I believe there is an important principle for authors to remember when writing fiction. This is: the victory a character achieves is directly proportional to the struggle needed to acquire that victory. The greater the struggle, the greater the victory. And the greater the struggle, the more readers will pull for that character to win and take joy when he or she does.
This holds true no matter the ‘level’ of the struggle. It doesn’t have to be a fight to the death. It doesn’t have to be a “save humanity or it goes extinct” kind of conflict. A child struggling against prejudice, a woman struggling to escape an abusive relationship, a man striving to find meaning in a world where he feels like a spent coin are all examples of the kinds of struggles that could, and have, become engaging fiction.
I’m reading a book now where the writer didn’t know this simple fact, or at least hasn’t illustrated his knowledge of it so far. The book is Zanthar of the Many Worlds by Robert Moore Williams. A man is transported to another planet. Within a few moments he acquires some allies who decide he’s a god, and he defeats a horde of attackers. He kills something referred to as a “miniature dinosaur” with one blow from a “copper hammer” he’d been carrying in his lab when the transportation occurred. He has no problem communicating with his new friends, one of whom proves capable of healing any wound merely by laying hands on it and concentrating.