If readers don’t care about your character or her problem, they will stop reading your story. As I develop my characters, I search for desperate situations that both intrigue and worry me, with the emphasis on worry. For example, when my mother was a child, she woke to find a thief in her room. That intriguing and worrisome situation became my inciting incident for Trapped.
Similarly, the idea for the opening of my next novel, Betrayed (June 2014), came from an ancestral, pioneer story about two children who were forced alone, onto the prairie, after men murdered their parents. Because situations like these upset or bother me for an extended amount of time, I believe they will bother or upset a reader--and keep them reading.
Brainstorm question: What bothers you?