Category Archives: Inciting Incident

Conflict Through Crisis 2

Last week I shared what I learned at SWiC16 when Daniel José Older spoke about moments that change lives. Here’s the link.

Moments of crisis.

A crisis in a character’s life is the moment the story begins. All the moments after it are the realigning of their life back into balance. It’s this search for balance and attempt to make sense out of these events that creates the character arc.

It’s a natural response to:

  • An unstable time or state of affairs in which a decisive change is impending; one with the distinct possibility of a highly undesirable outcome
  • A condition of instability or danger, leading to a decisive change.
  • A dramatic emotional or circumstantial upheaval in a person’s life.
  • The point in a play or story at which hostile elements are most tensely opposed to each other.
  • A time of intense difficulty or danger.
  • A time when a difficult or important decision must be made
  • A crisis is a situation in which something or someone is affected by one or more very serious problems.

Thank you Daniel for you insight into creating a better character and story through crisis.

What crisis would you use to intensify your character arcs?


Conflict Through Crisis 1

When I was away at the SWiC16, Daniel José Older was a keynote speaker. He talked about working as a medic.  Some stories were funny, lighthearted and others cut a little deep.

What cut deep?

That all of us have moments in our lives that bring about change. They are moments that leave a mark. Once they occur, we  are forever different and carry that moment with us forever.

They can happen when reading an outstanding book, through spiritual enlightenment or a religious experience, meeting someone who becomes a part of our life,  or witnessing/surviving an event.

These moments build our character and make us the people we are today. Whether we were brave about it or not doesn’t matter. What matters is how we let these moments change us.

After a crisis it is impossible to continue as if it didn’t happen.

For example, although doctors face life and death daily, they still go home and live their lives. The life and death events do not affect them on a personal level.

However, a near death experience can be life altering.

Have you ever used a personal crisis within your story and did help build the tension as you intended?