Elliot, who decides that a work is awful or not? The reader, right? But "the reader" is not one taste only. If so, we would not have so many genres - and not so many MarySue genres (thinking of a few well sold authors, who really make money with cliches).

I agree with Lowkey here - it is better to write something awful than nothing at all, why? You can improve then. Ok, I would not put something on the web in the public area if I consider it awful, but test this with persons I know. Or - look for a site that has cliched plots/chars as well, so my cliche would fit in this.

No. Because I am not writing about me. The character's emotional history and state are vital; my own a distraction to be suppressed or ignored. The essential thing is to know your character so well that you become them while writing them - you feel what they feel.

Hm, there are authors who use their own state and express this in a story. If I may use a bestseller example here: Seybold (Lovely bones). The way she wrote it, it became very clear to me that she had a trauma - still a fascinating book. No, not "still", because she had a trauma, a fascinating book, very strong emotional impact on this reader at least - and on others reading/buying it. My suspicion became a fact after I read her 3rd book (psychological one) and she revealed what had happened to her in RL => rape and being stalked upon. In her 1st novel she wrote about a murdered child that was raped before and watched her family and the murderer out of her own "heaven". She wrote herself, her char was like a glove.

Any reader who is not wondering what happens next and does not like your character(s) will not return.

I agree fully, a predictable plot lets me put a book aside very quickly.