1. Keep up the Pace
I had a writing mentor for a number of years through middle school and high school, and a big thing that she taught me was to keep up the pace. Don't get distracted with insignificant "fluff". Get to the point. Each scene in your novel should help propel it to the next stage; you shouldn't include unnecessary scenes. If a scene doesn't further the plot, cut it, because it'll only hurt your reader's attention. I don't mean for you to cut character or scene description; you need those things, and they do build plot. However, that scene where your character texts for a few minutes, or goes to the hardware store for a hammer she never uses? Unnecessary. Cut it. If you cut the unnecessary, and keep to the important, your reader is much more likely to stay hooked through your book.
2. The First Chapter
Most writers know that their first chapter is uber important. A mistake that a lot of writers end up making has to do with them knowing this fact. They think that they need to cram everything into the first chapter in order to "get everything in". They try to include every character, location, detail about their character's psyche, and so on. Don't make this mistake! All this will do is overload your reader with details that they won't remember, and bore them with backstory. What should you include? Introduce a couple key characters. Your main character, and a supporting character or two. This is my suggestion to you. Do writers do this differently some times? Absolutely. Is it always a bad idea to introduce numerous characters in your first chapter? Always is a strong word, so I would say no. However, in most cases, you don't want to introduce too many people in that first chapter. Dust your reader with character and information. Give them a taste of what's to come. Remember, if you get full on the appetizer, you won't have room for dinner.
3. Leave Them Hanging
Lots of writers do things differently than I do, so know that there isn't necessarily a right or a wrong way to do things. I'm just speaking from my own experience. In my experience, when I'm reading a book and a chapter ends on a cliffhanger, I'm much more likely to keep reading. It's that feeling of reading at two in the morning, knowing that you have to be awake in a few hours, but you can't put the book down. Why? Because you didn't expect for that "one last chapter" to end with a question that you just needed an answer to. Your goal at the end of each chapter, is to get your reader to read the next chapter. Entice them, and think about if you were reading your book. What would make you want to keep going? What would make you want to stay up the extra hour to find out what happens?
That's it for today! Follow me on Twitter for more frequent updates. Here's my Twitter handle: @Elysia_Regina. I'd love to connect with you!
Keep writing, keep reading, and never give up on your dreams!
You're all awesome!