My usual tactic when I’m trying to learn something new to is read a mountain of books about a topic, and then attempt it. I’m currently in the stage of “read a mountain of books” about writing, and was surprised at how much I enjoyed this one, and how much I learned.
Cron does a fabulous job of explaining the latest brain science research and how it relates to writing. Why are stories so captivating? What makes a book so compelling that a reader is completely unable to put it down?
I was concerned that the book would be formulaic, and over-the-top, emphasizing over-the-top action à la a Hollywood blockbuster. Instead Cron explains why some of those blockbusters work, and how writers can use that knowledge for their own stories. No explosions, alien invasions, or other special effects extravaganzas required.
You don’t need to be a screenwriter or novelist to learn from Cron’s book. Any sort of writing should be interesting and compelling enough to make the reader want to turn the pages and continue with the book.
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.
- 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love . It’s quick, packed with doable suggestions, and super motivating.
- The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life . Even if you’re not a memoir writer.
- On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft. Even if you don’t read Stephen King, his book is fantastic. Profane, but fantastic.
- A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story. More memoir than true writing book, it’ll still make you think.
- Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing. Lots of examples and tips, for just about any type of writing you’d do.
- Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True. Another memoir/writing manual mash-up.
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. If for no chapter other than her famous one on first drafts.
- No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days. Kick-in-the-pants motivation.
To see all the books featured in 31 Days of Great Nonfiction, go to the series page.
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