Story Secret: A protagonist without a clear goal has nothing to figure out and nowhere to go” (p 65)
“Story Secret: There’s no writing; there’s only rewriting” (p 219).Also remarkable are sentences in bold that challenge advice offered in some writing-craft workshops and books. Examples follow.”Myth: Write What You Know.
“Reality: Write What You Know EMOTIONALLY” (p 62).”Myth: Sensory Details Bring a Story to Life.”
“Reality: Unless They Convey Necessary Information, Sensory Details Clog a Story’s Arteries” (p 118).
“Myth: `Show, Don’t Tell’ Is Literal – Don’t Tell Me John Is Sad, Show Him Crying.
“Reality: `Show, Don’t Tell Is Figurative – Don’t Tell Me John Is Sad, Show Me WHY He’s Sad” (p 152).
Has the author introduced a Myth of her own? I am afraid so. On page 67, “No matter whose point of view you’re writing in, you may be in only one head per scene.” In my opinion, Reality is: No matter whose point of view you’re writing in, you may be in only one head per PARAGRAPH. This is the new reality — virtually all fiction-readers’ perception has been reshaped by watching films and TV dramas.
At the end of each chapter, Cron presents a concise series of checkpoints to remind the writer while the develop their work-in-progress. Throughout, she includes many examples from literary works and films. Literary works like Gabriel Marquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera,” Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone with the Wind,” and Caroline Leavitt’s “Girls in Trouble.” Films like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “Vertigo,” and “American Graffiti.”
WIRED FOR STORY fully earns its title with its numerous citations of recent contributions of neuroscience that validate narrative craft. A cynical review might criticize such citations as mere padding. I find citations from the works of eminent brain-scientists as enhancing the nexus between art and science. Examples of cited works included are: Michael Gazzaniga’s “Human: The Science Behind What Makes Your Brain Unique,” V. S. Ramachandran’s “The Tell-Tale Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Quest for What Makes Us Human,” and Steven Pinker’s “How the Mind Works.”
An inspiring citation for writers: ” `Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience reveal that our brain is hardwired to respond to story…. It turns that a powerful story can have a hand in rewiring the reader’s brain — helping empathy, for instance – `which is why writers are, and always have been , among the most powerful people in the world’. ” (On p 239 of Endnotes is the specific citation of three scientists’ 2009 article “On Being Moved by Art: How Reading Fiction Transforms the Self” in the Creativity Research Journal vol. 21, no.1 )
A five-star primer.