Ruby in the Smoke Philip Pullman

The Ruby in the Smoke

Book: By Philip Pullman Inciting Event: Before the story starts, Matthew Lockhart’s ship sinks and he drowns. Just before he dies, he has a servant scrawl a note to his daughter Sally, warning her against something called The Seven Blessings. (We later learn that Ah Ling and his minions deliberately sank the ship to camouflage […]

Every Secret Thing Susanne Kearsley

Every Secret Thing

Inciting Event: Journalist Kate learns that Deacon, the old man who died in a hit and run in the opening chapter, had a secret report he wanted to share with her. This is a nice example of a story that opens in medias res with the first pertinent scene—but in which the Inciting Event (in […]

Gone Girl Gillian FLynn

Gone Girl

Inciting Event: Nick comes home from the bar that he owns with his twin sister Margo to find that his wife has gone missing. First Plot Point: The investigators find Amy’s first treasure hunt clue, which is an anniversary tradition, and insist on going with him in case the clues will shed some light into […]

Thief Taker T.F. Banks

The Thief-Taker

Inciting Event: A man and a wife, condemned to hang, accuse the Bow Street Runners of mercenary motives just before they die. First Plot Point: Henry is hired by a noblewoman to look into her lover’s death. First Pinch Point: Henry’s house is assaulted by a mob angry at him for the deaths of the […]

Dodger by Terry Pratchett


Inciting Event: Dodger gets his first clue about who attacked Simplicity. First Plot Point: Dodger meets a conscious Simplicity for the first time. First Pinch Point: Dodger catches someone following him and Simplicity. Midpoint: Dodger takes Simplicity to a new lodging to protect her. Second Pinch Point: Dodger is told someone has accused him of […]

Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson

Devil in the Marshalsea

Inciting Event: Tom is arrested for debt. First Plot Point: Tom is assigned the devilish Fleet as a roommate. First Pinch Point: The ghost of a recently murdered prisoner asks to meet with Tom. Midpoint: Tom is told the murderer is the head prison clerk. Second Pinch Point: Tom is beaten and locked in solitary […]