The Iliad: you want a nice girlfriend, end up bringing down the wrath of the gods on your own army. The Odyssey: you try to get home safely with a boatload of your buddies. Only you make it back. Some guy's already trying to date your wife. In fact, a bunch of guys are trying to date your wife. Inferno: afterlife is pure hell. Though walking around and watching is kind of fun. Hamlet: your dead father rises from the grave and tells you to kill your uncle. You end up murdering his chief advisor, two high school friends, and the guy whose sister you dumped. She's so grief-struck she drowns herself. Moby Dick: a whale bites your leg off, so you enact a quest that will kill your entire crew and yourself. Ulysses: you're the only Jewish guy in Dublin and someone is dating your wife and doing a very fine job of it. Grapes of Wrath: no food, no money, situation's so dire you have to go to California. The Sound and the Fury: you might be an idiot, a crazy Harvard freshman, or a redneck, but your sister is too big of a tramp to care.
The secret, I believe, in writing well about trouble, is choosing carefully the kind of character who will be most troubled by his/her trouble. What is a trial to one person, might be downright relaxing to another. The trouble in your story must push the character to a point where s/he will make a decision to escape his/her trouble. That decision, if we are dealing with a bona fide story, will always mean that the character who exits the story won't quite be the same person who entered it. The trouble has changed him/her irrevocably. There is no going back.
This is one of the distinct features of the story, separating it from anecdote or sketch: folks in stories change, and the story is about that moment when they change. And it suggests that even in life, we never make changes of any kind without trouble.