Thursday, 24 March 2011

Inciting Incidents

The inciting incident is the reason for everything that follows, so it needs to be well thought out. I used to be guilty of writing an attention-grabbing first page that would hopefully catch an agent’s eye. It never occurred to me that I hadn’t given a moment’s thought to how the rest of the story was going to flow from it. Now I find my first page incident has to work extra hard and be the springboard for the rest of the story.
It’s probably true that most authors first start writing in a haphazard way. In my first attempts, I used to think what would I do if…..Then I discovered that wasn’t anything like enough. What I should have been thinking was what would this character do if he’s in open country and hounds chase him…

Sometimes what happens is less important than how, to whom and why it happens. There should be insight, too, or else nothing is learned or gained. Actions cause Reaction, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. Insights can come swiftly, or take their own sweet time. But however long the pause, there has to be a renewed action from the hero, which in turn often elicits a surprising reaction. This sequence of Action/Reaction builds into a Turning Point, and the reader should be empathising with the protagonist every step of the way as he nears his goal.

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