Day 14: Writing the inciting incident

1. Review. Students will have a quiz on the following terms on Thursday: imagery, diction, syntax, internal monologue, metacognition, flashback, foreshadowing, theme (and how to find it: T2C2), symbolism. The quiz will be multiple choice, based on a reading.

2. Notes on foreshadowing and flashback. On page L6 (download here: Memoir Writing Techniques to Show), we added two definitions: foreshadowing and flashback. Here are the notes:

3. Flashback: a scene that interrupts the present action of the plot to show what happened in the past. How to use it:

1) visually set it off with italics, asterisks (*), or spaces before and after.

2) give the reader a hint about the time period (“In fifth grade…” or “I was only four feet tall at the time…”).

3) directly state that it is in the past (“I remember…” or “When I was five years old…” or “Years ago…”)

4) Use a date as if in a journal

4. Foreshadowing: the use of clues to hint at something that occurs later in the plot. Used to build suspense. How to use it:

1) describe an object that reappears or is symbols (finding a gun foreshadows a murder later in the story)

2) diction, which includes the setting (time/place/weather) (use scary words/description if something scary is about to happen)

3) a miniature, non-threatening version of the event occurs (You wake up in the morning and trip over your clothes, hitting your head on the floor. Later that day, someone punches you and gives you a black eye.)

4) dialogue to ironically hint that something will not happen (in a memoir about your grandparents, you say, “Grandma, I’m really looking forward to when you can come visit North Carolina for my graduation.” The reader gets the sinking feeling that Grandma won’t make it…).

3. Begin inciting incident piece. On a sheet of paper, students write “Inciting Incident” at the top. In this piece, students decided whether to use foreshadowing or flashback (or both). I encouraged them to start with a snippet of dialogue if they were having trouble starting. Students told the story that they had decided would be their inciting incident. We wrote for about 30 minutes in class.

HW: Finish inciting incident piece. Regular: 1 page minimum. Honors: 1 page minimum, but you should write until you have finished the story. Due tomorrow.