Monday, December 24, 2007

Inciting Incident--Trouble--Right here! Right now!

Inciting Incident – Editing your work

Stories over and above everything else are about trouble. Without trouble, your protagonist’s business as usual life would not be of interest to a reader who already has his own version of dull and boring, mundane, status quo. Whatever word you choose, no trouble, no conflict, = no story.

In Small Town Secrets (Wings ePress, Inc. January 2008) I continually asked myself during the edits—so what? Chaneeta is a volunteer fire fighter. She goes to a fire in the first pages of my book. So What? Fires happen all the time. The fact that she’s the town’s chairwoman, the equivalent of a mayor in other cities and that it appears a racially motivated, serial arsonist is on the loose cranks up the ante. It bursts a hole in the fabric of the mundane and ordinary Nettlesville. At once we see her trouble. Is it enough to sustain a whole novel?

Right now we are just after the hook to pull the reader in. So this bit of information definitely is a beginning. But, what is revealed by Chaneeta’s memories of past racial troubles that affect her personally is hinted at. What racial trouble, small town, obviously well-liked Caucasian woman, our curiosity begins to wonder almost at once if that isn’t enough, another trouble surfaces in the form of Olga Corn. Owner, operator, of the Daily Nettle Newspaper, woman bent on unseating Chaneeta Morgan as town chairperson. She appears at the fire to point accusing fingers and blame the town chair woman for the trouble, for allowing someone to burn yet another building in Nettlesville and more.

I’m satisfied we have enough trouble to get this novel off to a rip roaring start. By adding more troubles as we go along there will be enough momentum to carry the story to novel length. My editor, Leslie Hodges, watched for this. She also watched that each drawn gun was fired—meaning-- whatever trouble I threw in my protagonist’s way was resolved before I typed “The End”.

Revising, tweaking, pulling and shaping the final product is always a lesson in continuity, pace and completing the whole picture. It begins with the inciting incident — the trouble. Remember without trouble there is no story.

Write on and Write like the wind!
Billie A Williams
Small Town Secrets (Mystery Suspense available January 2008)
ISBN 978-1-59705-7660

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