1. Always err on the side of the specific
    "The cool guy drank whiskey" is boring. "The cool guy drank a sip of the whiskey his moderately abusive father gave him ten years later as part of a reconciliation that mostly worked out" is sort of interesting. "The cool guy drank a glass of tonic water and told everyone it was a vodka soda" is even more interesting because it subverts cool and alcohol- let's see where that goes
  2. There should be one thing you dislike about the likable character and one thing you like about the unlikable ones
    The fun class clown can be petty and sometimes emotionally oblivious to his friends. The school athlete/bully is kind of a jerk but he believes firmly in meritocracy and is both respectful and determined.
  3. Keep it small and right
    When in doubt be grounded. Small stuff is interesting and true. People can tell bullshit and painting with broad strokes is an insincere shortcut to reach bit ideas
  4. If you're writing a love story, show, don't tell
    Dialogue and banter is the best way to vibe it out, especially if it's funny, sometimes awkward, and you flesh out physical details in the action. Don't describe them physically too much!!!! Your reader is just picturing their own crush anyway. More important is the feel; how her eyes seem to light up when she talks in class without pausing and how he goes to the acappela shows because she's in it's
  5. Avoid swear words!!!
    Unless there's a very good reason, profanity in writing comes off clunky and "did you see that?" Lame smirky. I did it a lot in my early work. Be smarter than me.