In case anyone missed them, I really liked Janet Fitch's 10 Rules for Writers at Jacket Copy. Hunting the link, I also found her pep talk for NaNoWriMo: "So you have these options, but which one to go for? When in doubt, make trouble for your character. Don't let her stand on the edge of the pool, dipping her toe. Come up behind her and give her a good hard shove. That's my advice to you now. Make trouble for your character. In life we try to avoid trouble. We chew on our choices endlessly. We go to shrinks, we talk to our friends. In fiction, this is deadly. Protagonists need to screw up, act impulsively, have enemies, get into TROUBLE."
Semi-related: A discussion at the Enchanted Inkpot about YA books aimed at boys that garnered lots of discussion. I'm in agreement with Janni Simner's take (see the comments on this one, too): "It's possible I'm just not seeing how many more "girl" books there are, but I'm not convinced. Especially if one just as narrowly defines "girl books" as books with female protagonists. What I see is a genre that already publishes quite a few "boy" books constantly fretting, even as it searches for more, that it's excluding boy readers. (While fewer people seem to stop to celebrate the fact that hey! There's so much SF/fantasy out there that girls are reading now, much more than a couple generations back, and way more than in the SF portion of the adult SF/fantasy genre even now.)"