- Don't use a prologue and an epilogue. People don't read those.
- Don't start out by describing the weather. It's boring and will lose the reader's interest.
- Don't start the story with the protagonist in her bedroom. That is also boring.
- Don't include dream sequences. There are better ways to advance the plot.
- Don't include flashbacks if you can help it. There are better ways to relay information.
Fourth, dream sequences. This one is a particular favorite of mine. I broke this one good and hard in my YA Victorian fantasy novel. I'd agree with this no-no, except when it comes to supernatural/paranormal or fantasy writing. Those can pretty much do whatever they want, as long as it works. But it has to work. Readers don't like watching the protagonist dream about doing something, they want her to actually do it! Action speaks louder than words, right? So your words need to relay some pretty exciting action.
And here's where I say fantasy and supernatural are different. In a fantasy novel, a dream can be a real place, and the actions taken there just as real as they would be in the waking world of the protagonist. Mine are. Think of Nightmare on Elm Street. Did the characters die any less just because Freddy killed them in their dreams? Nope.
There are exceptions to every rule, and only you can tell when to toss the no-nos out the window and just write. Trust your gut, hone your craft, and if you want to break rules, break them good and hard! (a la Granny Weatherwax) As long as your rule-breaking serves a purpose and improves the story, mind.
Are there any writing no-nos you're guilty of? What do you think of breaking writing rules?