I think most stories are about transitions, the bigger the better. But transitions are insidious in some ways. On the surface they don't seem like much. Birthdays, new responsibilities at work, new exercise routines, trying out a new church, or even switching breakfast cereals...some of these little things can really throw us for a loop, huh?
I've been thinking about the transitions I'm put my characters through. Every single character in SCAR is experiencing a major transition. Trinidad's priest is sick and dying. Soon he will be transferred to another priest, maybe even another parish. Castile has recently gotten out of prison. On the surface he's confident, but the world has changed in eight years, he's an adult now, and he's just realizing how much his damage reflects the world. The Bishop and a few others have discovered a new Holy Land that creates as many questions as the old one did. Her faith and her power are changing. Landri, the Indigo, has just taken power of her tribe when her father died. Even Wolf, Trinidad's little brother, is experiencing the awkward transition of the teen-aged years.
In EXILE, the book I'm submitting in the next few days, Draken has been accused of a crime he didn't commit. When the book opens, he's in physical transition: he's on the ship taking him to Akrasia, the arse-end of the world, for banishment.
Without these transitions, I realized, there would be no story. Maybe that's what the Inciting Incident is, a transition. And I think the flavor of genre fiction today just might demand we show our characters in the middle of that transition when the story launches. Is that a Rule? Maybe it's one of mine, at least, something to lean on when I plot.
What transitions are your characters going through and how do they speak to your story?