Mission: Impossible

Story = Conflict

One form of conflict occurs when you pit your character against impossible odds–a strong motivation towards a goal that will be nearly impossible to accomplish.

So when you’re generating story ideas, think of nearly impossible missions, and then brainstorm ways your character could beat the odds.


At the island prison of Alcatraz, escape was considered impossible…until someone escaped. How and why might a character break out of a fortified prison…or break in?

Think of other guarded places. How would a villain plot an attack on a commercial airline flight, the Pentagon, the White House, or Air Force One? How could you stop them?

How might an imposter become president? A pauper become a prince? A servant girl marry the king?

In The Unsinkable Molly Brown, a simple backwoods woman survives the sinking of the Titanic and goes on to become a millionaire.

In the movie LadyHawke, a jealous rival casts a spell on young lovers. The hero by day stalks the forests as a wolf by night, while the heroine spends her days as his hunting hawk and only takes human form by night. Always close, they can never be together unless they break the spell by confronting their enemy in human form.

Throughout history, men have turned to alchemy and fantasy to accomplish the impossible, turning lead or straw to gold.

You can spin a golden yarn through the alchemy of fiction!


  • In your chosen genre, brainstorm several “impossible” situations.
  • Beef up the odds by thinking of ways to make the situation even MORE impossible.
  • Create the most unlikely hero and give him a burning passion to beat the odds.
  • How will he do it?
About Lynn Dean

Lynn Dean dictated her first story before she could write and continued to write stories, illustrate them, and bind them into books throughout childhood. As a homeschooling mom, she enjoyed passing a love for writing to her own children and ten years of co-op students.

Read more about Lynn.

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