Thursday, April 8, 2010

Inciting Incidents in Books

Hi Writers,

It's Jason in Salt Lake City again. I'm sorry to keep plaguing the blog with my incessant posts, but I have a legit question for everyone — or anyone.

Of course, everybody knows that the "inciting incident" is the momentous event that occurs early in your story and serves as the catalyst that knocks your protagonist's life out of balance, compelling him or her to embark on a journey to try to restore that balance once again. It jump-starts your story into action. And naturally, all of this revolves around the protagonist's having some kind of goal, want, need or object of desire.

So, I was wondering, does anyone know (or has anyone read anywhere) a written or unwritten rule that specifies how many pages into your book that this inciting incident should occur? In other words, is it within the first five pages, 10 pages, 20 pages or when? In screenplays, this typically occurs within the first 10 to 15 pages, but I'm not sure about novels.

Thanks for your insights.

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