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.
“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 and director of the SAGE Center for the Study of Mind, University of California, Santa Barbara
“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 best seller Pictures of You
“Wired for Story reveals that stories are not only a metaphor for human striving and survival, but they are also the means by which the brain ensures that we survive. Lisa Cron translates the latest neuroscience into a master guidebook for how to write engaging, meaningful, and moving stories.”
—Elizabeth Lyon, author of Manuscript Makeover
“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.
“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 at Baylor College of Medicine and author of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
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LISA CRON spent a decade in publishing—first at W.W. Norton then at John Muir Publications—before turning to television, where she’s been supervising producer on shows for Showtime and Court TV. She’s been a story consultant for Warner Brothers, the William Morris Agency, Village Roadshow, and Icon; an agent at the Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency; and is featured in Ask the Pros: Screenwriting. Lisa is an instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program.