The Transforming Power of Stories
Story is the language of experience, whether it’s ours, someone else’s, or that of fictional characters. Other people’s stories are as important as the stories we tell ourselves. Because if all we ever had to go on was our own experience, we wouldn’t make it out of onesies. . . .
Stories are important because:
Stories allow us to simulate intense experiences without actually having to live through them. . . Story evolved as a way to explore our own mind and the minds of others, as a sort of dress rehearsal for the future.
Not only do we crave story, but we have very specific hardwired expectations for every story we read. . . Our expectations have everything to do with the story’s ability to provide information on how we might safely navigate this earthly plane. To that end, we run them through our own very sophisticated subconscious sense of what a story is supposed to do: plunk someone with a clear goal into an increasingly difficult situation they then have to navigate. When a story meets our brain’s criteria, we relax and slip into the protagonist’s skin, eager to experience what his or her struggle feels like, without having to leave the comfort of home. . .
Lisa Cron Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence [excerpts: Berkeley CA: 10 Speed Press, 2012]