Inciting Incidents

what would incite you to get blood on your hands?
What would incite you to get blood on your hands?

There was a remarkable conjunction in bed this morning. It got my creative juices going, even put a smile on my face. Not easy to do at sun up on a curmudgeonly night owl.

First I was reading about inciting incidents in Christopher Vogler’s eminently readable book The Writer’s Journey. At the end of the chapter he asks you to think about inciting incidents in your own life. Easier said than done as you have to think of something you have achieved first. I was trying to do this when I got distracted by Twitter (it was something to do with checking when the shopping was being delivered: my mind has never been the most focused). Here was a tweet about crime-writing opportunities from tontines. It was sent by a finance journalist with a link to an article in The Economist.

Tontines? What the heck?

Surprisingly, it was a very interesting article. I read it out loud to my husband and it got our thoughts racing.

Tontines are (now illegal) schemes where a whole bunch of people pay in and the last man standing reaps the rewards. Obviously there is potential for skulduggery which has been exploited by many writers over the years including, apparently, Agatha Christie. But with increasing longevity and the resulting squeeze on pensions, there is talk of insurance schemes based on the same concept making a comeback.

Cue the inciting incident: what would make a scheme manager stoop to hiring a hit man to bump off a couple of scheme members in order to boost the profits?


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