An online-only PaizoCon had a few wrinkles, but one of the best parts was being able to set up an "Ask Me Anything" thread for anyone to drop in and ask me questions about what I do. One question I received from Andrew Mullen strikes me as a great question a lot of people probably have:

What's the biggest—or what're the co-biggest—stumbling blocks you see from new adventure authors?

And here's my (mostly unedited) response to that:

Erratic party assumptions! Too many new writers assume all parties are just like the ones they play in. They might go into a lot of detail about how you negotiate with the kobold with blue skin because that's naturally the one their party would talk to, or a lot of detail about how to wreck up the evil altar of Lamashtu because of course Lamashtu's the worst of the gods, or how to bust down the one door into the treasure vault because they'll need to know how to get that sweet, sweet treasure. This makes the adventure seem erratic! Not all parties make the same assumptions, and it requires either a lot of play with lots of different groups OR reading a lot of Paizo adventures (or both!) to catch up with our assumptions about what parties might or might not do.

But fear not! There are solutions, and each of these examples I proposed have different solutions writers should consider.

The Blue Kobold
: If there's an monstrous NPC you want the players to talk to and not bash, you need to follow the 3 clue rule: plant 3 separate reasons for the heroes to not bash them. Perhaps a friendly NPC mentions that the blue-skinned-little-dragon-person didn't seem so mean. AND some nasty monster vocally derides "the blue one" for being too eager to talk and not willing to fight enough. AND the blue kobold makes a big show of being peaceful. THEN you can put in a bunch of "if the heroes talk to the blue kobold Bluey, then...." text. (BUT your adventure should be prepared to not go off the rails even if the party DOES kill ol' Bluey).

Wrecking the Altar: Of course some parties may want to wreck up the evil altar; they might want to wreck up all kinds of things! Consider when you need to NOT provide specific information for party destruction, because the core rules already address it and the GM already has all the tools to adjudicate that (or to simply handwave it; if it's just a chunk of stone with no trap or monster or curse or anything, they just say "Okay, it's smashed up. Now what?" Realize that you don't need rules for everything!

Wrecking the Door: If you want to clearly communicate that the heroes need to go somewhere, just communicate it and don't assume. Put a grate in the door so the heroes can see something tempting inside, or leave the door open, even. If you're writing an assumption that the heroes might smash this particular thing, include rules for smashing any such similar thing in the area. (This is the opposite of the altar issue; instead of omitting rules to break THAT ONE THING, you're including rules to smash ALL SIMILAR THINGS.) This normally goes into the "Features of the Area" section at the beginning of the dungeon/manor/etc. along the lines of "Doors in this area are wood banded with iron and require a blah blah blah to force open. They're unlocked except where indicated." That way, you've covered a party that wants to smash ANY door.

Thanks to Andrew for the great question!