Let’s talk about inciting incidents! Revising one of my old manuscripts, I realized it was missing something. It’s a manuscript written years before I learned the important details of writing a good book. Why does that matter? It was missing a strong inciting incident. This scene forces the protagonist on a new path and gives the reader something to anticipate. It hooks the reader for the first time!
Inciting Incident: In the first two chapters of your story, something will take place—causing conflict—that catapults your protagonist forward on a new path. If nothing happens, then there’s no reason for your protagonist to change, which means there’s no story. This important event is called the inciting incident.
Point of No Return: This is the time when your protagonist is forced to completely leave their old world behind. Your protagonist is unable to move backward due to their newfound knowledge and choices they’ve been confronted with.
Why is a plot outline good for your writing? Not every writer creates an outline, but many writers do. You don’t have to know exactly what will take place in each chapter before you write, but the more you know, the better. I’ve known many writers, including my younger writer self, who have written their stories into dead-ends by not having an outline.
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