Writing advice to help you survive that first draft.
How to keep your plot moving and your readers reading.
One of the most important things you can do as a writer is keep your readers engaged. If the reader gets bored, they won't read. Simple as that.
One way too keep their interest piqued is to keep a STRING OF LOOPS going. What do I mean by that? Allow me to explain.
A loop works very much like: a plot point, a secret, or a goal.
I like to picture it like a piece of string that is threaded through the inner workings of the story, but still hidden from view.
Now, a loop does not necessarily last the length of your entire novel, so the trick is to have several loops that intertwine from beginning to end. Before one loop ends, you should have already begun another.
Let's say for example that your character has a secret. For the first third of the book, he's managed to keep this secret up. But now it is time for the readers to learn just what that secret is. Before you give it away, however, you should reveal a second secret. (it doesn't have to be a secret, but it SHOULD have an unanswered question that the reader will crave to know the answer of).
The first secret is finally resolved, but now there's something new to worry about.
Your character has come clean about stealing that special key. He plans on turning himself in, but before he can follow through, someone from his past suddenly comes to town. You character doesn't know why this person is back, except that now he knows he can't return that key.
Loop #1: you character admits to stealing the key.
Loop #2: someone from his past has returned for a reason unknown.
Not only that, but there is a THIRD loop: what is it about this person that causes your character to change his mind about returning the key?
What makes this powerful is not the secrets themselves, but the fact that they overlap.
If you can keep up a string of such loops, then you will be able to keep your readers glued to the page, unable to put the book down until they have their answers.