Wired for Story - Summary and Key Ideas

Wired for Story dissects the way our brain processes stories, illustrating how writers can harness this knowledge to captivate readers. Taking cues from neuroscience, the book presents a blueprint hardwired in the reader's brain, revealing what they want in every story, thereby guaranteeing a writer's work will stay on track.

Suitable for ambitious writers across all genres, striving to understand the science behind engaging readers. Whether you’re drafting a novel, writing a screenplay or involved in creative writing, this book delivers insights that will enhance your storytelling.

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Wired for Story

Key ideas


Effective storytelling is a craft that intertwines human neurobiology with passion and structure.

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Our brains use storytelling as a survival tool, enabling rehearsal for future scenarios.

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Understanding and defining a story's point makes it powerful and persuasive.

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Emotions are crucial in decision-making and in making stories impactful.

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Defining the protagonist's internal and external goals is key.

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Understanding a character's underlying misbeliefs can powerfully drive narrative transformation.

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Revelatory specifics in stories translate abstract concepts into relatable experiences.

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The paradox of fear and desire is vital to effective storytelling.

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Assumptions guide our perceptions and storytelling illuminates our human experience.

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Stories allow us to learn from fictional characters' mistakes, enhancing our real-world judgment.

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Patterns guide our understanding and heighten reader engagement in stories.

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Memory and vicarious learning shape our present decisions and future possibilities.

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Summary & Review

"Wired for Story" by Lisa Cron is a comprehensive guide illustrating how writers can use insights from brain science to engage readers right from the beginning. Cron explains how our brains are hardwired to respond to a story, an evolutionary instinct that we have developed to anticipate potential threats and opportunities in our lives. By understanding how the brain uses a narrative to make sense of the world, writers can intrigue their readers with a good story. The book provides clear guidelines and detailed examples of how to apply this understanding to craft engaging stories.

Lisa Cron

With a decade of experience in publishing, Lisa Cron has transitioned into television production and story consulting for numerous esteemed institutes. Over the years, she worked in collaboration with writers, producers, and agents on various book and movie projects. Additionally, Lisa is an instructor at the UCLA Extension Writer's Program. She holds a graduate degree from UC Berkeley.

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