An initiating event is a literary term which refers to the first stimuli in a novel or story that triggers the conflict in the plot of a story line. The concept of an initiating event could be compared to a"patient zero" in an epidemic. One person begins a chain reaction and the disease is spread exponentially from contact with other people. The literary initiating event is somewhat the same thing. For every action there is an equal reaction. When a reader can identify the initiating event in a story which stimulates the conflict the story is much more interesting and easier to understand. After the initiating event the reader will encounter the conflict, rising action, climax and resolution of the story.
the initiating event is an action or action that lead to the climax