We all strive to write stories that keep our readers turning pages. But it takes more than “having a good idea and a way with words” to lure our readers into our fictional worlds and convince them to stay there until they hit those final two words: “The End.” It requires the ability to craft a story that keeps our readers guessing, to make them always want to know what happens next. Wouldn’t it be nice to get inside their brains to find out exactly how to continually pique their curiosity?
Well, in a way, you can. In Wired for Story, Lisa Cron argues that we’ve all got hardwired
expectations for what hooks us into a story; our brains unconsciously respond to certain events within a narrative that keep us enthralled. Using “cognitive secrets” about how the brain works, Cron draws a link between neuroscience and storytelling. When we understand what our brain wants out of a story, she says, we can craft them in a way that makes them more engaging, compelling, and “unputdownable.”
My favorite line from the book is, “Novels that are hard to read aren’t read.” But, as Wired for Story points out, “easy reads” aren’t so easy to write. There are a lot of moving parts to bring together. In her book, Cron touches on a number of these topics – theme, goals, motivation, conflict – and explains how our cognitive unconscious responds to these elements within a narrative. By evaluating our instinctive expectations, we can gain insight into how to make our readers respond on a visceral, emotional level.
On Saturday, September 19th, Lisa Cron will be talking about some of the highlights of her book at the RWA San Diego monthly meeting. Attendees who participate in Write for the Money goal-setting will also have a chance to win one of two copies of Wired for Story.
This month’s meeting is one you won’t want to miss. Sign up today!