Lesson 1: Scene-Setting and the Inciting Incident

Writing Exercise

It is not unusual for external, non-character-driven events to happen to the characters in a story. But a good story can’t be driven only by external events. It’s not enough to have things “happen to” your characters. Your reader always wants to know  what the characters are going to do—how they will exert their wills, pursue their desires, alleviate their fears. That is the essence of character-driven action.

For this lesson’s writing exercise, you will practice mixing external action with character-driven action. Write a scene in which two characters experience the same external event, but act very differently in response to that event.