Something I've noticed in stories I've read is that the catalyst (the action that gets the story rolling, pardon if "catalyst" is the wrong word) can be predictable at times, or I tend to roll my eyes at how it's included, or it comes in so early to the story that I care little about the characters affected (or not affected) by it. I feel I should emphasize what I mean by "predictable". When there's an event (a fair, party, something like that) and you just know that's when the antagonist will attack, or the dad will have his heart attack, or what have you. Perhaps I've read too many books, perhaps it's my pessimistic nature, but I'm growing tired of the catalyst happening at these events -- or directly after, when we're given a moment to breathe and think, "Oh, it's fine, everything is--" and then it's not. I believe the only time I was wrong in thinking something bad was going to happen, only to have it not happen, was in the Lord of the Rings at Bilbo's going away party, and that was a pleasant surprise. I'm considering writing my first book, and I would like to do it right. I have a general idea of what I want to do, the bare bones, but I'm worried about where to include the first "incident" (let's call it that, without giving too much of my plot away). I want each incident to have an impact. Is there a rule of thumb on when to include the catalyst without rushing things?