Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Inciting Incident

Writing a good novel includes much more than a good story or a unique character. I think it goes hand in hand - the character and story, I mean. There must be a plot that is spell bounding and a character who is irresistible.

Then there is a setting that passes the normal and then you've got to be a good writer.

Lots of stuff to remember!

Somewhere in the beginning of your story, there needs to be an inciting incident. When I was first learning to write, I had no idea what that meant. Do you?

The inciting incident is the event or reason your MC decides he/she is ready to make a move to achieve. What is he achieving? Well, it could be the answer to a problem he is facing.

Examples:

*The family safe is broken into and the MC must find out who stole the contents.

*Someone close to the MC dies and this forces the MC to live a new life, to strike out on his own.

*The MC finds an old letter, written to his Grandmother and it is mysterious. There is a map to a treasure. The MC ses out to look for it.

 I know these are generic incidents and kinda cheesy to boot, but I think you get my point.

What about you? What is the inciting incident that propels you MC, and therefore your story, forward? Something exciting? Mysterious? Frightening? Funny?

22 comments:

  1. Something scary! Hope my readers are prepared for the intensity of my third and final book.

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    1. Sounds great! I love intense, scary stories. Especially on the last book of a series!

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  2. An inciting incident can make or break a story. Great post!

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    1. Thank you Heather. I think the inciting incident can be a thin line. It must be just right, meshing in with the plot, in just the perfect way or you loose the reader.

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  3. My incidents are usually question.? Why am I being kidnapped? Why is there a time machine in my back garden?

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    1. Oooo! Nice way to pull the reader into the story!

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  4. The inciting incident in my story is actually a string of bizarre occurrences that add up to something the MC can't ignore. Conspiracy theories abound, until the diabolical plot uniting the incidents is revealed. :)

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    1. I love that! Congrats on all the GREAT comments over at Unicorn Bell. Way to go. Hopefully, this will end in a publishing contract for you!

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    1. Thanks Laura. I chose this one because I am ready to shoot this bad boy query letter of mine in the butt!

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  6. I also love the new background! I like reading exciting openings, but who doesn't? ;) Writing them is always more challenging. ;)

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    1. Thank you Kimberly. How's that sweetie pie baby of yours doing? I hope you are enjoying your maternity rest!

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  7. I didn't know what an inciting incident was when I first started. You're right, there is a lot to learn, and to practice! :)But we'll get there.

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    1. Hi Karen! I know. Many people think you just sit down and write, like when in high school. But it's really not that easy.

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  8. My novel has two inciting incidents.
    The overarching series inciting moment is when my MC's mother is murdered, 16 years before the novel begins. Everything that happens throughout the books would have been vastly changed had that one incident not occurred.

    The first novel's specific inciting incident though is a marriage proposal.

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  9. Wow! So many twists and turns will make an awesome story:) Can. Not. Wait. To. Read. Yours:)

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  10. WHen I first started out, I'd get the inciting incident and story catalyst confused. Figuring out the difference really helped me with my stories. :)

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    1. Me too! I was like, "What does that mean? What's the difference?"

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  11. My MC is Sleeping Beauty's chambermaid. She wakes up from 100 years sleep to discover that her fiance didn't get to sleep with the rest of the palace.

    ~Debbie

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    1. Really Debbie? I have a story about Sleeping Beauty, too.

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  12. First, LOVE your blog background!

    I usually have an inciting incident in mind, but in my first draft it tends to either get buried too many pages in or show up in the first paragraph of the first page! I always have to do major work on my beginnings in editing! Great post!

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  13. I know. My incident is usually further down the chapter too:)

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