But the string of a red balloon two inches out of reach is conflict.
Are you wondering why your reader would give a crap about a red balloon? Things matter to the reader because they matter to the character.
For example: Mike just discovered he has a four year old daughter. They go to the park on their first trip alone together. His little girl sees someone selling balloons and asks for the last red one.
He agrees to buy it and her face lights up. As he's handing it to her, it slips from his fingers and floats away. She starts to cry.
That's not just a balloon. That balloon represents the first promise he ever made to his daughter. That balloon represents his ability to protect and provide. That balloon is the difference between his daughter's first day with him being a dream or a nightmare. That is the most important balloon ever.
He offers to buy her another balloon, or several balloons. But she doesn't want a blue one or a green one, red is her favorite color. She wants a red one and that was the last one. So he takes her to a party store.
He buys her a BAG of red balloons. He blows one up and hands it to her. She thanks him but he can tell she's still disappointed. She's sad because this balloon doesn't float like the other one did. So he goes back in, spends another 50 bucks on a portable helium pump. Now she has a floating red balloon on a string. A hat made of hastily tied red balloons. And she is gleeful.
He now has fifty bucks worth of helium, which he's inhaling to make himself talk like a smurf, much to his daughter's amusement. He goes from a idiot who can't hold a string, to a magical figure that can do anything. That can make anything happen for her. He's the hero of red balloons.
Show of hands, who still thinks red balloons aren't worth writing about?