Writing Tip 101: Inciting Incident

Do you want to write a dull story?

If the answer is yes, then do not bother to read any further. However if you want to write a story which has life and momentum then continue reading.

The story cannot begin and end at the same place. Technically there has to be movement. Something has to move it from A to B, from the beginning to the end. If we do not have movement then the story may end up stagnant and boring.

In order to avoid this happening something needs to be in the story?

That thing which every story needs is the Inciting Incident.

The inciting incident is an event which sets the story in motion and happens outside the control of the protagonist. It is the door through which a character or protagonist goes and from which it cannot return.

Here are a few examples of inciting incidents in some well known novels.

Shakespeare’ Macbeth, it is when the witches predict that Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor.

In C.S Lewis, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, it is when Lucy going in the wardrobe and discovering Narnia.

Another of Shakespeare’s plays, Hamlet, the death of King Hamlet is the inciting incident.

In The Great Gatsby, it happens with Nicks meeting with Mr Gatsby in his house.

So when you write those stories, novels or even plays, remember to include an inciting incident.

Call to Action

Try and identify the inciting incident in the novel/story you are presently reading.

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