Reply To: LESSON 5 – The Inciting Incident

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Emily Marsh

The inciting incident in Diving In is Lise (MC’s) act of rescuing a dog that’s in danger of drowning in a creek. She’s at the point of committing to a life spent being what she thinks she needs to be to her father and her fiancee and in the world in general, at the expense of both her gifts and her happiness. One day she sees a dog stuck in a creek bed. She risks her safety to help the dog, and Caleb (MC2) sees her and comes out to help her. They end up in a very undignified position and covered in mud, but with a rescued dog and a tentative bond. If that incident had not taken place, Lise would have known Caleb only as an incredibly reserved paralegal at her work. Because he is so very shy/distrustful of people and tends to go it alone, Caleb would not have warmed to her or considered trusting her to intervene on behalf of his friends, and she wouldn’t have taken on one last pro bono case, which leads to the events of the rest of the book. The dog and the case give her two avenues into building a relationship with Caleb and flinging herself out of her fishbowl of misery. Finally, she wouldn’t have recognized a genuine attraction to Caleb, which motivates her to question her relationship with her fiancee — it’s been a while since she felt the real thing in terms of attraction — and to want more.

This is more a “get-the-snowball-rolling-down-the-hill” kind of inciting incident than a “being dropped off a cliff” kind of inciting incident, but those can be a thing. I think.




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