A Story’s Inciting Event

When I think of some of the stories I’ve enjoyed reading, one major thing stands out. In most of the stories, the protagonist begins in a situation that, no matter how ruinous or desperate it might be, they’ve figured it out enough to survive. They know the dangers, rewards, and challenges that affect their life. That’s how the story begins, but at some point, the protagonist experiences something that changes things. It could be simple and something the protagonist can work through, or it could be a terrible life-changing event.

Either way, that event is usually what sets the story in motion. That’s what drives the character to reevaluate where they are headed. Some characters struggle to get to the point where they act, rather than being acted upon, but in the books I like, the protagonist usually attempts to fix things or adjust to them. Each of those attempts will bring the character closer to a resolution, but in many cases, what they hoped to resolve can’t be resolved simply. Their life will be forever changed by their response to that event.

I think a lot about life and how stories mirror it. The main difference I see is that where a story may have one inciting event that thrusts me forward in the pages, in life it is never that simple. Depending on how I look at it, little events each day shape the course of my week, which in turn shapes the course of my months and years. Life doesn’t provide just one challenge, in my experience. The challenges come all at once, or layered on top of other challenges. In each of these situations, like the protagonist, I must decide how I will respond. Are there things I can do to better the situation? Sometimes, focusing on the small, good acts that happen all around, I can keep myself out of the negative hole that can be easy to spiral into.

Just like a character in a good book, where they do their best to win or overcome the obstacles and make things as correct as they can, I think we grow through the good choices we make and the challenges we face. They pull us out of our comfort zone, and we may never get completely comfortable again.

I hope those of you who read this find some time to read a book. I’ve got a few of mine out there for free for the next five days. They are A Map, a Mage, and a Sacrifice, The Promise of Dust, and  Progenitor’s Legacy: Deceit.

Here is are brief descriptions of my books on Amazon.

My latest book, For All the Stones, takes place in a world that is coming to terms with the rising technology and the waning magic. Even though the magic has faded, some are still after the ancient glories of the mages who once ruled the land.

My book, Collected Lives, takes place near the end of the twenty-second century, with vacations and tourism to Earth by off-worlders controlled by major corporations. The largest corporation, Collected Lives, has several enemies. The story follows the events as four people from different portions of Collected Lives’ process are thrown into the middle of a larger problem.

My fantasy, A Map, a Mage, and a Sacrifice, is set in a world with ancient technology where sacrifice of lifeforce brings magical power. The greater the pain and suffering, the greater the magical energy generated. The Forty mages controlling the empire use voluntary sacrifice of the citizens to generate power they use to protect and defend the empire. But their rule may be coming to a close.

Malignance, my third book in my time travel series that began with Resonance and Dissonance, is on Amazon as a kindle and a paperback. That was a fun series to write, and for now, it is completed. I have also placed all three books from that series into one volume titled The Machina of Time.

If you’re looking for a science fiction story, try my book The Promise of Dust, which takes place in a cloud city floating in the atmosphere of Venus. Or Progenitor’s Legacy: Deceit, which takes place many years in the future on a tidally locked world that orbits a red dwarf and has been reached by humanity in their search for the alien progenitors who seeded the galaxy with nano machines.

If a young adult science fiction is more to your liking, check out my series This New Earth, that starts with Demons of a Dead World and Secrets of a Dead World.

If you are looking for a young adult fantasy, check out my book The Threads Unbound.

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