If this is the first time you are visiting this series, here's a quick recap.
Authors share their tips on writing fiction - and each week we talk about various aspects of writing.
This week it's time to take a closer look at Inciting Incident
Every story has a beginning, middle and end. But what exactly is the beginning of a story? Do you start at the very beginning with the birth of a main character and move up to one particular point in your protagonist's life? Absolutely not. Doing that would be the easiest way to lose your reader (if you are writing a novel) or audience (if you are writing a movie)!
Beginning actually refers to the sequence of events which is Relevant to your story. And the Inciting Incident plays a big role in acting as a trigger for your story (as well as the Main Character). Screenwriting guru Syd Field says, 'it sets the story in motion' while Joseph Campbell calls it the 'call to adventure'.
|Photo by Vladislav Babienko on Unsplash|
It is a decisive moment and one that your character cannot ignore -- one that comes wrapped up with all kinds of potential dangers and/or consequences. Because if the problem simply goes away if it is ignored, there would be no story! So make sure your Inciting Incident is a moment that will trigger your Protagonist to react and push him/her out of his/her comfort zone.
The Inciting Incident allows you as a writer to showcase other elements of your story -- including the character traits of your protagonist. In my book Wedding Shenanigans, my Heroine Rayna Dutt is going through emotional turmoil when the book opens. She has just been dumped by her boyfriend and she is wallowing in self-pity and nursing a deadly hangover.
The second important aspect is that inciting incident also helps you clarify the tone of your book. If it's a romance it would be a different kind of incident as against a murder mystery, where it would most probably be the discovery of a dead body or the disappearance of someone important in the life of the protagonist. The inciting incident happens to the protagonist and it propels him/her to take actions that set your story rolling. Be sure to have this incident as early as possible to keep your audience hooked.
Do you have any examples to share of great inciting incidents that you have read in a book or seen in a movie? Please do post your thoughts in the comment box below.
Don't forget out to check out some of the other posts in this series....
I is for Improving as a Writer by Sudesna Ghosh
In Medias Res Explained by Preethi Venugopala
H for Heroes by Devika Fernando
Adding a dash of humour to your writing by Reet Singh