The Inciting Incident rocks your hero’s world to its foundations. It is always a conflict between your hero and the antagonist. It should be obvious to the reader that after this confrontation (direct or by proxy) your hero cannot go back to his normal life.
The Inciting Incident should be logically connected to your Hook, even if the connection is full of bending and backtracking.
The Inciting Incident is usually imagined as a direct confrontation between your main antagonist. But if you plan to have your main antagonist stay in the shadows until the final show-down, you can use a proxy. That’s proxy not proxies. Even if your hero faces off against a group, one opponent should stand out from the crowd and be the main opponent. This gives the reader someone to fixate on.
The Inciting Incident often includes a reaction section in which the hero internally commits to the journey. No matter how violent the Inciting Incident – even if he is bodily thrown from the Ordinary World into the Adventure World – the transition is not complete until he recognizes there has been a change. He doesn’t have to be happy about it, he can resolve to get his ordinary life back, but he has to recognize that things have taken a dramatic turn.
Even adventurers – those heroes who go looking for change – have an Inciting Incident that propels them through this first point-of-no-return. Their Inciting Incident is still (traditionally) some sort of conflict and confrontation.
Whether your hero is kicked out of the Ordinary World or is leaping at the chance to leave, the Inciting Incident marks the place and time when the inner conflict is jolted into motion. There are two main scenarios here. 1) The inner conflict was static before. 2) The external conflict creates an inner conflict. More than one inner conflict can be put into motion. In either case, the resolution of this conflict should feed into how the final showdown plays out.