1. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    Inciting Incident

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Justin Rocket 2, Feb 18, 2016.

    I thought I understood what the inciting incident is. Lately, I've gotten myself confused.
    Is the inciting incident
    a.) the incident that starts the story on page one, typically en media res

    or

    b.) the incident which causes the fall at the first plot point, metaphorically-speaking the bridge back home being burned down?
     
  2. Ashley Harrison
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    Ashley Harrison Active Member

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    My understanding and I'll stand corrected if I'm wrong, but I think an 'inciting incident' is the initial 'incident' that precipitates all of the following 'incidents' that occur afterwards.

    I hope that's helped a little bit?
     
  3. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    I've read that definition before, but it confuses me. It could be either A or B (above)
     
  4. nastyjman
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    nastyjman Contributing Member

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    Inciting incident is an event that puts your protagonist's world in a jumble. It either puts it out of balance or it pushes them out of their safety.

    An example: Katniss hearing Prim's name in the drawing is an inciting incident.

    Another: Luke discovering his aunt and uncle turned into toast.
     
  5. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    So, my first act includes a couple of key scenes
    1.) It starts with the protagonist, who is a member of a search and rescue (SAR) team, ignoring orders and going back out to the wilderness to find a lost boy despite a snow storm which is coming
    2.) He finds the boy he's trying to find, but the boy dies before a medical helicopter can arrive
    3.) The protagonist returns home. We learn that he's haunted by the memory of his little brother whose death the protagonist blames himself for. It is for this reason that he takes great risks to save other people. He fears that he is inherently good for nothing
    4.) Elsewhere, an important archaeological artifact, a prophecy of the end of the world, is stolen by the BBEG. The guy who the prophecy is stolen from is left alive as he is fated to be killed by the protagonist.
    5.) The guy whom the prophecy is stolen from decides to ignore his fate and decides to go to the protagonist for help as he believes that only the protagonist can help him now.
    5.) The protagonist is kicked out of the SAR team for failing to follow orders
    6.) The protagonist's home is attacked by evil characters like the ones who stole the prophecy
    7.) During the home attack, the protagonist's step-dad is caught by the BBEG and kidnapped
    8.) The guy from whom the prophecy was stolen arrives in time to get the protagonist away.
    9.) The guy from whom the prophecy was stolen sets as his goal to stop the BBEG
    10.) The protagonist is threatened to help the BBEG or his step-dad will be killed

    which of these is the inciting incident?
     
  6. nastyjman
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    nastyjman Contributing Member

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    I feel like number 2 and 3 are inciting incidents. The death of the boy puts the protag's world into a spin. The flashback with his little brother could precipitate that, and it could overwhelm him once again if he had subverted these memories.

    Number 6 can also be the inciting incident because his home is attacked. This again puts him out of balance. Between 2/3 and 6, whichever propels the story forward is the inciting incident.
     
  7. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I've always been taught that the inciting event was the thing that kicked the character into action. In Wizard of Oz, it was Dorothy trying to save Toto from the crazy bike lady. Without that, Dorothy would've had no reason to run away from home and inevitably go back home to a tornado, run into the house, get knocked out and be transported to Oz. Without the crazy bike lady, Dorothy would've hid with her family and Toto in that cellar and waited the storm out, and we would've had no movie. The things that follow the inciting event/incident are plot points, which are points in the story that develops the plot/enrich it.

    So in the case of Star Wars, it's when R2-D2 runs away from the homestead. Had he not done that, Luke would've had no reason to go out into the wilderness and, through a series of events, encounter Ben Kenobi and start his journey to be a Jedi. Owen and Beru becoming Kentucky Fried Peopleā„¢ could be considered a second inciting event as it gave him even more of a reason to keep going on his quest.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016

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