Tip 1 of my 5 part Writing Tip Series

Here’s stuff you won’t find in writing classes or college courses, (actually I don’t know, I was an Engineering major in college and never took a writing class as a “civilian”). They are instead, what has served me as little cues on writing.  So take it all with a grain of salt, decide for yourself if I am striking a true cord. However, if any of it works, consider mentioning my name when you become bigger than me.  I could use the P.R.

Tip 1  Inciting Incident

Discover, realize, admit or just decide on: The Inciting Incident.

Most every great story, film or play had its inception from a spark of an image, or line of dialogue sound, or expression of a feeling, deep within the mind, which drives the writer to completion.  Think of it as finding a beautiful gem, then spending a year working on the perfect setting that will support, display and show off this jewel in all it’s glory.

More often than not, this sparkling idea comes to us as a single dramatic beat or sequence that engages you as a writer.  It becomes the carrot at the end of your stick, guiding you towards the writing of your story.  Hold that literary moment in a cherished place, and remember it’s first and foremost, for you, not necessarily for the readership at large.  In a really good story, the reader should not be aware of this point of origin as they read across it. They don’t have to necessarily realize that this was the seed from which the entire story, all the characters, plots, details and flow, sprang forth.

If this incident should fade or be replaced as you construct your story world, characters and plots, that’s okay.  Respect it and honor it for having gotten you that far.

Some of my inciting incidents;

  • “it’s not a computer virus, it’s a sperm.” became “The Eighth Day”
  • “I can’t believe you shot my Dad!” became “The Hammer of God”
  • “The death of time itself.” became The God Particle.
  • “The last thing a murder victim sees is burnt into the retina of the eye” became “Smile… You’re Dead!
  • “Health Plan hookers” became “The Devil’s Quota
  • “Sorry to inform you, you are a widow” became “Wife and Death”
  • “Spending money like the devil.” became “Prey to Hell”
  • “Man, woman, it’s all the same in the dark.” became “Silent Prey”
  • “Polaroid number 7” became “Ask Not”
  • “Mexican standoff… in Mexico!” became “The Whole Enchilada” and finally but most importantly,
  • “Is this seat taken?” became me.  When my Dad asked my Mom that question back in the 50’s.XC38WXVXCGU6

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