There are a number of guidelines and so called rules for how to best execute writing an engaging story. – Don’t data-dump, watch your exposition, don’t start every sentence with a pronoun and definitely strive to cut all the filter words. Easy? Not at all!
While there are some great advise out there and there are reasons for saying that you should structure your writing in a certain way, I say; always keep those advise in mind, but think for yourself. If everyone wrote in the exact same way there would be no uniqueness. Every book would look pretty much the same, though granted, the stories can still be different – it takes some of the excitement away.
People like to read different things. Some like a nice slow pace while others like the fast flowing action that never ends… I guess you could say a balance of the two is the best way to go… but who decides this? It is all in the eye of the beholder.
Different genres also offer different structural challenges. In fantasy for instance, exposition, though restricted, is necessary. I tend to go overboard and have to slice and dice a lot after the first draft. I still keep a lot of exposition in the final product – because I like it!
You should definitely listen to advise and take them into consideration. What you shouldn’t do is blindly take advise and change the entire style of your work. There is something to be said about having your own writer-voice, I believe. As with a singer it is really good when you can open a book and distinguish one voice from another! If you like the way it sounds when you read your work out loud, then keep it as is! One advise I actually really like is that you should limit your pronouns at the start of a sentence to three in a row or paragraph – which is saying that you can use them, but with care. You want to avoid the repetition more than anything. Sound advise!
There are always exceptions to the rule, and in writing you need to decide what works best for your particular piece. If you want to swop PoV in the middle of a scene, do it! You’ll find lots of people advising against it, but I find it’s all in the execution! If you want to describe the interior in excruciating detail, by all means do, though I will say that you might want to be sure it has a purpose. If it does then I’m all for it.
The very best advise, I find, is that every single word should have meaning. It needs to have a reason for being there, to drive the story forward. If you are just writing something because you like the way it sounds, but it has no place in the actual plot, then be brutal, CUT IT OUT! You can always keep it for something else 🙂 The thing about this is that your reader is bound to trail off, because they have no idea what is happening – they will try to find meaning to it, because surely if you’ve written it there would be a reason for them to take notice.
To summarize – Stay true to your voice, be humble – accept critiques and advise – but take every advise with a grain of salt.
Trust your instincts and write on!