The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
“Story guru Lisa Cron unlocked my last novel for me over lunch, but if you can’t have her by your side when you’re wrestling your manuscript, the next best thing is this smart, funny, genius book about the myths, realities and brass tacks of story. Packed with innovative tips and techniques, it’s as essential to any writer as a laptop, and much more fun.”
– Caroline Leavitt, author of New York Times Bestseller, Pictures of You
Imagine knowing what the brain craves from every tale it encounters; what fuels the success of any great story; and what keeps us transfixed or we walk away. Wired for Story reveals these cognitive secrets—and it’s a game-changer for anyone who has ever set pen to paper.
Backed by recent breakthroughs in neuroscience as well as real-life writing examples, the book offers a revolutionary look at story, as the brain understands it, filled with fascinating facts about what draws the reader in unlike anything writers have heard before.
Every captivating story has elements that fool us into thinking we know exactly what has us hooked—things like beautiful metaphors, authentic dialogue, or interesting characters— all the classic elements of great writing that we blindly believe form the essence of the best stories. In fact, engaging stories must do one thing well: stimulate the brain’s primal urge for survival. When they do, a delicious dopamine rush tells us to pay attention. When they don’t, even the most perfect prose fails to hold our interest.
The vast majority of writing courses, workshops, and books focus on writing—as if learning to “write well” is the same as telling a great story. It couldn’t be less true—and it’s exactly where most beginning writers fail. Writing serves the story; it’s not the master of it. A story achieves greatness when it intrigues the brain.
Wired for Story lifts the veil on what the mind is hungry for, and shares the elements beneath every great story that enable that passion, that fire, to ignite the reader’s imagination. The book is organized into twelve chapters, each zeroing in on an aspect of the brain, its corresponding revelation about story, and how to turn it all into powerful writing. Appealing to readers and writers alike, this telling guide immerses us in story, and delivers a mind’s eye-view as intoxicating as the stories it will no doubt inspire.
More Advance Praise for Wired for Story
Coming from Ten Speed Press, July 10th, 2012
“Wired for Story reveals that stories are not only a metaphor for human striving and survival; they are the means by which the brain ensures that we survive. Lisa Cron translates the latest neuroscience into an master guidebook for how to write engaging, meaningful, and moving stories.”
– Elizabeth Lyon, author of Manuscript Makeover
“We all love a good story but most of us struggle to write them. Lisa Cron enlightens us as to how to get the job done in a savvy and engaging way.”
– Michael Gazzaniga, neuroscientist, director, SAGE Center for the Study of Mind, University of California, Santa Barbara
“As a story consultant for business executives as well as artists, I am always searching for ways to convey the skill set involved in constructing a story. Wired for Story presents basic principles for harnessing the natural power of the brain to recognize and create stories in a way that is inspiring and entirely helpful.”
– Murray Nossel, PhD, founder of Narativ Inc. and executive coach, Columbia Business School
“Remember when Luke has to drop the bomb into the small vent on the Death Star? The story writer faces a similar challenge of penetrating the brain of the reader. This book gives the blueprints.”
– David Eagleman, neuroscientist, Baylor College of Medicine, and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
“This book is a godsend for writers. Whether a novice or a seasoned pro, it’s a safe bet that the wisdom found in these pages will be revelatory. Lisa Cron breaks down the elements of story in way that is easy to digest and implement, and she does so with wit and warmth. This is what should be taught to writers in every post-graduate program, and unfortunately, isn’t. As a published writer of both fiction and prose fresh out of an MFA program, I finally learned the concrete elements of what makes a story work from this book. Required reading.”