I am writing a couple of stories, and this thread is so useful. Thanks for creating it, and contributing to it, people!
My advice is: For myself, it's all in the details. Well, first, I think, one needs a good opening, (and a good plot!) and then keep adding little hints of what is to come, to keep the reader hooked, and... the imagery. I think, that if one uses imagery effectively, the more people can "see" what is happening, the less they will want to leave the book. But thats just my input. Here's an example of vivid imagery:
I adore the outdoors; some of my fondest memories are of walking my Cairn Terrier in the wonderous countryside where I live: The rolling hills, capped with trees; oh, the trees. They are evanescent in their beauty; in Spring, they are life itself, bursting with that life in their newly-budding leaves; in Summer, they are at their prime, branches and leaves rustling against one-another in the sweet-scented breeze; they are a forest set ablaze in Autumn, all rich plum purples and the colour of fire and the sunset; and they are effigies of their former majesty in winter, yet I know that they will return to their stately selves in Speing, in lifes never-ending dance: For is their any other way to truly describe life, than a dance? The most beautiful dance there ever was, full of passion and fury and grace.
Are you a writer? Want to share the pieces what you've written?