along with #4.
6.) "Try to end each chapter with a cliff hanger. This will keep the reader turning the pages. The last thing you want is for the reader to set the book down and not pick it back up again." - Lorna Barrett
7.) "Your cast of supporting characters should reflect what your protagonist needs." - Hallie Ephron
8.) "Know the rules of writing, but don't be afraid to break those rules to write the story you need to." - Debra Dixon
9.) "Make your main character(s) likable. Readers sympathize with the characters. If your main character acts like a jerk for half the book, don't expect too many readers to like him/her." - Ruthie Knox
10.) "In the end, either you have the cojones to write and keep writing, or you don't. No amount of good advice will make a damn bit of difference. It's like exercise. There are health experts everywhere who will tell you what you need to do, but unless you have the discipline to make yourself sweat, it doesn't matter in the least." - Mark Jenkins