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"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
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: The Writer's Guide to Using Brian Science to Hook Readers From the Very First Sentence reveals how writers can utilize cognitive storytelling strategies to craft stories that ignite readers’ brains and captivate them through each plot element. Strategies that will be 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 as they strive for beautiful metaphors, authentic dialogue, and interesting characters. Writers tend to 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: The Writer's Guide to Using Brian Science to Hook Readers From the Very First Sentence 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.
Whether you're a writer, a teacher, a non-profiteer, an entrepreneur, or a CEO, with Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brian Science to Hook Readers From the Very First Sentence, you'll learn:
How – and why – story and the brain developed in tandem.
Why we use story, and not facts, to make sense of the world.
What it is that gives story it’s unparalleled power.
What the brain craves in every story it hears.
How to create stories that hook readers from the very first sentence.
How to create stories capable of moving people to action.
Story is the living, breathing cornerstone of evolution. Wired for Story will help you understand that Story isn’t “a” way we make sense of the world. It’s THE way.
Lisa Cron is a story coach and the author of Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers From the Very First Sentence and Story Genius: How To Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages that Go Nowhere). And, her video tutorial Writing Fundamentals: The Craft of Story can be found at Lynda.com.
Lisa has worked in publishing at W.W. Norton, as an agent at the Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency, as a producer on shows for Showtime and CourtTV, and as a story consultant for Warner Brothers and the William Morris Agency.
Since 2006, she's been an instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program and is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts MFA program in visual narrative in New York City.
Lisa works with writers, nonprofits, educators and organizations, helping them master the unparalleled power of story, so they can move people to action – whether that action is turning the pages of a compelling novel, trying a new product, or taking to the streets to change the world for the better.
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Instructive and essential, reading Storycraft is like finding the secret set of blueprints to the writer’s craft. Better still, it is engaging, funny, and wise—wonderful to read and wonderful to learn from.”
- Susan Orlean, author of The Orchid Thief
“When I think back on what I have learned about storytelling over the last 30 years, the trail of memory leads back time and again to Jack Hart. No one has done more to inspire better narrative writing in America.”
- Roy Peter Clark, author of Writing Tools and The Glamour of Grammar
"Jack Hart was hands-down the best narrative editor ever to work in newspapers.”
- Jon Franklin, author of Writing for Story and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner
Across the entire media landscape from newspapers and magazines, books and documentary film, to radio, television, and new digital forms narrative nonfiction has always been a part of literature. But what creates a compelling true story? Author Jack Hart once said It captures reality with the sophisticated storytelling techniques of fiction while adding the power that comes when, as Tom Wolfe once put it, readers know “..all this actually happened.”
From the work of the New Journalists in the 1960s, to the New Yorker essays of John McPhee, Susan Orlean, Atul Gawande, and a host of others, to blockbuster book-length narratives such as Mary Roach’s Stiff or Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City, narrative nonfiction has come into its own. Yet writers looking for guidance on reporting and writing true stories have had few places to turn for advice.
Now, in Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction, Jack Hart, a former managing editor of the Oregonian who guided several Pulitzer Prize–winning narratives to publication, delivers what will certainly become the definitive guide to the methods and mechanics of crafting narrative nonfiction.
From there, he expands the discussion to other well-known writers to show the broad range of texts, styles, genres, and media to which his advice applies. With examples that draw from magazine essays, book-length nonfiction narratives, documentaries, and radio programs, Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Nonfiction will be an indispensable resource for years to come and give you what you need to access the inner-narrative non-fiction writer in you!
Jack Hart is a former managing editor and writing coach at the Oregonian. He received the first National Teaching Award from the American Society of Newspaper Editors and a University of Wisconsin Distinguished Service Award for his contributions to journalism, has taught on the faculties of six universities, and was named the Ruhl Distinguished Professor at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. He is the author of A Writer’s Coach
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