Here's another great tip from September of 2012.
I recently coached a client who told a story about three sisters. The first two sisters were drawn into a spell and eventually killed. The third sister survived. Why?
There are many stories that have this motif. In the Three Little Pigs, it is the eldest sibling that has the wisdom to build his house out of bricks. In The Magic Pomegranate, it is the youngest brother whose innocence and sense of wonder make him the hero. He believes the Pomegranate has magical powers, so he doesn't eat it; he saves it for the right moment.
It's important for the audience, and the teller, to know "What is different about this character?" What separates him/her from the others? Giving your characters specific traits, virtues or emotions that elevate them and allow them to triumph where others could not, adds so much more depth to your story. It should be more than "the third time's a charm" that allows them to conquer evil or cheat death.
Remember, the story is not just about the sequence of events. It's about the emotions underneath, and how the characters (even in a personal story) respond and react that makes us relate to them... and makes the story interesting.