Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Inciting Incident

Photo Credit : Shannon Christine
In the previous drafts of my WIP, I didn't get to the action quickly enough. Sure there was some tension, and some things that I'd like to think left the reader curious, but my novel was suffering because in the first several chapters nothing was really happening. So what's a girl to do? Move up (and/or sharpen up) the Inciting Incident.

What's the Inciting Incident?
It's the moment where suddenly everything changes, and  .... Wham! the MC has some serious problems to deal with. Her life will never be the same.

Because I like research, before I started re-writing my inciting incident, I decided to do do a little sleuthing on the web for inspiration. Here's a summary of what I found, and links to more info!

Tips For Writing the Inciting Incident
  • Before page 30, or if you really must, before page 50. Any later = yawn.
  • After you've given the reader a taste (maybe quite small) of the MC's normal life.
  • It's the big/crazy/scary event/revelation that incites the MC to act.
  • Readers should clearly see the stakes/motivation -- why the MC needs to act.
  • It doesn't have to be (and often shouldn't be) the core conflict, but it should point toward the core conflict. 

A Few Resources:
Janice Hardy - Something to Get Inciting About || Bubble Cow - Understanding Conflict || How to Start a Novel || Redefining the Inciting Incident (if you want a bit of brain-overload) || Stephen Pressfield - The Inciting Incident (with  movie examples) || Scribe Meets World - Inciting Incident || Wordplay - Secrets of Story Structure || L.B. Schulman - Plotting pt. 4 || Michelle Hoover - From Stable Ground to Inciting Incident ||

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