Learn the key ideas of the book by Lisa Cron

Wired for Story

A psychological approach to writing

Stories have always played an important role in the evolution of human beings, and continue to do so to this day: by sharing the experiences of others, we become wiser, and learn how and who to be in the world. Stories help us to imagine and experience situations that are out of the ordinary, and make the most of these experiences by using this knowledge to our benefit. Wired for Story explains how to structure a novel that will capture the reader's attention from start to finish, by incorporating techniques learned from recent discoveries made in the world of neuroscience. 

Wired for Story
Read in 15 min.
Listen in 19 min.

Stories help us to survive and evolve as human beings: our brain knows this, and is therefore drawn to them

Our brain has one fundamental goal: to ensure our survival. It is constantly seeking external input to help it ascertain if we are safe or not, and is always careful to decode any information it receives, to determine what is relevant and what is unimportant.

Stories are the language of experience, which makes them very important. Regardless of whether we experience them first-hand or not, they provide us with clues on how to survive and thrive in the world.

With the help of neuroscience, writers have been given the opportunity to better understand what people expect from stories and, consequently, make sure that their books are not only chosen from amongst the many others that line the shelves in the bookstores, but that they are then actually read, and enjoyed, until the very last page.

But with everything that we have on our plates as it is, why on earth should we care about other people's stories? Why does our brain waste time on narratives?

It's very simple: without stories, we would be done for. Stories help us to evolve and allow us to have indirect experiences, thus acquiring knowledge, just as if we had been through it firsthand. 

Not only do stories help us to survive in the physical world, but they also contribute to our lives both at a social level and within our community, because they offer us perspectives and insights into the consequences of our behaviours. We love them because they give us information on how to juggle the adventure that we call life, and they give us guidance about how best to manage ourselves.

But what is a story, exactly?

A story is the telling of how a person (the main character) changes when faced with difficult situations that prevent them from getting what they want. Every story speaks of a change, a journey, the most important of which is internal, that readers are able to embark upon alongside the protagonist.


The key ideas of "Wired for Story"

Stories help us to survive and evolve as human beings: our brain knows this, and is therefore drawn to them
There is no time to waste: you have to grab the reader's attention from the very first sentence
If you keep the story's focus on the main theme, you automatically eliminate anything that could distract and confuse the reader
Emotions give meaning to a story: a neutral protagonist doesn't work
You need to clearly state what the protagonist wants
The leitmotif of the narrative must be the main character’s internal challenges
While in real life we ​​shy away from change and conflict, when it comes to fiction, we revel in them, and are drawn to them
The reader is naturally predisposed to look for connections between events: make sure you make this possible
Your story must be like a road: it needs a starting point, a path to follow, and an end goal
Take-home message

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