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Screenwriting: Hooking, Inciting & Plotting

One of the most asked questions by new screenwriters is how to hook the reader? The first ten pages are critical, as is the first act itself.   However, there's also some confusion over the differences between a Hook, Inciting Incident, and First Act  Plot Point. 

All are crucial as you develop your first act.

Let's first talk about the Hook.  This technique grabs your reader in some way right from the get go. It's a page one or two element.  It can be the way you introduce a character.  Or how you set the mood or tone of the story in some intriguing or interesting way.  You might even quickly raise a question in the reader's mind.  You're creating an opening image (or series of images) or event that engages the curiosity of your reader. 

The Inciting Incident is essentially the call to action.  It has to take place in the first 10-15 pages to be effective.  It has to distrupt the protagonist's life.  It has to be unexpected and require urgent action.  And finally, it has to have significant consequence if not resolved. 

Finally, the First Act Plot Point.  Generally speaking, you've hooked your reader in that opening scene.  You've changed up the protagonist's life and established the story's trajectory, got the protagonist moving essentially, and then WHAM... something happens or is discovered that sends the story in a NEW and UNEXPECTED direction.  This ends the first act (around page 25) and nicely sets up the second.

If you have a question or comment please post one below.


About the Author

Take Chris' Class: Writing Screenplays Hollywood Wants.  12 tutorials, downloads, materials, 1.5 hours of video instruction, and a weekly interactive video Q & A.  All for just $19.95!

(Follow on Twitter) Christopher Wehner is a published author and produced screenwriter, EL CAMINO CHRISTMAS @Netflix and AMERICAN DREAMER  (later this year); visit his IMDB page for future projects.   Christopher has been a leading member of the online screenwriter's community going back to the 1990s.   In 2001 he published the groundbreaking book Screenwriting on the Internet: Researching, Writing and Selling Your Script on the Web,.

To contact Chris visit his website:  Warm Beer Productions.

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