Is the Story Driver an Action or Decision when it’s just a discovery?

What happens when the "Inciting Incident" (ie. the initial story driver) is just the acquisition of a new piece of information? Is that an Action or a Decision? For example, in Joe Versus the Volcano, the Inciting Incident is presumably Joe being told that he's dying. He didn't do anything, nor did he make a decision. What kind of story driver is that?

The nature of the setup for your action/decision scenario is vague and could be delivered either way.


A seemingly innocuous piece of paper slips from a book that the teenager is reading, with only one word handwritten on it: EDISON


BOB and SARA sit in the library. We see Sara deliberating on telling Bob something, but she is conflicted.

BOB: So....what did it say?

SARA: -- OK, but you can't tell anyone I told you. It said, "Edison."

The difference is minor, but that's because your setup did not establish which it was supposed to be: Action or Decision.

Usually an inciting event won't be "just the acquisition of a new piece of information." It's usually more substantive than that, because it demarcates the beginning of the story and establishes the major causal relationships between actions and decisions for the rest of the story.

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