Author Mette Harrison writes a column on writing for Orson Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. I think you can read them without a subscription. This month’s column had some great insights. Here’s one fab example.
I also recommend that if you want to write a book that readers will not be able to put down, focus on one really good story (more on this next month). I am not saying that you can’t have sub plots or minor characters. You can. But I urge you to make sure that your page count does not obscure which characters are the main ones or what their main goal is. If you have lots of different characters who are in different parts of your world, that is fine. But make sure that they are all working at different ends of the same thread, that they all end up being part of the same story. If you cannot figure out which character is the one you want your readers to care the most about, to root for most desperately, you may have too many characters.
Good advice. There’s more.