Day 15 of PREPtober

Today we’re going to talk about the Top 3 Myths of Inciting Incidents.


Hi, everyone, and welcome to day 15, which is the Inciting Incident. First, let me just say congratulations, because you are halfway through PREPtober. Now, I know that’s not mathematically correct, because there are 31 days in October, but we’re pretty much all done with character development, and now we’re going to take our amazing and great GMC cast of characters, and we are going to put them into an actual story. Today we’re talking about inciting incident, and this is really just the thing that kind of sparks your character forward and gets the ball rolling into the main plot point. Now, it is not the main plot point, but it at least is related, so let me just start out with two books that I would recommend to get more in depth on this particular subject.

The first is Beginnings, Middles & Ends, by Nancy Kress. I believe this was written back in the ’90s, and it’s kind of like gold. It’s so small. It’s really thin. It doesn’t have a lot of … I mean, it has a lot of great information, but it’s not a long read, and you can see pretty much every page looks like this. I meant to just highlight important points, but everything is like a really great, important point, so that is book number one for recommendation. The second is Inciting Incident by H. R. D’Costa, and that’s a screenwriter, and it goes through a lot of great movie examples of inciting incident and how to make yours even better.

Let’s just talk today about the top three myths, and I think the first, the biggest myth that I think is going to help you with writing a better inciting incident is that most people think it’s the first thing that happens in your story, and that is not true at all. The first thing that happens in your story, and we’ll talk about this more tomorrow, is simply giving backstory to your character and talking about them in their everyday life. That is not the inciting incident towards the main plot, so the inciting incident doesn’t happen until 10% in, so it cannot possibly be the beginning of your story. Thing is, some people think it kicks off the plot, and that’s not true, either. The first plot point doesn’t occur until the 25%, so again, it cannot be, your inciting incident is not your first plot point.

The third myth is that sometimes people believe it happens before the story starts, and this might be kind of true in a police procedural. Maybe there are some movies, not even movies, TV shows, where there’s a murder investigation, and the main protagonist is a detective, and so sometimes the murder has already occurred, and the detective is called in to solve it, so … I hope that was helpful. Think about what can spark your story at the 10%. Remember, not the opening scene, because we’re going to talk about that tomorrow, and I will see you tomorrow when we talk about our opening paragraph, our opening chapter. Bye.


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