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Five essential writing tips backed by science

The Many 'Us'

Most writers become emotionally invested(and hence biased) in their main character.

A great storyteller must come out of his ‘self’ and be willing to expose his own flaws. In real life, one rarely gets to know who he is(self-realization), but in a story, the hero can realize himself, while recognizing his conflicting desires and thoughts.

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Five essential writing tips backed by science

Five essential writing tips backed by science

https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/science-storytelling

bigthink.com

6

Key Ideas

The Science Of Storytelling

According to Will Storr, author of ‘The Science Of Storytelling’, reality is just a phrase for a common set of shared facts and surroundings and is mainly a mind construct. We may not be living in reality, but through our internal storytelling, we are constructing a reality. We may just be the sum of the stories inside our minds.

Change Matters

Human beings react to physical and environmental changes all the time. Likewise, a good story requires changes and challenges, and characters need to be provided with certain crossroads of change, else the story does not move.

Cause And Effect

Incomplete stories are filled automatically by the brain, as we have an urge to find meaning in everything. We also tend to believe the simplest explanations. Stories need to be shown a linear cause and effect for the reader to stay interested. If there are too many effects, the effect is lost.

Humans Are Flawed

Flawed characters have been a favourite in stories, as it is the imperfections in life that are relatable, as we are all partly biased, stubborn and imperfect. Flaws also show that life is not fully in one’s control.

Apart from plots, having a convincing character and exposing their flaws is a hallmark of a great story.

The Many 'Us'

Most writers become emotionally invested(and hence biased) in their main character.

A great storyteller must come out of his ‘self’ and be willing to expose his own flaws. In real life, one rarely gets to know who he is(self-realization), but in a story, the hero can realize himself, while recognizing his conflicting desires and thoughts.

Use Your Illusion

The best stories are always a hero’s journey, where challenges and problems transform a person.

Human beings still have a tribal instinct in their DNA, and the modern age has transcended all the prior boundaries. The stories we believe, and the hero’s narrative each one of us follows, are what make up our major beliefs in life. We all love a good story as we are all deep down a story only, a coherent narrative that we call our own.

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Why storytelling works

Stories are like instruction manuals that explain how we move from one state of being to another.

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A good story moves us

A good story can make us laugh or cry, our bodies can tense with a dramatic horror movie, or we are flooded with relief when the hero comes to the rescue. This experience is called transportation.

Transportation allows us to experience a story's movement through its characters. The characters' struggles and their rewards become our own.

Our relationship with stories

Good stories catch your attention, connects you by drawing you in and move you to action. Stories that don't capture your attention will fail to deliver their message.

When participants remain engaged with a story and see characters overcome conflicts, they will empathize with the characters and be more willing to act on these feelings.

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Seven universal plots
Seven universal plots

There are only seven plots that are so fundamental to the way we tell stories that every storyteller uses one of them: Overcoming Monsters, Rags to Riches, The Quest, Voyage and Return Rebirth,...

Economic history

Looking for a few universal plot patterns reveals things fundamental to how all people think, which are likely to be repeated in the future and relevant to your own situation. This idea also applies to how the economy works.

Economic history can seem complicated because it's part of politics, psychology, sociology, criminology, biology, military, technology, education, finance, etc. But within all that complexity is a lot of similarities.

The lens to look through
  • People seem to want the same economic things – security, power, admiration, fulfillment.
  • They tend to use the same tactics to acquire those things - work, risk, incentives, persuasion, theft, control.
  • They tend to fall for the same flaws pursuing those things - overconfidence, pessimism, underestimating how fast things can change, etc.

Although economic history may seem complicated, there are only a small number of broad story plots throughout the world and throughout time.

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Stories are the primary way through which we make sense of our world. We explain ideas by telling stories.

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The brain’s reward system

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Where science and story meet

Despite the verities of science, we feel compelled to tell stories that venture beyond the facts.

When we first see separate ideas, we feel obliged to find a relationship between the ideas to form a coherent picture. Once a possible relationship has been established, we feel the need to come up with an explanation.

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