1. The Inciting Incident by Robert Mckee

The Inciting Incident By Mckee

Every story has five major parts:

  1. Inciting Incident: the primary cause that follows that puts in motion the other four elements.
  2. Progressive complications
  3. Crisis
  4. Climax
  5. Resolution

To master the Inciting incident you need to master setting.

The World Of The Story

The world of the story happens in a certain period, duration, location and level of conflict.

First you see the boring life of the main character/s. There is a kind of equilibrium, a balance, that it will be shaked by the inciting incident. This is how we get inside the main’s character world, troubles and doubts, we beggin to understand their needs and their desires. We see if he has sex, if he prays, if he is a democrat or a republican and if his mother is about to die.

Before the Inciting incident we learn about the rituals of the world of the story.

To Do List Before Inciting Incident

Some of the questions you need to answer before reaching any inciting incident are:

  • How do my characters make a living?
  • What are the politics of my world?
  • What are the rituals of my world?
  • What are the values in my world?
  • What is the genre or combination of genres?
  • What are the biographies of my characters?
  • What is the Backstory?
  • What is my cast design?


After you have saturated the research phase, something incredible happens, personality kicks in, you like it or not. Even though you have researched material that already exists, information out there that already exists, when you start to put all the pieces that you have gathered during research will come together in an unique way different to everyone else’s. And for that the only thing you need to do is to start putting all the pieces of research you have gathered together and create a story with what you know. I guarantee you that youu2019ll end up with a unique story, even if the material that you’re working with has been used by innumerable authors throughout history.

The Inciting Incident

“The INCITING INCIDENT radically upsets the balance of forces in the protagonist’s life.”

So during the exposition part of the story the value of it will shift from positive to negative several times. Like in the photo.

“It is a single event that either happens directly to the protagonist or is caused by the protagonist. Consequently, he’s immediately aware that life is out of balance for better or worse.” This means that our main character meats his lover for the first time, this could be either a positive or negative thing. It is when our main character realices he needs to leave the city for the search of something greater, etc. The Inciting Incident could be a person that shows our main character that there is more to life than what he thinks. That motivates him to take action and change in someway or another the balance of the world in the exposition phase.

The protagonist must react to the Inciting Incident.

He reacts and acts in line with his desire, conscious or unconscious. Therefore the action that he takes can be a conscious or unconscious expression of his desire, that is the superficial expression of his more personal and inner need. This need of the main character is the heart of the story, it is the motivation of the whole story.

The Conscious Desire

The conscious desire it’s the spine of the story.

The spine of any James Bond story is to defeat the arch-villain.

The Unconscious Desire

The unconscious desire it’s the most important need of main character that motivates the whole story.

In short

“The Inciting Incident it’s an event that throws a character’s life out of balance, arousing in him the conscious and/or unconscious desire for that which he feels will restore balance, launching him on a Quest for his Object of Desire against forces of antagonism (inner, personal, extra-personal). He may or may not achieve it. This is a story in a nutshell.”

In other posts we’ll talk about the design and creation of the Inciting Incident.

Until next time!

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