Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere)

Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere)

by Lisa Cron


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Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by Lisa Cron

Following on the heels of Lisa Cron's breakout first book, Wired for Story, this writing guide reveals how to use cognitive storytelling strategies to build a scene-by-scene blueprint for a riveting story.

It’s every novelist’s greatest fear: pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into writing hundreds of pages only to realize that their story has no sense of urgency, no internal logic, and so is a page one rewrite. 

The prevailing wisdom in the writing community is that there are just two ways around this problem: pantsing (winging it) and plotting (focusing on the external plot). Story coach Lisa Cron has spent her career discovering why these methods don’t work and coming up with a powerful alternative, based on the science behind what our brains are wired to crave in every story we read (and it’s not what you think). 

In Story Genius Cron takes you, step-by-step, through the creation of a novel from the first glimmer of an idea, to a complete multilayered blueprint—including fully realized scenes—that evolves into a first draft with the authority, richness, and command of a riveting sixth or seventh draft.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781607748892
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 08/09/2016
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 41,473
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

LISA CRON has worked as a literary agent, a TV producer, and a story consultant for Warner Brothers, the William Morris Agency, and many others. She is a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences, and a story coach for writers, educators, and journalists. She teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, is on the faculty of the School of Visual Arts MFA in Visual Narrative Program, and is the author of Wired for Story. She splits her time between Santa Monica, California, and New York, New York. 

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Excerpted from "Story Genius"
by .
Copyright © 2016 Lisa Cron.
Excerpted by permission of Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Introduction 1


Story: The Brain’s Decoder Ring 9
Myths Galore: Everything We Were Taught About Writing Is Wrong 19


The What If? Expectation, Broken! 35
The Who: Whose Life Will You Utterly Upend? 53
The Why: Why, Exactly, Does Your Protagonist Care? 67
The Worldview: Your Protagonist’s, That Is 85
What Next? The Beauty of Cause and Effect 105
The When: An Offer Your Protagonist Can’t Refuse (But Probably Wants To) 123


9 The Opening: Of Your Novel and of the Story Genius Blueprinting System 147
10 The Real “Aha!” Moment: Where Will Your Story End? 165
11 Building Your Blueprint: How to Keep Track of All the Moving Parts 187
12 Going Back to Move Forward: How to Harvest the Past to Set Up the Plot 195
13 Story Logic: Making Sure Each “What” Has a “Why” 209
14 The Secret to Layering: Subplots, Storylines, and Secondary Characters 223
15 Writing Forward: Stories Grow in Spirals 245

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Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhe 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I kept hearing this mentioned by fellow writers who were suddenly wildly productive and selling better. Then I bought it. Lightbulb moment! Yeah, the "beats" in Save the Cat helped, but THIS book pulls it all together with the simple question "why?" Just buy it. I'm glad I did.
NatoshaM More than 1 year ago
The book, Story Genius by Lisa Cron makes writing a book easier! I was interested because I may one day want to write my own story and could see some ideas how to actually get it started. This is a wonderful guide to help you understand where to begin thinking, when it comes to characters and why you should even plan on how you want the story to end. I feel she explains the material like a real person. Nothing is complicated in this book with the ideas that she mentions and why you should start thinking about these parts right away. You almost get the feeling of having a coach behind you while you type/write the book! I do love that good writing isn't what you need to have a great story, but the book itself! So what every the story is about, you want that to hook the reader and not just how good you write. There are examples of a book making millions for the type and how it grabs the reader. I would definitely agree that this book can help build a great writer and help push anyone in the right direction to creating their own novel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm only on page 64, but this book has already made itself totally worth it. It's giving more meaning to concepts that I thought that I already understood, giving me a much better grasp on what to mentally hold on to for the best emotional impact to my story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Story Genius, by Lisa Cron, is now on the indispensable writing references shelf of my working bookshelf. I’ve always been able to tell a good story, but, seemingly, didn’t fully understand what makes a story good. Story Genius got me closer to that answer. I didn’t understand why I liked movies such as Pretty Woman and American President while I found other, equally compelling stories lacking. I didn’t see the need to include scenes of personal revelation that did not directly contribute to my main story. I see now that every story that I’ve liked in the past had a good primary story line (lost on a remote island) and a human story (running for re-election). I applied the concepts and exercises from Story Genius to my work-in-progress as I read Story Genius. When I finish polishing my current novel, I will reread Story Genius. Jeff Bailey, author of The Defect.