What makes them do that? What drives a story? Easy. You, the author, make something unexpected happen. It’s known as a plot twist. The reader is rolling along, following the story, thinking I know what’s coming. Then, BANG, you throw in a curve ball. The reader can’t help himself now. He/she’s addicted. Hooked. They have to know what’s next. They’re asking themselves questions. Why did he do that? Will she die? Why did that happen? She said what?
One way to do it is to make something happen on each page. Something different. Something totally unexpected. Twists foster unpredictability. Change. Winning/losing. Conflict. Person-to-person relationships (will they get together?), finding something the character coveted, losing that which the character coveted.
Hooks also arise from a character’s struggle. Not necessarily a physical one. Emotional battles, both internal and external, evoke change. And change in a character is a good thing. Readers like to see a character face off against nearly impossible odds, struggle against the unknown, against an enemy much more powerful than he or she.
For example, John hires Jill to handle the Smith accounts until he discovers she has an agenda of her own. Keep twisting it. Keep creating surprises. Make the reader ask questions on every page — who, what, when, where, why, and how. When they ask themselves those questions, they hunt for answers.
People are wonderfully inquisitive beings. They want to know how something works. Why somebody said what they did. Why this and why that. They love mystery. Thrillers. It’s why TV cop shows like Criminal Minds, Motive, Murder in the First, and mysteries like Under the Dome, and The Last Ship, thrive.
You’re the author. It’s your world. Be imaginative. Let your creative juices flow. Make life for your hero hard. No quarter. No relief until the last chapter. In doing so, you’ll have your readers turning pages, wondering what’s going to happen next.