* How should you not start a story?
This one is pretty subjective. I don’t think there are incorrect or correct ways to start, just what people might like and dislike. Personally speaking I don’t like when the author introduces each character right away, unless it has some sort of a reason behind it. I also don’t like when it starts with a dream because it’s the first scene and I want to get a brief idea of the storyline or the main character, not read through something irrelevant thinking it’s an actual scene, only to find out later that it is indeed irrelevant.
* What are the things that often turn readers away?
I have two that will definitely bother me. One of them is too many mistakes. I’m not a native speaker either and I don’t mean bad English affects me. But if an author makes too many typos and it seems like they didn’t even read it over before publishing, then it gets to me. Second one is lines that come off as… forced. Or fake. Like things a character that age wouldn’t say, unless it’s part of that particular character’s personality.
* What are the typically newbie mistakes?
A clear mistake I did was publishing before the story was ready to be published. The script had many errors. My transitions sucked. And that went on for 10 chapters because once I started writing thinking I’ll learn at some point, I didn’t stop to figure out the technical details. I reread my story a few days ago and I can’t believe people kept reading it, the directing was terrible due to my lack of coding knowledge.
* What should your story always contain?
In my opinion? There’s nothing your story should contain.
* Any other advice for a newbie.
Don’t get caught up in numbers. That just kills the fun of writing.