Teresa Nielsen Hayden of Viable Paradise has a darn good collection of plot hints and work-arounds which is also quite amusing. It’s geared primarily for the sci-fi/fantasy writer, but is useful for anybody. For example, under the heading If I am Ever the Hero…. there’s this bit of wisdom:
5. When the Evil Overlord is hanging on the cliff by his fingers, I will not try to help him up. If time and means are available, I’ll kill him then and there.
Which I used, almost literally but quite unaware of this particular formulation of the rule, in Into the Wilderness. If you can call Billy Kirby an Evil Overlord, of course. And another one:
11. I will never assume that an enemy is dead unless the remains are available for examination, and will keep in mind the possibility of cloning technology or resurrection magic.
Which is a relevant to most historical fiction, as well (although without the cloning and magic, for the most part). It’s certainly worth puttering around Teresa’s many pages of suggestions. They sparked some ideas for me, and I also laughed a lot, particularly at the helpful hints for evil overloads, like this one: 10. I will not interrogate my enemies in the inner sanctum — a small hotel well outside my borders will work just as well.