Friday, January 8, 2010

Sara Picks an Inciting Incident

Editor’s Note: I figure any day I get to spend time with Sara is a good day. This week, I sat down and talked to Sara about a subject that came to light in the recent discussion of New Year’s resolutions.


Timothy Fish:
Sara, I’ve started writing another book, but I’ve still got book five in your series floating around in the back of my mind. We’ll see how everything goes, but I’m thinking that I might write it sometime this year.

Sara:
That’s great. What’s it going to be about?

Timothy Fish:
You know how in And Thy House Kelly got involved in the movie industry, a little. I’m thinking that I’ll expand on that.

Sara:
So, I won’t be in this one?

Timothy Fish:
Actually, I was thinking of making you the protagonist. It would sort of bring the series full circle.

Sara:
That would be okay, as long as you promise a happy ending, but what would you have me doing? I’m not an actor.

Timothy Fish:
That’s part of what I wanted to talk to you about. This concept came up about setting resolutions by putting ourselves into a story. Along with that, we would need to have an inciting incident that would motivate us to take action. So, what would you like your inciting incident to be?

Sara:
You’re asking me? I’m not even sure I know what you’re asking. I don’t write books.

Timothy Fish:
Let me put it another way. What would you like to be different in your life and what would you like to be your motivation for making that change?

Sara:
You mean anything or—I mean, if you put it in the story then that means I’m going to get it.

Timothy Fish:
Sure, anything. But keep in mind that you’re going to have to do the work to get it.

Sara:
So, if I asked for a million dollars, I would get it?

Timothy Fish:
Yeah, but what would be your motivation for getting a million dollars?

Sara:
I don’t know. Maybe if the restaurant burned and we didn’t have enough insurance.

Timothy Fish:
That could work. We could have someone mad at the movie studio set Ellen’s Café on fire because they were filming in front of it. I think I know which character to use.

Sara:
Wait! I don’t want the building to burn. I’ve got too many good memories in it. Promise me you won’t do that.

Timothy Fish:
Okay, but it would have worked. You would have needed a million dollars then.

Sara:
What about a boyfriend? Could you give me a boyfriend?

Timothy Fish:
Ah, a little romance. That could work. But what’s going to motivate you to go get one? We need an inciting incident

Sara:
Do we have to? Can’t you just wave your magic wand or your magic pencil or whatever and make it happen?

Timothy Fish:
I could, but what kind of story would that be?

Sara:
Then could we make the story about something else and just throw the boyfriend in there anyway?

Timothy Fish:
Yeah, we could, but what are we going to do for the story?

Sara:
What about a mystery? Maybe I could investigate something. My motivation could be that I’m curious. Maybe someone died and I wanted to know why.

Timothy Fish:
Yeah, it could work. It could be your boyfriend who dies—

Sara:
Hey! That’s not fair.

Timothy Fish:
I think I’m beginning to get the picture. You don’t want an inciting incident. You just want things to go smoothly.

Sara:
You got it, buddy.

Timothy Fish:
Well, we have to have an inciting incident.

Sara:
Then maybe you had better choose it.

Timothy Fish:
Yeah, I think I’m going to have to.

Sara:
Just don’t hurt my parents or or Mark Jr. and I want a boyfriend I’ll like, not some jerk.

Timothy Fish:
Maybe I had better come up with something and not tell you until it’s over.

Sara:
Now, I’m afraid of what you’ll do.

Timothy Fish:
Yeah, you won’t like it, but I’m sure you’ll make it turn out okay.

Sara:
I hope so.