How Wired for Story by Lisa Cron Makes Your Story Irresistible

Extensive Reading Doesn’t Generate Great Writing

Wired for Story

What a blow, but get over it. Lisa Cron has some answers that will help. Warning: writing a great book is still hard work.

Twelve chapters took me ages to read because I had to change the first chapter of the book I am writing twelve times. Not surprisingly, changing the first chapter changed everything else that follows. However, the book improved each time. It’s still not ready, sorry to say. Writing fiction is harder than any writing I’ve ever done. I don’t take it personally, though. It seems that as a teacher I’ve been teaching it all wrong, and maybe you are too. (Sorry!)

Twelve Chapters

  1. How to Hook the Reader (from the first sentence)
  2. How to Zero In on Your Point (otherwise you lose them)
  3. I’ll Feel What He’s Feeling (“Emotion determines the meaning of everything.”)
  4. What Does Your Protagonist Really Want (This is key.)
  5. Digging Up Your Protagonist’s Inner Issue (When did her world fall out of alignment?)
  6. The Story Is in the Specifics (And it must pertain to the protagonist.)
  7. Courting Conflict the Agent of Change (We all hate change, and yet change is essential hence conflict, the stuff that makes stories great.)
  8. Cause and Effect (If something happens in the story, there better be an effect in the story somewhere.)
  9. What Can Go Wrong, Must Go Wrong and Then Some (Don’t you hate to hurt your protagonist? If you don’t you’ll bore your reader.)
  10. The Road from Setup to Payoff (There’s always a pattern to what happens, Readers want to try to predict the ending.)
  11. Meanwhile Back at the Ranch (Every story has a backstory that makes the character’s actions make sense.)
  12. The Writer’ Brain on Story (“There’s no writing, only rewriting.)

Why Stories are Essential to Survival So Keep Writing

Lisa asserts that stories are more important to our survival than opposable thumbs. because they teach us what to hang on to. “Story is what makes us human.” Nature seduces us to pay attention to important information that is presented as a story told well. We crave stories in the same way we crave food. We will put aside all the busy tasks in our lives to read a good story. (All night, if it’s really good, and still get up the next morning and get back to work.)

Why It’s Easy to Read and Hard to Write

The catch is “for a story to captivate a reader, it must continually meet his or her hardwired expectations. That is the essence of the book. “The ease with which we surrender to the stories we read tend to cloud our understanding of stories we write… We won’t put up with a bad story for three seconds.: So here’s what happens when we read. “The first job of any good story is to completely anesthetize the part of our brain that questions how it is creating such a compelling illusion of reality.”

So if you want to learn the mechanics of making a good story great, I recommend that you read this book.

Wired for Story

Related Posts

https://tchistorygal.net/2018/04/12/review-story-genius-lisa-cron-struggling-writers/

Don’t Miss These Movies If You Love Biographies

Two outstanding films, Breathe and Hidden Figures

These two movies inspired me this past week to dig deeper and find the “so what” factor as I write my fiction book. All inspiring books, whether fiction or non-fiction, as these are, connect us to the story that matters.

BreathePoster2.jpg

Breathe, produced in 2017, documents the love story between Robin and Diana Cavendish. Robin had everything going his way until he was struck with polio at age 28 that paralyzed him from the neck down. The doctors generously gave him three months to live. Armed with nothing more than a wife who loved him, he beat those odds, and revolutionized the treatment of paralyzed patients and traveled the world in a chair with his respirator attached. Jonathan Cavendish, the couple’s son, a film producer captured the drama, adventure, and romance that his parents created around them as they celebrated their lives together.

Three women standing in the foreground. In the background a rocket is launching.

Hidden Figures, an award-winning 2016 movie, much like the film, Help, takes the viewer behind the scenes during the Civil Rights era. Three black women effectively contributed to John Glenn’s famous orbit of the earth. Each of the three women in the film portrayed brilliance, both recognized and unrecognized at the same time. All three characters illustrated how difficult it was to work at an equal level to men and to whites in those days. Their strength of character, patience, and brilliant performance in their jobs eventually won them the respect they deserved. The Inquisition by her white, male supervisor in front of an all-male staff of what mathematician, Katherine Goble did in the bathroom for forty minutes epitomized the tough conditions the women endured. Her answer was priceless and changed the way NASA treated its workers.

What movies and books inspired you this week?

Biltmore House a 175,00 Square Foot Home

Imagine living in a house with 65 fireplaces.

One of the largest mansions in California, Hearst Castle at 70,000 square feet, is a pittance of the size of the Biltmore House in Ashville, NC.

Biltmore frontVince and I are grateful to our fun Diamond Resorts hostess, Chastity, for the opportunity to see this magnificent home which is still owned by the descendants of George Vanderbilt.

Neither of us had seen snow for a while, so getting up in Gatlinburg, TN to heavy flurries excited us until the cold wind hit.

Gatlinburg

It didn’t bother any of the stylishly dressed mannequins inside the Biltmore Estate. Scattered among the antiques which are original to the home, each room on the main floors is “hosted” by models wearing clothing from the movie, “Titanic.”

Biltmore

As part of our special Diamond Resorts Events package, we also got to go behind the scenes at the Estate. All of us on the tour opted to stay off the roof, which was the tour our hosts had planned for us. Our guide, Ruth Ann, gave us a choice and showed us behind the scenes in the guest bedrooms, storage rooms and staff quarters instead.

BiltmoreIf you are wondering, the cylindrical item on the table is a vacuum cleaner.

In the George Vanderbilt’s era, the women’s guest rooms did not have access to a sink in the bathroom. Would you like to know why?

Of course, you would.

Women didn’t turn on their own water. It was work, so female guests had attendants do it for them. Mr. Vanderbilt wanted his female guests to be pampered and have the water brought to their rooms. Male guests had sinks in their bathrooms.

The guest bathrooms did have toilets and large tubs. Some women of that era did not think it was good manners to have a toilet inside the house. Those guests received a chamber pot instead.  We saw where all they stored all the old pots. 🙂

Since the family still owns this home, all the furniture has stayed with the house, and believe it or not, there’s not enough room to display it all. So some of it is kept in the fourth-floor bedrooms. One of the rooms was also used to film  the movie “Private Eyes” starring Don Knotts and Tim Conway.

BiltmoreWe spent time at the grand staircase talking about the chandelier, which is 50 feet tall and weighs 1,700 pounds. One bolt keeps it from tumbling down on your head.  If you zoom in on this picture you can see that the bolt is not on exactly straight on center.

Biltmore

The reason for that is because the Biltmore is on a fault line. In case of an earthquake or another disaster, the chandelier is able to move around on that attachment.

BiltmoreEventually, it will scrape off all the paint up there, so if it looks like you have dandruff when you walk underneath the chandelier, it is probably just flecks of paint. By the way, all the lights are still replaced the same way they did them in 1895. Brave workers use a whatchamacallit to drop the lights in place. They don’t screw into a socket.

Biltmore

Check out the library on the main floor, with 23,000 volumes all handpicked by Mr. Vanderbilt. Private eye, Don Knotts, discovered a few of the books missing when he got to tour the home. Sure enough, the family found those missing books at auctions and repurchased them.

Biltmore

This is Marsha Ingrao reporting as accurately as my brain remembers the fascinating trivia I learned at the Biltmore Estate. I hope that you enjoyed your brief tour.

For more walks check out:

 

readilearn: Writing in the lower primary classroom – a guest post

My Blogging friend, Norah Colvin invited me to write a guest post for her two education blogs.  What a thrill. Thanks, Norah. via readilearn: Writing in the lower primary classroom – a guest post by Marsha Ingrao – Readilearn

readilearn: Writing in the lower primary classroom – a guest post by Marsha Ingrao – Readilearn

My Blogging friend, Norah Colvin invited me to write a guest post for her two education blogs.  What a thrill. Thanks, Norah. via readilearn: Writing in the lower primary classroom – a guest post by Marsha Ingrao – Readilearn