So I keep a whiteboard by my desk, and on it I list key things to remember while writing. Sure, the list could go on forever, so, to make it more effective, I keep it short and only add new things when I feel strongly about them.
1) Cool things per page - How many cool things per page does your novel have?
2) Use the 5 senses - This is a huge one I need to work on.
3) Tension on every page - Without tension, why bother reading?
4) Develop Minor & Peripheral Characters - Even the teleporter operator can have a distinguishing feature. He doesn't just have to be the guy that pushes the button.
5) Conflicting Motivation - Make your characters want things that directly conflict.
And my newest addition:
6) Create a sense of urgency - I love this one!
What's your list of top writing essentials contain?