Friday, September 21, 2012

Poke Your Reader in the Eye

I forgot how much torture fun revising can be. %-P (picture me cross-eyed with tongue hanging out)

But I do love a good challenge, and while working to improve my m.c. in the first ten pages (see Monday's post) ... I've been reading up on blog posts by Donald Maass. His ideas and prompts are thought provoking and really get my writing wheels rolling.

Here's a snippet (not on characters) regarding your inciting incident:

"Find in the inciting event that which would rile up anyone. Magnify and elaborate that element. Poke your readers in their eyes. Make them defensive. Make them mad. Make them think. A well-constructed inciting incident will stir up your readers but leave them with no idea what they would do. To resolve their inner unbalance, they’ll have to find out what your protagonist will do."


Poke your reader in the eye. That will make them buy more books from you ... RIGHT?!

What about you? Does the inciting incident in the book you're writing or reading right now have that "poke you" element?


  1. Great advice from Donald! Thanks for the link to his blog. I'll check it out for sure.

    Good luck with your revisions :)

  2. Hi, Margo,

    I agree that the inciting incident should make the reader sit up and pay attention. Of course, I'm examining mine to see if it makes the grade.

  3. Hmmm I think I'll need to revise. Thanks for posting!

  4. Awesome advice. I may need to re-evaluate my inciting scene.

  5. Make them think - yes, definitely good advice!

  6. He always has such fantastic advice! I love that snippet. It's very true - I know it gets me as a reader all the time. :)