Story and the Brain

Wired for StoryI’ve been reading a fascinating book called Wired for Story by Lisa Cron. The book discusses the way the brain responds to story. While Ms. Cron approaches her work from an evolutionary standpoint, her research can easily be approached from a Biblical worldview.

Bottomline, God wired us for story. The whole of human history is a story–His Story–as we believers recognize. Moreover, God created the human heart to respond to story. Hence, the powerful parables of Jesus.

Given these truths, how can we write our stories in such a way that they align with the way God created our brains to function?  Here are a few key points that Ms. Cron calls “cognitive secrets” to keep in mind as we write our stories:

  • The brain thinks in stories. Therefore, when we write, we must hook our reader from the very first word because the reader wants to know what will happen next.
  • The brain is goal-oriented. Therefore, the protagonist we create must have a clear goal.
  • The brain thinks in specifics. Therefore, we must use details, not abstracts, in creating our story.
  • The brain resists change. Yet, story is about change. And change produces conflict.
  • The brain continually makes cause-and-effect relationships. Therefore, our stories must follow a logical pattern of cause and effect. 

As you write your next story, keep these points in mind. Your story will be more powerful and effective because it will be aligned with the way God made the human brain to work.
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Source Cited: Wired for Story by Lisa Cron. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2012). Print. 262 pages.

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One thought on “Story and the Brain

  1. This is such a great topic, MaryAnn, and I think you make some very valid points. Since I believe God is always present, it may be up to us to exert our faith and trust.