One writing technique that can breath some life into your story and also give you a whole bunch new story stuff to play with is giving your characters contradictory goals.
I've talked a lot about contradictions with Trigun--that's because the writer of it, Nightow, is great at them. Look at all the irony in his characters, their relationships, and roles. Ever since his protagonist, Vash, was a child, he's had contradicting goals. He wants to save the spider and the butterfly, which is impossible. If you cater to the spider, it will eat the butterfly. If you save the butterfly, the spider will die from starvation.