The Inciting Incident

Steven Lubet

Northwestern University - School of Law

July 11, 2006

Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 916602

In literary terms, a trial lawyer has to decide how to introduce the inciting incident, the central moment of change or conflict around which the entire story revolves. More precisely, the question is whether to begin - the opening statement or final argument - with the inciting incident, or to precede it with some amount of exposition. That decision, in turn, depends on the nature of the story itself. Is the central conflict self-explanatory, requiring little or no contest? Or does the story require nuance and background in order to be understandable? This essay uses examples from film and literature - from Kafka's Metamorphosis to Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn, and from Casablanca to Saving Private Ryan - to explore the different approaches to this problem.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 5

working papers series

Download This Paper

Date posted: July 12, 2006  

Suggested Citation

Lubet, Steven, The Inciting Incident (July 11, 2006). Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 916602. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=916602 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.916602

Contact Information

Steven Lubet (Contact Author)
Northwestern University - School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-6605 (Phone)
Feedback to SSRN

Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,449
Downloads: 132
Download Rank: 127,333

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo8 in 0.391 seconds