External conflicts are those that are caused by outside influences. Misunderstandings or third parties getting in the way are examples of external conflicts that arise in fiction books.
A good way to figure out the conflict in the book is to present the reader with a question that will be answered at the end of the book. This type of conflict is often used in murder mysteries. The reader does not know who committed the murder until the climax of the book, after which the conflict has been resolved. A good book presents not only external conflicts, but internal conflicts as well. It also may present a series of conflicts in the book that come together to be resolved by the time the book ends. It is important to create conflict in a fiction book that will keep the reader reading and wanting to see a resolution in the end.
A good book also makes a point. There can be symbolism in the book as well as a subtle message that the book is trying to get across to the reader. While not all books contain these variables, they are found in some of the great novels.
Another factor you want to add into your fiction book is foreshadowing. This should be presented throughout the book, but especially in the beginning. This gets the reader hooked early on so that they want to continue to see what happens in the book. They will be anxious to get to the end of the book to discover the reason for the foreshadowing. Foreshadowing implies that something will happen to change the world of the characters early in the book. This intrigues the reader and makes them want to continue reading.
The first paragraph of your book is probably the most important part of the book. This is the paragraph that will either hook or bore the reader. One problem that many authors have when it comes to writing a book that is interesting is a slow start. This fails to pull the reader in and keep them interested in reading the book. Including foreshadowing in the first paragraph is a good idea. Another thing that you can do to make your book more interesting to the reader is to start in the middle. Instead of starting the book from the beginning, you can start in the middle of the story and then take the reader back, through the use of dialog and narrative, to the beginning of the story to fill them in on history.
The climax of the book is also important in a fiction book. The plot should slowly build up to the climax. You may have several anti-climaxes in the book as well as other conflicts are resolved. The main conflict in the book must be resolved by the end of the book.
Do not make the mistake of introducing characters at the end of the book who figure heavily into the resolution of the plot. For example, if you are writing a murder mystery, you need to have the murderer figure in to the book early on. Some writers will make it look as if someone is obviously guilty but the culprit is someone who the reader does not expect. You want to keep your reader hungry for more as they get to the end of the book.
While the first paragraph, climax and conflict resolution are integral parts of the book, do not fill your book with fluff. Each character in the book should figure somewhat in the plot. Each sentence in the book should move the plot forward. This does not often happen in the first draft of the book but will happen as you continue with re-writes. Remember that any book, even a non-fiction book, does not appear on paper the way that it comes out of your head. You have to be prepared for re-writing.