Cold winds blew across pristine white snow that held tight to the leafless tree branches and frosted the evergreens. The sun caused the snow crystals to shimmer in the sunshine. Heat rose off the ground, melting the snow on the driveway into reflective pools of water.
As I reached the road, the mail carrier popped open my metal mailbox and tossed in my mail, flipping the door closed, then drove off. I pulled open the door, reached in retrieving a free magazine; a letter offering discounts for DirectTv the electric bill and a plain white business envelope with no return address. Curiosity got to me. Halfway back to the house I ripped it open and flipped the folded paper open. it addressed me by name, with only a couple of sentences telling me to watch my mail because in a couple of days I will get a second letter, that letter will have instructions I will need to follow explicitly.
An inciting incident will cause turmoil in the life of the protagonist. Changing everything. Life will never be the same.
Your novel ends, when the inciting incident is resolved.
The ending is the inevitable result of that inciting incident. Clarifying how it is resolved.
Example: In the Hunger Games, the inciting incident is when Katniss’ sister was chosen at the reaping.
Example: That letter in my mailbox can be an inciting incident.
An inciting incident begins the story’s problem.
- An odd letter in the mail.
Kicks your hero out of her everyday routine.
- She thinks about it. Wonders about it. Talks about it.
It is something unexpected, confusing, something that just changed your protagonist’s life.
- Then the second letter arrives with instructions.
Your protagonist can’t turn back.
- She follows the instructions. Her curiosity has her doing odd things.
It will cause conflict, internal and external conflict. And it will have her wondering; questioning what is going on and why.
- Is this real?
Today’s word count 1,536