A prolific reader (and book reviewer) I know posted this advice in a discussion forum. If you’re working on a novel, it’s worth considering.
1. Don't give me time shifts or reverse time chapters unless you clearly indicate what you are doing and the purpose is absolutely necessary to make your story work.
2. No backstory after chapter one. If it's that important, you should have written the earlier book instead.
3. Don't assume I have read all your previous books, but don't fully include them in the current book unless relevant.
4. Refrain from obscure references outside the current book. No, I don't recall what painting is hanging on the far west wall in the room of the Louvre just beyond where the Mona Lisa is displayed, and frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.
5. Don't start multiple stories in the first 50 pages with the vague promise that they will all be resolved by the end of the book. Life occurs in sequence, not parallel.
6. Give your characters names that make sense but stay away from cutesy and/or tongue twisters that no one will remember. If your female characters are all Sue, Sue Anne, Suzanne, Susie, Susan, and all your males are Mike, Michael, Mikie and Mikhiel, well, forget it.
7. Check your facts. You don't have to be perfect, but please no ballistic checks for rifling on shotguns (there aren't any), no Chevrolet Thunderbirds, etc. The basics should always be right.
8. You can take certain liberties with reality if it makes story sense. It’s much better to have a temporary suspension of belief that an overly convoluted plot sequence just to make it work.
9. Limit coincidences. Yes, they do occur. But how often have you been walking down the street in a strange city, stop to help a little old lady cross the street, and discover she is your ex-wife's fourth grade school teacher?
10. Don't be unkind to animals or kids. I will throw your book against the wall whenever you beat, hit, kick, burn, or otherwise abuse either. Yes, there are animal abusers and child abusers in the real world, but not in mine.
11. Stereotypes are usually okay. After all, they help us quickly picture a character based on our real-life experiences. On the other hand, what I call an anti-stereotype can be distracting, i.e., if you paint the character one way and then have him/her act out of character.