I'm a bit of a traditionalist. I like stories with narrative arcs, I like dialogue and showing, stuff like that. Call me boring; that's my taste. And of course there are exceptions, but these are structures and devices I don't generally prefer:
Phone calls. Lots of writers consider a phone call just more dialogue, but consider how handicapped one is in a conversation via telephone in real life and apply that to a story. We're missing out on an entire array of senses, relying only on hearing. Can we really get to know your characters well by listening to them talk on the phone? This could work if it's a multi-pov story, but...
Multiple Points of View. Even in a longer story, we barely get time to connect with a character. Switching can make it tough to know who to root for. This is more about scope than anything else.
Letters , Diary Entries, Captains' Logs, etc. When reading these stories I always wonder why the writer didn't just choose narrative structure. Sometimes a note or memo at the beginning of a story can act as a sort of prologue, but I usually pass on stories told entirely through these devices, even if there's a good arc. They usually lack action and dialogue and rely on a lot of telling. This device simply doesn't provide for showing very well. Unfortunately these stories often contain clever ideas that would have stood their own within traditional narrative.
Flashbacks. There are definitely exceptions to this rule. I have one story in my hold file right now that switches between past and present. It can be done effectively. But it takes a steady hand on the tiller not to steer the boat into boring seas. So ask yourself, is this flashback really necessary?
Violence/torture to shock and awe. Consider carefully whether the threat of violence is scarier than the actual thing. And unfortunately, flat antagonists usually go hand-in-hand with violence. If a baddie chasing teenagers/torturing somebody (even the deserving)/resulting blood baths is the bent of your story, Electric Spec isn't the best market. Think DEXTER rather than SAW I-IV.
There you have it. Anyone have any ideas for more, or arguments for/against my preferences here?