Story Genius

Lisa Cron

Story Genius



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Writing a novel begins long before the first page. Behind the scenes there is some very important preparation work to do, which enables you to create a story that flows, and is credible and captivating. If we want to become true experts in narrative writing, we need to spend some time exploring the mind and emotions of our hero; doing so will help us bring vital energy to the story and capture the attention of our reader. Stories are the natural language of the human brain and the book Story Genius helps us to understand this language, to study it and learn how to use it. 

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Analysis and key concepts


We are made to love stories and our brain uses them as a form of language


Stories are not ways to escape from reality, they are tools to teach us how to deal with life


The true story of a novel begins long before that which is told by the plot


The basic important question: what meaning do I want to give the story I will tell?


The protagonist is the portal through which the reader enters the world in the story


Stories are not set in geographical places, but in the main character’s mind


Narration begins with a protagonist who is thrown from his comfort zone without warning


We start at the beginning, but we need to know from the outset how the book will end, to make it easier to write the plot




Take-home message

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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand that we are all born to love stories.
  • Learn that before trying to come up with a plot we need to take care of the main character’s inner world.
  • Develop a project to create a novel that captures your reader from the first instant.

As well as being a writer, Lisa Cron is an expert narrator, and works with writers and organisations to teach the hidden power of stories. She has worked in the publishing world, for W.W. Norton publishers at the Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency. She has also been a producer for Showtime and court TV, and a consultant for Warner Brothers and the William Morris Agency. Cron has been teaching at the University of California in Los Angeles since 2006 and she works with the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Publishing house:

Ten Speed Press