inciting incidents

3 10 2008

One of the main problems that my friend Sarah identified with the first draft of my novel was that my “inciting incident”, the moment when the narrative properly kicks in, occurred too late. As in 200 pages into the novel. Ouch. It took me a couple of years to get to that point when I was writing it and essentially I had no clue what I was doing. It was like trying to play basketball with knives instead of fingers. Reading over the first draft there is a definite moment where you can tell I figured out what I was doing and the second half of the novel is a quantum leap better than the first half. However that first part of the novel needed a complete rewriting.

I’m now finished the third draft and while doing my read through and revisions of it I’ve realised that the inciting incident STILL happens too late. The chapters are well written and I’ve made a good attempt at disguising the inciting incident but there is again a definite moment when the narrative kicks in and that is a problem I need to fix. At first that discouraged me (I have to do HOW much work?) but then I realised that I am reasonably happy with what happens after that moment. I wrote in my notes this morning “CRACKING chapter” for two consecutive chapters which is really positive.

So now my mind is ticking away, trying to figure out the best way to bring that inciting incident forward. I’m not going to stress about it now, instead I’m just going to have it bubble away in the background and hope for a “shower thought” or two 🙂

(shower thought’s for those who don’t know, are those moments when ideas and solutions to problems slip into your mind, invariably for me in the shower. Who knows why they come to me in the shower? Maybe its because I’m a lewd bastard most of the time, and yes, I am a children’s librarian)

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