Imagine for a moment, going about doing the mundane things you do every day, putting a load of laundry in the dryer, reading the morning news, or making a phone call. Small things. The sorts of things you do without thinking when suddenly something unexpected happens, and your world is thrown out of kilter. You’re forced to make different decisions, change behaviors, or even your life style.
It happened to me. The past week has been eventful, to say the least. While doing routine things around the house, An unexpected event knocked me and my ordinary life off kilter, literally. BAM! Without warning, I fell unconscious to the floor!
After spending a few days in the hospital, I’m better and certain I will be fine, but will I have to do things differently than before? For a while. When all of the excitement died down, I was able to relax a bit, and the first thing I thought about was my novel. So, this is what an inciting event feels like.
More than 30,000 words into my first novel, I keep coming back to the first chapter and all its intricacies. Had I hooked my readers?
After my own inciting event, a light bulb went off. That one event created a domino effect setting off all sorts of conflicts in my life for at least the next month.
As soon as I was able, I pulled out my novel and reread the first chapter, with a new appreciation for the inciting event; everything had clicked into place. I finally got it.
I call it Newton’s effect, based on Newton’s Third Law, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Something happens (inciting event), the character reacts, causing other reactions or consequences(conflicts); in essence, a domino effect.
I couldn’t wait to get back to writing and tweaking the conflicts I’d introduced in my novel.
The inciting event, introduced in the first chapter, propels your main character into action and moves the story forward. The conflicts created from the event raise the stakes and create the tension, keeping the reader turning the pages.
Falling to the floor this week has taken me and my family on a hell of a ride creating all kinds of excitement; if I can create the same in my novel, I’ll be good to go.
What about you first chapter? Did you set Newton’s effect into motion? Did the event propel your character into action? Did your character’s reaction cause conflict and complication(s)? Did the dominoes begin to fall? What happens next?
Post a comment below and let me know.