So, as I mentioned earlier, every now and then I like to take a break from *serious* writing and do a fan fiction or two. It has several benefits- entertainment, amusement, the ability to practice my writing techniques without worrying too much over the end product, and often being able to colloborate with others as well.
My *daytime* writing project is the SotB screenplay, but my *nightime* fun is a fan fiction about which I'm going to remain rather mysterious.
However, my point is that it's giving me a chance to practice the technique of asking "what can go wrong next?"
Now I like conflict. I like drama. I like car chases and people getting murdered and all those things that make up a great book. But every now and then I get overly protective of my main character and say "no, I'm not going to make that happen" even though it would make a more suspenseful story.
The beauty of a story, though, is that as long as you know that your hero (and their romantic interest!) is going to come out alive, it doesn't really matter what you put them through, as long as it drives the story onwards.
For instance, one of my friends suggested having the plane crash in this fan fiction. Now at first I was like "what on earth would be the point of that?" However we were able to work it out so that it pulled the villian in, drove the story on, and created suspense. Would the story still exist without it? Of course. But so far it's one of the most memorable things we've done.
(By the way, we didn't actualy make the plan crash. We figured out how to jump off it, which sounds crazier but works much, much better.)
So my point is...a) when you write fan fiction, use it as an opportunity, not just as entertainment! And b) no matter what you're writing, always ask- "how could things get worse" and "what could be important about the terrible thing that just happened?".