Make story interesting by establishing stakes

The plot of a story is more interesting and exciting if the characters have something to gain or lose.

Because of this, the characters in your story should have something at stake, or some personal interest or involvement in solving the story’s conflict. Establishing what these personal interests or involvement are early in the story and then returning them through the rising action generates reader interest.

The “stakes” always revolve around two basic questions: “What does the protagonist want?” and “What if the protagonist fails to get it?” For example, in Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation,” the character Salvor Hardin wants to ensure his home planet of Terminus (one of two depositories of scientific knowledge and reason in which humanity’s future depends) survives the collapse of the Galactic Empire, which is fragmenting into several war-like kingdoms. If he fails, Terminus will be taken over by the warrior kingdoms – and humanity will fall into a dark ages that lasts thousands of years. Those are high stakes.

Remember that virtually all stories center on a character that possesses some want that if unfulfilled means some disaster. The plot of the story is little more than the obstacles that the character must overcome as trying to fulfill this want.