My March 09 RWR came in the mail this afternoon. Some months are full of information, others only so-so. But this issue is loaded with interesting articles; the role of the publisher, power promotion, author's views on revisions, and my personal favorite so far, the scene and sequel. I think Patricia Kay did a wonderful job of illustrating how well the scene/sequel can work, and what they can and cannot do for your story.
There are all sorts of technique books and websites out there. Swain's Techniques of a Selling Author, Ingermanson's Snowflake Method, and Stephanie Bonds Writer's How-To articles are good for me.
However, I think the methodology study works best after the first draft- Vivid, unique, heart-felt story telling comes fast and furious, when you are utterly in love with your h/h and all the mayhem before them. Then, once that first draft is over, the rules can help you smooth out your masterpiece. But to deliberately worry about the details before the bones of the story are laid out seems a bit stifling to me.
What about you? Any "have-to" rules you follow from the very beginning, or do you punt the rules and let your characters lead the way?