For those just getting started, here is my version of a really basic list of dos and don'ts when writing.
- Do not use fancy formatting. Stick with Times New Roman, Size 12, Double Spaced.
- Do use the same tense from start to finish. This is basically a toss-up between past and present. Most people write in past tense. Many romance novels these days, however, are written in present tense because it can make the reader feel like they're really part of the story.
- Do not change POVs mid-way. You should think about what POV you're most comfortable using or the POV that your story most need before writing. I personally prefer writing in third person POV (he said, she said, they said) but there are times when my prologue is written in first person POV (I said, we said). In some cases, I write the girl's point of view in first person and the guy in third's or vice versa. As you can see, POV changes are okay - but not mid-paragraph, mid-scene, or mid-sentence.
- Do be consistent. Sudden changes or twists and turns that really just come out of nowhere - with no reasonable explanation or no proper build-up - can be very jarring and will likely take your reader out of the story. If your H/h start off as frenemies in Chapter 1, you can't have them as BFFs in Chapter 2 without at least an explanation or a proper transition. Readers are fairly forgiving, especially when it comes to romance. Most of them - us - are willing to accept insta-love concepts, but you should at least provide a basis for two people falling in love at first sight.
That's it for now. Like I said, these are all simple rules, something I typed off the top of my head. I hope it helps!