When I am at the library (for example), I look at three things before I check out the book. I look at the cover (I admit that I do judge a book by it's cover.), the synopsis, and the first couple pages. I do it in that exact order. If it passes the first test (the cover), then I move on the synopsis. If it passes that, I read the first couple pages.
So, as you can see, a grabber is really important. It can be as little as a strange sound to start out the story, or more of a preclude that leaves the reader with aching questions that need to be answered.
Also, don't take forever to get into the story. In a typical story, it starts out with the main character's normal day life. I have made the mistake of trying to draw out my beginning. The faster you get into the chunk of the plot, the better.
2. Make a cliffhanger at the end of each chapter. Some readers, will read a chapter, then put the book down and do something else. Mostly, it is because the reader doesn't have time to sit around all day and read. When people do that, you want to leave them with an aching feeling to read the next chapter.
When I read a good book, I just read chapter after chapter. I could stay up all night reading a book that has cliffhangers at the end of each chapter.
You can end it with a villain laughing in his evil way over a trap he set for your MC (this is one of my favorites XD), or something jumping out at your characters, or new information that has just been shared.
When I write my first draft, however, I don't really worry about chapters. I just write. So, setting cliffhangers will fall in editing. But, whatever stage of the writing process you do it in, the most important thing is to leave the reader wanting to flip the page and read the next chapter.
3. Keep your plot unpredictable. This is really important when I read a book. If the plot is too predictable, then the story seems boring. In planning, I try to make at least one major plot twist, and a couple small ones. Even though, I may know how the story will end, I leave space for me to add twists that even I wasn't expecting. This keeps me on my toes as a writer. This effect can then rub off on your reader.
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Please vote on my poll on the right to tell me how you liked the post! Notice how I am leaving you hanging for Part 2? Come back tomorrow for the last 3 tips!