The inciting incident is often misunderstood. Even seasoned writers sometimes make claims that there can be multiple inciting incidents or that it can occur before the story even begins. But I would argue that most of those claims are rooted in a misunderstanding of the role the inciting incident plays within a story.
Hooking the reader
Tips for maximizing reader engagement.
Character arc (aka the internal plot) is essential for a satisfying story structure. You might have tension on every page and you might follow what you think is a winning structure, but if you don’t have a character arc, your story will fail to resonate with readers. Learn the key concepts for character arcs here.
Do you take us to a point of conflict and then, rather than allow us to see it play out and get all worried about the outcome, you summarize it or just resolve it quickly? Stretching tension means you lengthen the scene but also make it more gripping. Don’t push the action off-stage or rush through it. Linger on the most tense moments of the story to maximize engagement.