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ConCarolinas starts tomorrow; the convention which was my inciting event to stop thinking about writing and start actually doing it. Going through life you may have several inciting events - times when the phrase "So things continued as they had been until such time as they no longer did" would appear in your autobiography.
Two major events may occur in a story - the inciting event sets to story in motion while the key event draws the character into the story. In many genre fiction stories these two events overlap. In my recent "The Telling of the Myth of Hariti", the inciting event is when all the villages in all the world no longer could handle the loss of their children. The key event is when the elders approach the Buddha, drawing him into the story. Until he entered the story, no permanent change took place.
To learn more about inciting events, read the May 9, 2016 Magical Post by Faith Hunter: The Inciting Event.
Other good posts on this subject include:
- The Secrets of Story Structure, Pt. 5: Inciting Event and Key Event by K.M. Weiland published March 25, 2012
- Plot Points and Inciting Incident by James R. Hull published August 5, 2010.
WRITING EXERCISE: For your present work in-progress (WIP), define your inciting event and your key event. Do you have both, are they the same event, and where are they located in your book?
READING EXERCISE: For your present read in-progress, can you figure out where the incident and/or key event in the book occurred? Did you become more or less engaged when the event milestone occurred?