I thought I had pretty good stakes* when I wrote my project...(and I'm not going to lie, I still think they're great) but the problem was the sequencing.
By placing some events in the wrong order I eliminated the highest stakes too early and as soon as those stakes were gone/resolved the book should have ended. Um, the problem was there were like still 80 pages.
Now I am re-sequencing and reevaluating the stakes throughout my novel, along with about a million other things that need to be fixed.
This has lead me to another topic.
Can I just say I am so SO SO glad I've haven't ever developed that kernel of an idea that could have been the sequel to this MS.
Seriously. This project has so many problems. But they are problems that can be fixed. Had I based 250 more pages on the faulty project...I probably would have had an entire MS that didn't work. AT ALL.
And just because you can make something have a sequel...doesn't mean you should.
I've read some really lame sequels lately and for me, what it boils down to...is the stakes. In these crappy sequels the stakes are never as high as the were in the first book, and that's a problem. A big one, you don't feel the same draw to the problem, to the characters, to anything that's going on.
So my advice is don't write the sequel, I know you want to but don't do it...
Unless you are an amazing writer with a three-book deal and an overarching story line that is really awesome, then be my guest.
*stakes: what the character has to lose throughout the book...whether it's personal, or will effect others, or the entire world depends on them. You can read about raising the stakes in a writer's digest article or Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maas (he has an awesome section on stakes :) )