Elements of the Short Story – The Inciting Moment

I’ve discussed how your story’s plot is built around a problem or challenge that your MC faces. When the issue makes its first appearance is known as the inciting moment. It acts as a beginning point where your MC’s world changes. This moment is interesting and important enough to create a response in you or your protagonist. It makes them act.

The MC is now aware of this difference, and they are uneasy. The problem is impossible to ignore. Your hero can feel it, taste it, see it, and smell it. This would be the starting point of any explanation your MC would give, and if they told an oral story, they would begin here.

In the fiction world, every problem has a solution. Finding the answer is a process and the things you have to go through to solve the crises. A goal is set up, and the journey is your MC’s story. It is the story of this journey that drives your story or novel. And while not ALL goals are solved, the journey is still essential.

The inciting moment concerns either a major or minor event – but the result is the same

nothing is ever the same again for your MC.

The change can be immediate, cause a significant conflict, action, change, or reaction.

To show the impact of this change, it is essential to discuss the MC’s world BEFORE the event that comes along and causes upheaval to their lives.

What is the purpose of the inciting moment in YOUR story?

From this moment, your MC has a story goal. BE SURE to get to the moment sooner rather than later. Your reader will become bored if you don’t.

Make the reader care about this character (or hate them), and they will want to know what happens next. 

All your backstory can be woven into the rest of your story with dialogue.

Once you’ve introduced the inciting moment, the storyline progresses. Your MC deals with the problem, and they CHANGE while they solve the upheaval in their lives. As the story moves along, everything changes. To accomplish this, add conflictsuspense, and action. 

At the end of your story, check: Did your MC solve the problem? Does he or she achieve his story goal? That is up to you.

Until next time,

~Mustang Patty~

Published by Mustang Patty

I am finally a full-time author, who writes legal thrillers, how-to- books, short stories, flash fiction, a tiny bit of poetry, and Blog posts. My published works include 'Guilty until Proven Innocent,' 'Innocent for the Moment,' and 'Moment by Moment.' This is a trilogy called the Jill Adair Series. Additionally, I've written a collection of short stories about my dogs, Howie and Bernie - with a 2nd Collection coming in late 2021. I'm also coordinating an Anthology of Short Stories called, '2021 Indie Authors Short Story Anthology.' This book will be available on Amazon.com on August 1st of 2021. (The 2020 Indie Authors Short Story Anthology is currently available on Amazon.com - the collection includes 30 stories, written by 18 different Authors from three continents.) I am married to my wonderful hubby of over 37 years, and I have two grown children, named Heather and Gregory. I've been blessed with two beautiful grandbabies, Heather Rose and Logan Ernest.

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