Welcome to Creative Live. My name is Lisa Cron and this is "Story and The Brain: thirteen hard-wired expectations every reader has for every story". Usually when I'm talking about story, I'm talking about story from the writer's point of view. What a story really is, what you need to dig into in order to be able to create a story, and then, how to get that story on to the page so that it meets the reader's thirteen expectations. But in this course, we're gonna flip it and we're going to approach story through the reader's point of view. When we're readers, what are those thirteen expectations that have to grab us, in order to pull us all the way through to the end of the story? And, of course, as writers we're also readers so that's of interest to us as well. In fact, as writers, we tend to be veracious readers. We love to read. We love that sensation of being pulled into a story and then coming out the other side transformed. In fact, for a lot of us, that makes us- that is what makes...
us want to be writers because we want to write something that gives other people that experience. But, so the question is, how do we do that? What are those thirteen hard-wired expectations that our stories have to meet in order to transform the reader? And the keyword there is "hard-wired" because there're thirteen tacit expectations. They are not expectations that are front and center in our minds when we're reading. In fact, we're not even usually thinking about them at all because they're not anything anybody ever had to tell us about. They're preset expectations. They're already wired into our brains when we're born. We're wired for story. Story is built into the architecture of our brains. We think in story. We make sense of everything through story. So, these are like preset buttons that are already there when we slide off the assembly line into life. No one ever had to teach them to us. I mean, imagine if that was how it worked. Imagine if someone had to teach you how to love a story. It would be like you're about three years old, and your parents are going to come in, and they look very serious, and they say, "Today, my child, we are going to learn about the magic of story and what a story must do in order to captivate you and it's a very complicated process. We're going to poke and prod in a story. We're gonna talk about the layers of story. And, I hope you're taking notes because this is very complicated and at the end, you're gonna come out with a long list that you are going to carry upon your person from that point on and whenever you meet a story, you're going to pull that list out and poke and prod the story to be sure you can check all the boxes and then, and only then, will you know that you can trust this story to actually transform you". I mean, if it worked like that, we'd probably hate stories because that sounds a lot like work. The truth is, no one ever had to teach you how to love a story, the same way no one had to teach you how to love chocolate. They just gave you a piece, you put it in your mouth and and you went, "Ah, I got it". The problem is, for writers, that because as readers, those tacit expectations, are not front and center in our minds. Neither are they front and center in our minds when we're writing. And so, when we're writing, what we tend to substitute for those expectations are what we've been taught readers expect and a lot of those expectations are just plain wrong. So, the first thing that we are going to do in this course, is we're going to talk about something that writers- that readers are not hard-wired to expect. And once we've done that, then we're gonna talk about, "Well, wait a minute. If they are hard-wired to expect certain things and not hard-wired to expect other things, why are we wired for story at all?" Like, what is the point? What is the purpose of all this hard-wiring? So then, we're going to talk about how story and the brain evolved in tandem and I think by the end of that, by the time we've gotten to the actual purpose of story, you're gonna realize that you have far more power as a storyteller than you know that you have right now.