1. Know what you're writing.
It's easy to get off track while you're writing. Thus it's always a good idea to know what you're writing. As soon as you have a good grasp on what your story is about, you'll find yourself writing quicker. This includes the main plot, a majority of the subplots, and where all the vital plot points are going to be.
2. Know what inspires you and stay around it.
Now this doesn't mean that you should go through an entire personal evaluation. It just means to keep track of where you get inspired and what caused the inspiration. For some, it could be listening to music of some sort, while for others, it could be watching families at the park. Whatever it is, try to be around it whenever you can.
3. Map out your story.
Now this is something that a lot of people take out of hand. When mapping out your story, you don't want to have everything in a certain slot. Things can't be one hundred percent organized. The story could change in a way that ruins your entire pyramid of perfection, making you have to rebuild it over and over again. It's just a waste of time to keep on fitting everything together. Now this doesn't have to be written down as long as you know how you want things to work out. Just think on what you want and keep that as a basis for the actual story.
4. Develop your characters.
The best plot ever written will never be able to attract readers if the characters are bland or unoriginal. That doesn't mean that basing your character of off another character is a bad thing. Many people have found that structuring their character off of another makes developing much easier. Lets take my character Roshetta, for example. He was originally based off of Sora from Kingdom Hearts, but there are more differences that similarities. Sora is an innocent child who saves the universe while searching for his friends. Roshetta is a sarcastic adult who saves the world to make sure that his friend doesn't get himself killed. They both have giant blades with chains on the end, but Roshetta's chains are much longer and more a part of the story line. Sora's chain is simply an accessory used to make his blade stronger in one way or another. As stated before, you can't make a good story without good characters. Thus it's a good idea to make your characters seem as real as possible. Give them distinct personalities, and make their pasts build up their present. It's not just about making them look interesting or having them sound cool. You have to make your character believable. That means putting a lot of time and effort into giving them strengths, flaws, and traits that make them unique.
5. Don't push yourself too hard.
A good novel is not written just because it was finished. You never want to force yourself to write. It makes your work sloppy, and it can ruin what you had worked on for days, weeks, months, or even years. When you force yourself to write, you tend to lose track of what your story is about. You write more into what you think sounds good, than what really works in your story.
6. Enjoy it.
You are your own worst critic, so make sure that you like your story. You are writing this, so if you don't like it, there's not much of a chance that someone else will. Now it doesn't have to be your favorite story. In fact, chances are that you will never write a story you like better than your favorite one. No matter how hard you try, you can't get that same enjoyment that you find in other stories. That is because the element of drama is taken out. All of the things that make a story great aren't there for the story's writer, so making a story that you like will be the hardest part of writing.
7. Have a beta reader
You don't have to do this, but it's always good to have a second opinion while you're writing. If you have someone who's always willing to read, then use that to your advantage. A second pair of eyes is very rewarding, but be sure to have someone you can trust with a possible best seller.
8. Stay inconsistent.
This simply means not to repeat yourself throughout the entire story. Don't make the characters go through the same thing over and over again. It makes the story predictable. If Jake has to cross a bridge over boiling hot lave in chapter 7, don't make him have to cross a bridge over a crocodile infested ravine in chapter 20. Just because it's a little different doesn't make it any less predictable. It's the same element in with a different condition. Make the story change, and have the characters go through different obstacles. Make the characters grow up and mature. Little Jake from the beginning should turn into Jake the brave. It's not a matter of making it thrilling or suspenseful. It's about making the story interesting enough to make people turn the page. If they finish the book, there's a decent chance that they'll tell people about what they think about it. Word of mouth still works in this day and age.
9. Listen to the advice of others
Just because somebody hasn't written a story or sold a best seller, doesn't mean that they can't push you in the right direction. Many people who haven't written anything outside of their school life can give you the best advice on how to make your story even better. It's good to be proud of your story, but don't let that keep you from taking advice. No matter how young or old someone is, if they've ever read a book, then they know what they like. Even if they're not your target audience, you can still let them show you a few pointers. You never know what can help when you're writing.