Join Toni at the 805 Writers Conference in Thousand Oaks on Sunday, May 20

Wired for Story: Techniques To Write What The Human Brain Craves in Stories, with literary agent and instructor, Toni Lopopolo

LET’S FACE IT. We’re all busy people, no matter what we do, we feel we should be doing something else.  So, how will your novel, narrative non-fiction or memoir induce your reader to fall, engrossed, into your story, and forget what’s going on around them?

Neuroscience writer, Jonah Lehrer says: nothing focuses the mind like surprise. So when we pick up a book, what our brains crave, what humans want/need is this: something out of the ordinary is about to take place.

This course will show you examples of how all this happens in recent novels, non-so-recent novels, plus how this year’s award-winning films and TV series succeeded in doing exactly that, and why you, the writer, must cause this to happen in the stories you want readers to buy and get lost in.

We’ll learn how the human brain became wired for story, and that through human brain development, craves how stories must enfold to keep readers interested, to keep them binge-reading, turning the page because they cannot not. We will discuss every element needed to make this happen, read aloud from writing you bring to find out if your story can pull the reader to turn that page, learn how your protagonist’s quest, desire, unconscious desires must make us care.

We’ll go over essential techniques for writing engrossing fiction, and how these techniques crossover to nonfiction, including memoir.

Topics to be discussed:

  • How to avoid endless drafts that won’t work
  • How your first draft will read like a fourth or fifth
  • The brain’s hardwired with the desire to know what happens next
  • Analyze what the human brain expects and needs in a story
  • Learn why the law of cause & effect becomes your most important tool
  • Creating & keeping a sense of urgency; the importance of narrative drive
  • What triggers the dopamine rush in a reader (this may be giving too much away)
  • The CEN profile for each main character
  • Why conflict is the Agent of Change
  • Why subtext in dialog is most necessary


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