The inciting force, often called the inciting incident, is “the event or character that triggers the conflict” (Elements of Literature, nps.gov). In essence, this is what kicks off the story.
Narrative First discusses plot points and the inciting incident here, using examples from a number of popular movies (and play):
- Star Wars: A New Hope
- Sixth Sense
- The Lives of Others
- The Incredibles
The following seven-and-a-half-minute clip from the original Star Wars (Lucasfilm, 1977), which is Episode IV: A New Hope, is not only a stroll down memory lane for those of us who saw it when it was first released (a huge deal then, for good reason), it also contains an example of exposition (at 0:38) as well as the inciting incident: the attack on Princess Leia’s ship (beginning at 2:10).
STAR WARS — Opening Scene (1977)
A little trivia: My brother taught himself to play the Star Wars theme in his junior high years on an old style Hammond organ, incorporating complex sequences of rhythm, counter melody, harmony, and bass patterns (an octave’s worth of bass foot pedals). He has exceptional musical talent and has been one of the inspirations for the protag in Beyond the Precipice.
Several years ago, the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra played the Star Wars Opening Theme at a concert my brother and I had planned months in advance to attend. My brother waited three-quarters of his lifetime to hear this music played live!
We are planning to go see another Sci-Fi Spectucular by the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) on June 17.
More on inciting force (inciting incident): Inciting Moment: What It Is and Why You Should Care by Andrea Lundgren on A Writer’s Path.
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