Responsive Menu
Add more content here...

Wired for Story: An In-depth Interview with Lisa Cron, Master Storyteller and Narrative Expert

I am excited to have the opportunity to interview Lisa Cron, a renowned author and storytelling expert. Lisa has a unique perspective on the power of storytelling and how it can transform not only our lives but also our ability to communicate effectively. Through her critically acclaimed books, “Wired for Story” and “Story Genius,” Lisa has helped countless writers, marketers, and business professionals master the art of storytelling. Today, we will delve deep into her insights, techniques, and the fascinating world of narrative in order to unlock the secrets behind compelling storytelling. Join me as we uncover the magic behind Lisa Cron’s storytelling philosophy and learn how we can all become better storytellers in our personal and professional lives.

Lisa Cron is a renowned author, writing instructor, and story consultant who has made a significant impact in the world of storytelling. With her expertise and unmatched understanding of human nature, Lisa has helped countless writers and aspiring authors to craft powerful, engaging narratives that resonate with readers. Her unique approach focuses on the neuroscience behind storytelling, revealing how our brains are wired to crave certain elements in a story. Through her teachings, Lisa offers invaluable insights and practical techniques that empower writers to create compelling and memorable stories that capture the hearts and minds of their audience. From her bestselling book, “Wired for Story,” to her popular workshops and speaking engagements, Lisa Cron continues to revolutionize the way writers approach storytelling, making her an indispensable resource for anyone looking to master the art of storytelling.

12 Thought-Provoking Questions with Lisa Cron

1. Can you provide ten Wired for Story by Lisa Cron quotes to our readers?

1. “Novels are about the emotional truths that underpin every story, regardless of genre or tone.”

2. “Is it possible to write a compelling story simply by paying attention to how the brain works? Absolutely.”

3. “Every story is a story of want, and what-will-happen-next is entirely dependent on the protagonist’s relentless pursuit of that want.”

4. “The reader’s mind is always asking the question: Why should I care? The answer? The moment something happens to a character that sparks their want.”

5. Details that do not play a part in a story’s thematic spine, character development, or plot progression detract from a reader’s experience.

6. “A story isn’t about an event; it’s about how that event affects your protagonist.”

7. “Conflict is what pulls the reader through the story, and it all comes down to making the protagonist’s journey as difficult as possible.”

8. “A story’s purpose is to provide the reader with a roadmap for navigating life’s uncertainty and forge emotional connections.”

9. “The goal of your story isn’t to answer all the questions, but to have your reader asking the questions that truly matter.”

10. “Stories are remarkable for their ability to transport us to a world where anything can happen, and in doing so, they reveal the profound truths of human experience.”

2.What inspired you to write “Wired for Story”? Can you share the background or motivation behind the book?

I was inspired to write “Wired for Story” because of my fascination with the power of storytelling. As a story consultant and writer, I have always been intrigued by the profound impact that stories have on our lives.

The motivation for the book came from recognizing a gap in the understanding of storytelling principles. While many books focus on the craft of writing or the structure of a story, there was a lack of exploration into the underlying neuroscience and psychology behind why stories are so vital to us as human beings.

I embarked on a journey to uncover the science behind storytelling, delving into research in fields such as neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and anthropology. The more I uncovered, the clearer it became that our brains are literally wired for story. It is an innate and necessary part of our evolution, helping us make sense of the world, navigate challenges, and deepen our understanding of ourselves and others.

My aim with “Wired for Story” was to bridge the gap between the science and the art of storytelling. By exploring the cognitive and emotional processes that drive our engagement with stories, I wanted to provide writers and storytellers with a deeper understanding of how to craft narratives that truly resonate with audiences.

In essence, “Wired for Story” is a culmination of my passion for storytelling, combined with the scientific understanding of why it is so powerful. I hope it serves as a valuable resource for anyone seeking to harness the full potential of storytelling in their own work.

3.In your book, you delve into the neuroscience behind storytelling. Can you explain how our brains are wired to respond to stories and why storytelling is such a powerful tool?

Our brains are wired to respond to stories because they tap into our evolutionary history and how we make sense of the world. Storytelling is a powerful tool because it engages our brains on multiple levels.

Firstly, stories activate the brain’s language processing areas, allowing us to follow the narrative. This stimulates the production of neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin, which enhance feelings of pleasure and empathy.

Secondly, stories immerse us in vivid sensory details, activating the brain’s sensory cortex. This creates a mental simulation, allowing us to experience the story as if it were real, activating the same brain regions that would light up if we were actually living the events.

Additionally, stories help us make sense of the world by connecting events in a cause-and-effect sequence. They provide a framework for understanding and interpreting information, helping us learn from others’ experiences, anticipate future scenarios, and make better decisions.

In essence, storytelling is a powerful tool because it appeals to our innate cognitive processes and emotional responses, allowing us to connect, learn, and make meaning in ways that other forms of communication simply cannot achieve.

4.Can you discuss the key elements or principles of effective storytelling that you highlight in your book? How do these elements tap into our innate cognitive processes?

In my book, I discuss several key elements of effective storytelling that are grounded in our innate cognitive processes. First and foremost, one of the central principles I emphasize is the importance of engaging readers through a character’s journey. To tap into our cognitive processes, stories must focus on a protagonist who faces compelling challenges and undergoes a transformation. This allows readers to vicariously experience the emotional and psychological highs and lows, connecting them deeply to the narrative.

Additionally, I highlight the significance of creating a clear and consistent story structure. Our cognitive processes naturally seek patterns and anticipate what comes next. By adhering to a strong story structure, such as the three-act structure, storytellers can meet these expectations and satisfy readers’ unconscious desire for coherence and closure.

Moreover, delving into characters’ desires, motivations, and conflicts is crucial. Our brains are wired to understand the world through the lens of cause and effect. By highlighting characters’ compelling goals and the obstacles they face, we stimulate readers’ cognitive processes, keeping them engaged and invested in the story.

Overall, effective storytelling leverages our cognitive processes by immersing readers in a character-driven journey, adhering to a coherent story structure, and engaging their understanding of cause and effect. These elements provide the foundation for a compelling narrative that resonates with readers on a deep, instinctual level.

5.How does understanding the brain’s response to storytelling help writers create more engaging and impactful narratives? Can you provide examples or case studies from your book that illustrate this?

Understanding the brain’s response to storytelling is essential for writers to create engaging and impactful narratives because it allows them to tap into the core evolutionary function of stories: survival. The brain craves stories that offer useful information about the world and how to navigate it. By understanding this craving, writers can craft narratives that appeal to readers on a deep emotional level.

In my book “Wired for Story,” I explain how the brain’s response to storytelling is rooted in its prediction system. When readers engage with a narrative, their brains continually generate expectations about what will happen next. This prediction system keeps them hooked, eagerly turning the pages to see if their expectations are realized.

One case study from my book is the novel “Gone Girl” by Gillian Flynn. By skillfully playing with reader expectations and manipulating key information, Flynn creates a suspenseful and unpredictable story that captivates readers. She taps into the brain’s response to uncertainty and surprise, making her narrative all the more engaging.

Understanding the brain’s response to storytelling allows writers to create narratives that capitalize on the brain’s natural inclination to seek out information and make sense of the world. By crafting stories that align with the brain’s prediction system, writers can create narratives that are emotionally impactful and hard to put down.

6.In “Wired for Story,” you emphasize the importance of creating compelling characters. Can you discuss the role of character development in storytelling and how it affects reader engagement?

In “Wired for Story,” I emphasize the importance of creating compelling characters because they are the heart and soul of a story. Character development plays a crucial role in storytelling as it directly impacts reader engagement. When readers can connect with and care about a character, they become emotionally invested in the story. This emotional engagement keeps readers turning the pages, eagerly wanting to know what happens next.

Strong character development allows readers to relate to the character’s struggles, desires, and growth. By crafting complex and authentic characters, writers can evoke empathy and create emotional resonance. Readers become invested in the character’s journey, cheering for their successes and sharing in their failures. These connections evoke powerful emotions and make the story more memorable and impactful.

Character development also drives the plot. A well-developed character faces internal and external conflicts, which create tension and drive the narrative forward. Readers become engrossed in the character’s struggles, hoping for their transformation and resolution of the conflicts they face.

Ultimately, character development is the key to creating a story that resonates with readers. By understanding the role of character development, writers can fully engage readers and deliver a compelling and satisfying storytelling experience.

7.Can you explain the concept of the “story question” and its significance in driving the narrative forward? How can writers effectively use story questions to keep readers hooked?

The concept of the “story question” is at the core of bringing a narrative to life. It represents the crucial dilemma that propels the plot forward and keeps readers engaged. Story questions embody the protagonist’s central desire or goal, and their relentless pursuit of it drives the narrative. The question must be meaningful and hold consequences for the character, serving as the backbone of the story.

By effectively using story questions, writers can keep readers hooked and immersed in the narrative. Firstly, writers need to establish a clear and compelling story question early on, creating a sense of urgency and desire for resolution. This question should continually evolve, raising new conflicts and obstacles that the protagonist must face. As the story progresses, unanswered story questions build tension and anticipation, urging readers to turn the pages and seek resolution.

To keep readers hooked, writers can strategically delay answers to story questions, providing just enough information to keep them engaged without unveiling all the details. Balancing action and information unspooled gradually throughout the narrative is key. By utilizing suspense and crafting a strong emotional connection between readers and the protagonist, writers can effectively keep readers hooked, eagerly reading to discover the outcome of the story question.

8.How does the understanding of the brain’s need for tension and conflict inform the structure and pacing of a story? Can you provide tips or strategies for writers to create and maintain tension throughout their narratives?

Understanding the brain’s need for tension and conflict is crucial for crafting a compelling story structure and pacing. Our brains are wired to seek out and engage with tension, as it generates curiosity and keeps us invested in the narrative. To create and maintain tension throughout a story, writers can employ several strategies.

First, establish clear goals and desires for your characters that conflict with each other or face obstacles. Conflicting goals create inherent tension and keep the story moving forward. Moreover, ensure that the stakes are high and the consequences significant, as this intensifies the tension.

Second, employ the “yes, but” or “no, and furthermore” approach when resolving conflicts. This means that when a character makes progress towards their goal, introduce another obstacle or twist that adds more tension. Avoid easily resolving conflicts, as it deflates the tension and fails to engage the reader.

Lastly, carefully pace the revelations of information and escalate the tension over time. Gradually unveil crucial details and heighten the stakes, constantly raising questions to maintain curiosity and suspense.

By understanding the brain’s need for tension and implementing these strategies, writers can captivate readers and ensure a gripping narrative structure and pacing.

9.Can you discuss the role of emotion in storytelling and how it influences reader engagement and connection with the characters and plot?

The role of emotion in storytelling is absolutely crucial. Emotion is what draws readers into a story and creates a deep connection with the characters and plot. It is the engine that drives reader engagement.

Emotions allow readers to relate to the characters on a deeper level. When readers feel the characters’ joy, pain, fear, or love, they become invested in their journey. Emotion triggers empathy, making readers care about what happens to the characters, and therefore, the outcome of the plot.

Furthermore, emotion generates tension and conflict, which are essential elements in storytelling. Emotionally charged scenes create a sense of urgency, propelling the plot forward and keeping readers hooked.

To effectively utilize emotion, writers must evoke feelings through vivid and authentic descriptions, internal thoughts, and actions. By showing how characters experience and react emotionally, a powerful connection with readers is established.

Emotion is the bridge that allows readers to fully immerse themselves in the story world and connect with the characters and their struggles. It is the key to creating an unforgettable and impactful narrative.

10.In your book, you also explore the concept of “story as problem-solving.” Can you elaborate on this idea and how it relates to the reader’s experience and satisfaction?

In my book, I explore the concept of “story as problem-solving” to highlight the fundamental purpose of storytelling and its inherent connection to human nature. Every story revolves around a central problem or conflict that needs to be resolved. This problem-solving aspect is crucial because it mirrors our innate desire to make sense of the world and find solutions to the challenges we face.

As readers, we become deeply engaged in a story when we connect with the protagonist’s struggle and invest our emotions in their journey towards solving the problem. By following their actions and decisions, we are compelled to actively participate in the problem-solving process. This participation triggers our innate cognitive processes, encouraging us to analyze, reason, and strategize alongside the characters.

The satisfaction derived from this experience stems from two main factors. Firstly, it taps into our primal need for resolution and closure, giving us a sense of relief and fulfillment when the central problem is solved. Secondly, it allows us to mentally explore different possibilities, test potential solutions, and learn from the characters’ successes and failures. This not only engages us on an intellectual level but also provides a safe space to experiment and gain insights that might be applicable to our own lives.

Ultimately, the concept of “story as problem-solving” enhances the reader’s experience by creating a dynamic and interactive narrative that resonates deeply with our core human drive for understanding, growth, and resolution.

11.What are some practical exercises or techniques that writers can use to apply the principles and insights from “Wired for Story” to their own storytelling?

1. Story Analysis: Dissect stories, both written and on-screen, to identify their core elements, such as the protagonist’s goal, conflicts, and emotional arcs. Analyze how these elements contribute to the overall story’s impact.

2. Character Building: Create detailed character profiles by focusing on their fears, desires, and past experiences. Map out their emotional journey throughout your story by exploring how their internal struggles connect with external conflicts.

3. Emotional Crafting: Practice blending emotional experiences into your storytelling. Connect your characters’ emotions with the reader’s own psychological needs, using scene-building exercises that evoke specific emotions such as fear, joy, or empathy.

4. “What If” Exploration: Experiment with different “what if” scenarios to challenge your characters and story. Ask yourself, “What if your protagonist’s core belief is shattered?” or “What if the antagonist’s motives are not what they seem?” Explore how these possibilities can add depth and tension to your narrative.

5. Scene Redefinition: Take a pivotal scene from your story and rewrite it from another character’s perspective or set it in a different environment. This exercise helps you explore alternative angles, giving you a fresh perspective on your story’s development.

12. Can you recommend more books like Wired for Story?

1. Telling True Stories” by Mark Kramer and Wendy Call

In this comprehensive guide, Mark Kramer presents a collection of essays that delve into the art of narrative nonfiction. The book offers practical advice on conducting thorough research, crafting powerful characters, and constructing compelling narratives. Whether you aspire to write memoirs, essays, or investigative journalism, “Telling True Stories” is an invaluable resource that will inspire aspiring writers and help them refine their storytelling skills.

2. Techniques of the Selling Writer” by Dwight V. Swain

For those aspiring to write in the realm of commercial fiction, Dwight V. Swain’s “Techniques of the Selling Writer” is a must-read. This book provides practical and insightful tips on storytelling, character development, pacing, and much more. Swain’s expertise will guide you through the process of crafting engaging plots and creating vibrant and memorable characters. With its focus on the fundamentals of storytelling, this classic writing manual is an essential tool for any writer looking to captivate readers and publishers alike.

3. Storycraft” by Jack Hart

With “Storycraft,” Jack Hart unravels the art of narrative journalism. Building upon the concepts illuminated in “Wired for Story,” this book takes a deeper dive into the techniques, strategies, and insights that can transform everyday reporting into gripping storytelling. Hart’s guidance on narrative structure, scene-setting, and character development will equip you with the tools to weave compelling narratives that keep readers excited and engaged until the final page.

4. Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird” is a heartfelt and humorous guide for both aspiring and seasoned writers. This book offers practical advice, personal anecdotes, and heartfelt wisdom to help writers overcome procrastination, self-doubt, and other obstacles. Lamott’s unique blend of empathy and tough love will inspire you to continue writing, even when the odds seem stacked against you. “Bird by Bird” is a heartfelt reminder of the joys and challenges that come with being a writer.

5. “The Elements of Style” by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

“The Elements of Style” is a concise and indispensable guide that every writer should have on their bookshelf. This timeless classic provides clear and concise rules for effective writing, covering everything from grammar and punctuation to style and usage. Strunk and White’s advice is straightforward, practical, and indispensable for writers striving to improve their craft. Whether you’re an aspiring writer or an experienced wordsmith, “The Elements of Style” is an essential resource that will help polish your prose and make your writing shine.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top