I met author Terri Picone at the Oregon Christian Writers’ Conference this summer, and asked her permission to reprint this article about the power of STORY… and she has also agreed to share a prize-winning story with you at the end of this article.
Your Reader’s Brain on Story by Terri Picone
Coffee, chocolate, exercise, and . . . story?
Seems like a trick question from a standardized test. But after reading Lisa Cron’s book, Wired for Story, it’s simple.
Cron shows that just as when we eat specific foods or engage in physical activity, reading a story causes our brains to release dopamine. This truth reinforces pleasurable feelings, enabling our survival.
Readers needn’t feel guilty about indulging in an afternoon or evening of reading story. Reading a novel is not frivolous. It is fundamental.
From earliest days, stories around the campfire proved to be more than entertainment. Those who heard stories learned how to avoid danger. The brain reacts in the same way whether we run from a tiger or engage in a story with a character that shares a boat with a large tiger. The advantage of story is we don’t have to take the risks. We can learn from story. We’ll know what to do the next time we meet a tiger.
Our brains are programmed toward story. Our brains instinctively tune-in when we hear “once upon a time.”
Writers can capitalize on this whether we write fiction or nonfiction. Whatever we write, we can illustrate our nonfiction points with a story. Good stories sell, as proven by the marketing community who use story plot in their campaigns.
Writers play a powerful role in the world since brains are created to crave story. Knowing this, we can use our craft of story to share the passions in our hearts with readers. Don’t forget—it’s a proven matter of survival.
Here’s Terri’s prize-winning 2017 story, published in Idaho magazine- it’s still in my mind after reading it some time ago. If you’d like to ask Terri any questions, ask away!
Check out Terri’s author FB page@Terri Picone, Writer