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Learn the key ideas of the book by Will Storr

The Science of Storytelling

How to write stories that capture the human mind

What are the elements of narration that keep the reader gripped to a story? How do we bring real and unforgettable characters to life? The bestseller, The Science of Storytelling, answers these questions with a refreshing approach: with the help of data and research from the fields of psychology and neuroscience, and thanks to the stimulation of a reaction process in our tribal brains, author Will Storr shows us how to take storytelling to the next level.

The Science of Storytelling
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Many useful tips to:

  • Write truly compelling stories using the mechanisms of the human mind.
  • Create live, multi-faceted characters that grab the reader’s attention from the very first page.
  • Understand the rules behind human behaviour and use them for effective storytelling.

The author of the book:

An acclaimed journalist and photographer, Will Storr contributes to publications such as The New Yorker, The New York Times and The Guardian, is a ghost writer and the author of the novel The Hunger and the Howling of Kilian Lone, as well as the Selfie and Heretics essays. His work has earned him prestigious awards including the National Press Club Award, the AFM award for Best Investigative Journalism and the Amnesty International Award. He holds storytelling workshops all over the world and from this experience has been able to create his own story-making method, based also on neuroscience and psychology, as revealed in his book, The Science of Storytelling.


To write compelling stories we need to divert attention away from structure to character

The classic approach to the creation of a story taught at storytelling and narration courses, traditionally puts emphasis on the structure. Having said that, I feel that there is another approach to capture our reader’s attention so that they really experience the story: an approach based on neuroscience and psychology, that creates effective and irresistible narratives, which stimulate the human mind, exploiting its very mechanisms. Mind scientists and storytelling scholars have in fact come to the same conclusion: after thousands of years of evolution, the human brain is the perfect listener and narrator.

The storytelling skills of the human mind are all aimed at one purpose: to maintain control over the world around us. To do this, we focus on what interests us most, because it can offer us valuable lessons and suggestions about people and their experiences.

In my view, to create truly compelling stories, what we need to do is to shift attention from the structures to the characters, who should be interesting, truthful and three-dimensional. To be able to create such characters, it is essential that we understand the mechanisms that regulate their actions, thoughts and relationships, and this can be done by referring to studies on behaviour and on the mind. Science can provide us with explanations for human conduct, helping us to understand it and make use of it, as though it were a set of rules. We can then put these rules into practice now and then, or even rewrite them.

The sacred flaw approach arises from this premise, the approach that I myself developed for the creation of narratives which capture the attention of the human mind, starting from its very mechanisms.


The key ideas of "The Science of Storytelling"

To write compelling stories we need to divert attention away from structure to character
The stories that we want to hear have both change and people in common
How to create a vivid world using the cerebral visualisation method
Every character has a sacred defect and a certain number of biases that make them unique and unpredictable
Psychological personalities are the main facets of interesting characters
The beginning of the story between change and anticipation
The pleasure of classic plots and the importance of eudaimonic happiness
The concepts of a happy or tragic ending based on the type of story
Take-home message

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