Get your character up a tree. Throw rocks at it. Then get it back down.
I remember someone teaching that to me during a lesson on plot. The idea was that your character had to face obstacles along its journey. (Yes, I'm referring to my character as "it" today. Epiphanic, I know.)
But I'm currently in the middle of a story where that very thing is happening. There aren't any trees, and there aren't any rocks per se, but there is a character, and she is doing something, and things are getting in her way. For this particular story, though, it doesn't feel like enough. The metaphoric--metaphoric, not metamorphic--rocks aren't really big enough to leave any damage. Or at least they're not being thrown with enough speed or accuracy.
You know how in Anna Karenina, you know who does you know what? And in The Great Gatsby you know who you know whats into you know who? And in Romeo & Juliet, you know who thinks that you know who is you know what and so you know who you know whats and then you know who you know whats and sees you know who and then you know whats? That's what I'm talking about today.
I'm also talking about Aron Ralston losing his arm and Ada McGrath losing his finger and William Miller losing his virginity.
I think it's important to get your character up a tree. It's important to throw rocks at it. But I'd argue that it's also important to have one of those rocks hit the character and leave some sort of scar that can't be easily concealed by makeup or plastic surgery. The rock doesn't have to kill the character. It just needs to leave a permanent mark that ushers that character into a new stage in its life or nudges it into seeing the world through a different lens. Don't make it easy for your characters to recover from the challenges they face. Otherwise the story doesn't feel significant enough, and the drama doesn't build.
What's Peanut eating? A dry leaf. He didn't swallow.