on Fiction University:
The opening scene isn’t the real start of your story. The inciting event is.
The inciting event is one of my two favorite turning points in a novel (the other is the midpoint). It’s that moment at the top of a roller coaster just before it tips forward and races into a spiral. It’s when all the fun and excitement you’d been anticipating while waiting in line is about happen.
Sure, the first line, the first page, and the first chapter get most the attention, but they’re only the first things readers see, not where the story begins. First pages are the setup for the real story, and the bridge that connects the opening scene to the inciting event.
And that’s when things really take off.