This guide reveals how writers can utilize cognitive storytelling strategies to craft stories that ignite readers’ brains and captivate them through each plot element.
Imagine knowing what the brain craves from every tale it encounters, what fuels the success of any great story, and what keeps readers transfixed. Wired for Story reveals these cognitive secrets—and it’s a game-changer for anyone who has ever set pen to paper.
The vast majority of writing advice focuses on “writing well” as if it were the same as telling a great story. This is exactly where many aspiring writers fail—they strive for beautiful metaphors, authentic dialogue, and interesting characters, losing sight of the one thing that every engaging story must do: ignite the brain’s hardwired desire to learn what happens next. When writers tap into the evolutionary purpose of story and electrify our curiosity, it triggers a delicious dopamine rush that tells us to pay attention. Without it, even the most perfect prose won’t hold anyone’s interest.
Backed by recent breakthroughs in neuroscience as well as examples from novels, screenplays, and short stories, Wired for Story offers a revolutionary look at story as the brain experiences it. Each chapter zeroes in on an aspect of the brain, its corresponding revelation about story, and the way to apply it to your storytelling right now.
Billed as The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence, I have to say it delivers on that promise. Wired for Story presents a scientific argument for why we love a good story, and what makes a story good. Lisa Cron includes the science behind her arguments and examples that demonstrate her point. This isn’t so much a “how to” book so much as a “why” book and understanding why is the first step in figuring out how to.
Just some of the topics she covers are hooking the reader, getting to the heart of your characters’ feelings, and why our brain requires everything to connect. In other words, anything that doesn’t move the plot forward, contribute to characterization, or world building as it directly relates to plot or character, doesn’t belong in the story. That’s something all writers know, but Lisa Cron shows us why, scientifically, anything that doesn’t will quickly kill your story.
Wired for Story is a great book for understanding the evolution of story, and why our brains are wired to read or hear a story in a particular way. It helps us understand why books are formulaic and why some that break the mold work, and others don’t. This is almost the first book any aspiring author should read, before reading about technique.