Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We are "Hardwired" for Stories

They say that when you're ready, a teacher will come.  I love how events come together sometimes in my research.

I've been trying to learn how to get more emotion into my writing. I've been watching lots of Hallmark Christmas movies and taking notes, through the tears. :-) I've been reading samples from hundreds of books all over the spectrum of genres--romances, science fiction, suspense, thrillers--you name it.

I've had the book Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron, on my shelf for months now.  I finally picked it up, started reading, and immediately learned why some of my stories feel flat and emotionless.  Not only is this a book for writers on how to hook readers, but it also explains the hard brain science and chemistry behind WHY people get hooked into a story, and what makes for one of those "un-put-downable" books.  It also explains why some of those "not very good" books are so wildly popular with readers.  Fascinating stuff!

The author also has a website with links to other articles discussing this idea:

Then, this morning, out of the blue I got an e-mail from the Greater Good Science Center (at Berkeley) with a link to an article by Paul J. Zak, "How Stories Change the Brain."  It's all about how stories shape our brains physically and make us more empathic and generous. And it also explains WHY we love stories so much.

The good stories, the ones that engage the reader's emotions, are those that show us something about human nature. 

It's all fascinating stuff, and I'd urge any author to take a look at the book, and read the articles. I'm certainly going to try to use this knowledge in my writing.

Happy trails,

bobbi c.

The "Nameless, Texas" short story series
All available on for the Kindle