Creating An Inciting Incident For Your Screenplay
Aspiring screenwriters are often told to create an inciting incident for their screenplay. The problem is that screenwriters don't always know what this incident is and why they need it.
The inciting incident is an action or situation that causes conflict for
the hero in your story. The hero must resolve this conflict by taking action.
In the film, Final Destination
, the inciting incident is the scene in which high school student Alex Browning has a premonition that the plane he has just boarded will explode shortly after taking off.
He panics and leaves the plane, forcing one of his teachers and five of his classmates to leave
the plane with him. The plane then takes off without them and explodes while flying over the airport.
Afterwards, Alex begins an investigation into the cause of this mid-air disaster. His investigation reveals that by leaving the plane before the explosion, he and his friends
have cheated death. But, he soon learns that death is a real entity that will continue to pursue him and his friends.
Alex's premonition about the plane explosion is the inciting incident that maintains the focus of the film. The focus is Alex's battle with death.
You will find that the inciting incident in your story will help you develop and maintain the focus of your screenplay.