My first box arrived with four books and a hat. It also included a handwritten note from Steven, which was a pleasant surprise.
Each book is a short read, 30+ pages or so, give or take. They’re pure, straight from the heart, and 100% Steven Pressfield. If you make anything – anything at all – you need to read Steven Pressfield. If you stare into the void and pull out something of value, you need to read Steven Pressfield.
JAB #1 is titled How Does a Story Start? Notes on the Inciting Incident and How to Make It Work.
A few of my notes:
A story doesn’t begin until there is an inciting incident. The inciting incident sets the story into motion. This is completely different from the set-up. A set-up is static, it describes the time, the place, the premise… the inciting incident is dynamic. It makes the story move.
Everything is intention and obstacle. Intention and obstacle. Intention and obstacle.
The inciting incident begins when the hero acquires an intention. What does she want? She does she want to achieve, accomplish, acquire, change.
The inciting incident is the chemical explosion. It’s the point of the story where potential energy is converted into kinetic energy, energy of motion. It’s the hero’s call. It’s when the hero leaves the old world behind and enters the wild and crazy extraordinary world.
When the inciting incident occurs, it automatically creates narrative poles. The narrative poles anchor the story between the inciting incident and the resolution of the inciting incident. These are the two legs of the story that keep the story in motion.
Within every inciting incident is the seed of the resolution. Will our hero succeed? Fail?
Steven addresses THEME in a later book in the series, but he also states that the inciting incident is always on theme. This makes sense of course. Everything in your story should be on theme.
What’s the point of your story? You must reinforce your theme every chance you get.
This is the beginning of a long adventure. If you don’t know how your story begins, you won’t know where it’s going. You don’t need to be super analytical with it, but an inciting incident should be present and be the driving force of your story, the explosion that sets everything into motion.