How to Spark Your Story With an Inciting Incident

First Edition Design Publishing - a hybrid publisher

If you are planning on writing a story, there is something you need to consider besides basic plot structure. You need to determine your Inciting Incident.

What incident will compel your protagonist to act?

What Is an Inciting Incident?

I am reading The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne and Story by Robert McGee to learn how to write a compelling story. Both Coyne and McGee emphasize the importance of writing a compelling inciting incident.

To incite means to stir, encourage, or urge on; to stimulate or prompt to action.

An inciting incident, then, is an event that forces your protagonist to act, compelling them to stop sitting around and do something.

Shawn Coyne has this to say about inciting incidents:

No matter the unit of story (beat, scene, sequence, act, or global Story) what the inciting incident must do is upset the life balance of your lead protagonist/s. It must make them…

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1 Comment

  1. I was just sitting here on a lazy Sunday afternoon with my sleeping poodle on my lap, feeling bored, not knowing what to do with myself, when I thought: “I wonder if Lynette has posted anything lately?” So I logged onto my WordPress reader and saw this post.

    I don’t know why you were on my mind all of a sudden. But it’s always nice to see one of your posts in my reader. ☺

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