These last three components of the methodology are definitely the most important. We’re going to talk about the three C’s. This gets into the Three Story Method—conflict, choice, and consequence. Let’s start first with conflict.
The conflict, you may have heard described in movie terms as the inciting incident. This is the specific moment that starts the scene, that pushes the protagonist out of the status quo, out of their normal life. This can often be misinterpreted, and sometimes authors think that this has to be a life or death situation. It does not. But every scene must have a conflict moment that starts the story. It doesn’t have to be physical, it doesn’t have to be dramatic, and it doesn’t even have to have high stakes.
The function of the initial conflict is simply to push the protagonist off center, out of the regular routine, beyond the status quo, so that you can then as the writer set up the choice that must be made. These are the things that are hardwired into our storytelling DNA, that are called a variety of different terms in different story methodologies. They all mean the same thing. I’m not inventing these. I’m simply labeling them in a way that I find useful. But that conflict must be there. If there isn’t conflict, going back to Aristotle, there’s no beginning of your scene.