Few years ago, I had an idea for a story about a circus sideshow runaway's attempt to get back to his home (The story was called The Turtle Boy and the boy was a Russian boy named Alexi who found help in the form of an elderly farmer and his family). Trouble was, I had no high stakes involved. There was no great risk other than "Oh, dude just can't get back home, then. Hey, at least he has a farm to live and work in!" A small part of me wants to try to write it again. I know how to raise stakes in my mystery stories, as that itself is usually suspenseful anyway. But a story like this? How does one raise the stakes with a story like this? I did come up with a few theories: (a) Alexi knows the old farmer is a bigot and hates Russians. To get his help, Alexi pretends to be of a different nationality. Trouble is, there's a Russian ship in port that's due to leave in five days. --Counter Argument-- So why doesn't he just stow away on said ship in the first place? Why does he need this guy's help anyway? Stow away and hope the crewmen don't find him and/or chuck him overboard. (b) He stole money from the circus, and now the circus leader has his goons chasing after him to get the money back. --Counter Argument-- And they'll do what, exactly? What are they going to do to force Alexi's hand? Again, why can't he just get himself onto said Russian ship? See what I'm saying? I don't know how you'd raise stakes with a plot like this. Maybe this is just one of those ideas that should be buried and forgotten about?