An inciting incident is an event or action that sets off a chain of events in a story. It’s what drives the plot forward and ultimately leads to the protagonist’s goal being achieved, or not.

For example, when Luke Skywalker hears about Princess Leia’s capture by Darth Vader, this is an inciting incident because it determines his course of action for the rest of the movie.



What Is An Inciting Incident?

To fully understand what an inciting incident is, we must first define the term.

An inciting incident is a turning point in the story that provides tension and conflict to propel the narrative forward.

This event can be anything from a character’s death, to a robbery, or even meeting someone new.



An inciting incident is an event that sets a novel or story in motion. Inciting incidents are often dramatic, traumatic, or sometimes even ordinary events.

They can be anything from a car accident to an argument between two characters. The important thing about this event is that it creates change – and without change, there’s no story!

What Is An Inciting Incident?

An inciting incident also called a trigger event or plot point can be defined as the moment in a story where all of the action begins.

This is usually when there’s some kind of conflict that causes things to get worse for the protagonist and forces them into making a decision that changes their life.

In other words, it’s what sets off the chain reaction that leads to everything else happening in your novel. It creates tension and drama by forcing you to question whether or not things will turn out okay for your character(s).

Inciting Incident

An inciting incident is the first event in a story that sets up the main conflict or problem. It can be as simple as someone walking into a room and finding it on fire, or it could be something more complex like an argument between two friends over what to watch on TV.

The inciting incident is important because, without one, there would not be any sense of urgency for the protagonist to take action and try to resolve the problem.

This doesn’t mean that anything needs to happen right after this event happens; instead, this may just set up some tension for future events. Without an inciting incident, there will never be any plot happening in a story!

Inciting Incident Examples

The inciting incident is the event that sets the protagonist of a story into motion. For some stories, it may be as small as someone noticing an article in their newspaper, for other stories it could be something more significant such as an attack on their home.

No matter what the inciting incident is, if you’re writing a story with one, make sure to choose a compelling and intriguing event!


The inciting incident is a crucial moment in any story. It’s the point where the protagonist enters into a new world, and everything changes from that point forward.

In order to have a successful inciting incident, it needs to be something that causes some sort of emotional response in your reader.

The best way to do this is by either making them laugh or cry (or both). If you can make readers feel what your character feels when they first experience their incitement, then you’re doing an excellent job with it!

An inciting incident is a moment in your story that starts the plot moving. It is often an event, like the death of a character or someone getting attacked by a villain.

This event changes the protagonist’s life and sets them on their journey to solve whatever problem they’re facing.

Best Inciting Incidents

A good inciting incident in a story is one that captivates the reader’s attention and makes them want to read more. It can be as simple as introducing an interesting character, or shocking event, or it might be something more complex such as a diabolical puzzle.

Many people might say that The Princess Bride has one of the best. In this instance, it’s Westley’s return to Buttercup after he has been presumed dead for many years.

Sure, a lot of other things happen in this movie but without his return, there would be no story.

It could also be argued that we have never really seen anything like the first time Harry Potter enters Hogwarts and learns he is a wizard. It was such an exciting moment! Or how about when Luke Skywalker first meets Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine?

This scene not only sets up the rest of Star Wars: A New Hope but it makes us want to know what happens next right away.

Inciting incidents are the most important moments in any story. They set up the stakes for your protagonist and give them a clear goal to work towards.

A great inciting incident is one that raises questions, creates tension, and sets up something to be solved or overcome.

Action Movies Inciting Incident

Action movies are a genre that is not only enjoyable to watch, but also provide many insights on life.

However, the inciting incident of an action movie can tell us more about the world we live in then just what it will take for someone to win a fight.

I’m going to explore how each type of inciting incident has its own meaning and how it relates back to society.

Action movies are all about the inciting incident. This is the moment when everything changes for the protagonist – be it a minute detail or an earth-shattering event that forces them to reevaluate their whole life.

For example, in Die Hard, John McClane’s wife has just been killed and he’s been assigned to bring her back to New York City for burial. It’s a routine assignment until Hans Gruber takes over Nakatomi Plaza with his band of terrorists and hostages.

Action movies are one of the most popular genres in Hollywood. From Die Hard to Transformers, action films have entertained audiences for decades and will continue to do so.

Inciting incidents often occur at the beginning of a story and make you want to keep reading until the end because they create suspense and dramatic tension, which makes them memorable scenes in these types of films.

Action movies typically have an inciting incident that sets the story in motion. These scenes are often short and to the point, giving viewers a taste of what will come later on in the movie.

In these scenes, there is usually some type of conflict or struggle between two opposing forces that creates tension for viewers as they wait to see how it all plays out.

A Simple Inciting Incident

There are many different types of inciting incidents that may or may not be appropriate for your particular story.

They range from a sudden change in time, an unexpected visitor showing up at your door, or a pivotal conversation happening somewhere in between two people who never would have met otherwise.

The type of inciting incident you choose will depend on what kind of tone you want to set for your story: whether it’s funny or sad; whether there’s something magical about it; if there’s been some sort of disaster.

We all know the importance of a good inciting incident. It is the first event in a story that gets your readers hooked and wanting more. But what does it mean?

A simple inciting incident can be something as small as someone tripping over their own shoelaces, or something as big as an earthquake hitting your city.

What matters is that you start with an interesting and original idea to get people interested. It doesn’t have to be big. It just has to change up the protagonist’s life or routine in some way.

4 Tips On How To Write A Strong Inciting Incident

Ever watched a movie where the main character is just sitting around, doing nothing exciting?

The protagonist’s lack of action makes it hard to care about what happens.

A strong inciting incident will get your readers hooked from the start and make them eager for more! In order to write a strong inciting incident, you need to consider some key points:

1) What does your protagonist want? Is there an obstacle that stands in his way?

2) Why is this story happening now instead of later or never at all?

3) Do you know how everything ends up by the end of the story and why things happen as they do when they happen?

The first thing to consider is the tone of the piece: should it be humorous, serious, or some combination of both?

Humor can lighten a heavy topic and make it more accessible for readers. However, if you want your project to maintain a serious tone then humor may not be appropriate at all.

Next comes deciding what type of genre your work falls into.

Some genres are easier than others when it comes to figuring out what would constitute an inciting incident (think murder mysteries).

For other genres, there’s no set formula for determining this (for example romance novels).

Hitchcock Loved Inciting Incidents

It is no secret that Alfred Hitchcock was a master of suspense. He helped revolutionize the way filmmakers used sound and camera techniques to create tension, making all of his movies worth watching more than once.

One common theme in many of his films is the idea of inciting incidents when one event leads to another or creates a chain reaction with negative consequences.

“Psycho,” “The Birds,” and “Strangers on a Train” are just some examples where an incident turns into something much worse for the protagonist. In Hitchcock’s most famous film, “North By Northwest,” Roger Thornhill’s search for George Kaplan starts off as an innocent case but then quickly spirals out of control, leading him to be framed for murder.

Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock loved to include incidents in his movies that would make the audience shudder? In some of his films, he even had a habit of killing off major characters.

Hitchcock was always looking for ways to keep audiences on the edge of their seats and guessing. His films are full of suspenseful moments but what’s so interesting is how he did it.

As a renowned director, Alfred Hitchcock is arguably one of the most influential directors in cinema history. His films are truly prolific and have been known to have some seriously shocking moments that can be seen as ‘incidents’ for his characters.

Ever since Alfred Hitchcock was a young boy, he loved creating and solving puzzles. He also loved watching people react to them. In his films, he often created suspenseful moments that made audiences feel uneasy.

But the best thing about these moments is that Hitchcock wanted viewers to think they were in control of the outcome.

The Importance Of An Inciting Incident

For some people, the inciting incident is their whole life. It’s what they’ve been waiting for all along.

You might have an idea of what you want to do with your life, but it’s not until you find that one thing that everything else falls into place.

The most important part of figuring out who you are comes when you find your “inciting incident”.

Initiating events, also known as inciting incidents, are the problems that arise in story plots. They can be minor or major and they create tension for both the protagonist and antagonist.

The event is what sets up the plot line of a story and without one there would be no conflict.

A story needs a beginning. And an inciting incident is that first moment in which the hero of a story takes action, or is faced with some obstacle, that sets everything else in motion.

It’s what propels the protagonist to go on their journey and fight against whatever forces are working against them.

The inciting incident can be as small as a single sentence or may take up several pages depending on the length of your work. Either way, it must capture your reader’s attention if they’re going to stick around for the entire journey through your book…

The inciting incident is the point in a story where things start to change and the protagonist starts pursuing their goal. It usually happens within the first 20% of any given book, movie, or TV show.

What Happens In The Inciting Incident?

The inciting incident is the moment in a story when something happens that causes conflict. This can be a physical event, such as someone being pushed out of their house, or it could be an emotional event, like learning your dad died.

Imagine you’re reading a book about time travel and all of sudden the main character’s dog dies.

That would be an inciting incident because it creates conflict for her and now she has to figure out how to get back to save her dog before he dies.

It’s what starts the protagonist on his or her journey, and it creates tension within the reader by making them wonder how things will turn out. It’s the moment in a story that gets things going. It could be the time when the protagonist meets their love interest or it could be when they’re faced with a moral dilemma.

Basically, anything that changes everything for them and sets up what will happen next.

The protagonist is introduced but does not take an active role in resolving it yet. They are just observing or listening to what’s going on around them as they wait for their moment to shine.

When Should An Inciting Incident Occur?

What is the inciting incident? How does it work in literature? What effect should an inciting incident have on a story’s plot and characters? The answer to these questions is not as simple as it may seem.

The inciting incident is the first moment in a story that sets up the conflict and protagonist.

The inciting incident is the point in a story where something happens that changes everything. This event can happen anywhere from page 1 to page 100, but it’s typically found on or around the 25% mark of your manuscript.

What you need to know about the inciting incident:

-It’s crucial for your protagonist and reader alike

-You need to be able to identify when it occurs so you know what needs to happen next

-It should be shocking and surprising

There are a lot of discussions about when to include an inciting incident in a story. Some people say it should happen very early on, but others argue that the plot needs time to build up before the main conflict starts.

While there is no definite answer for this question, there are some things you need to consider before choosing where your story’s inciting incident will be:

  • What genre does your book fall under?
  • What mood and tone do you want your readers to have while reading?
  • How much backstory information do you want readers to know about what happened before the protagonist started on their journey?

We hope you’ve found our guide to the inciting incident useful. Let us know if you have an questions, thoughts or ideas in the comments below.