THE SCIENCE OF STORYTELLING

Who would we be without stories? Stories mould who we are, from our character to our cultural identity. They drive us to act out our dreams and ambitions, and shape our politics and beliefs. We use them to construct our relationships, to keep order in our law courts, to interpret events in our newspapers and social media. Storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. 

‘Reading this book feels like cheating. It gives you an unfair advantage over other writers. A fascinating new way of looking at writing and how to exploit the fact that storytelling is hardwired into our brains.’

CHARLIE HIGSON

“Rarely has a book engrossed me more, and forced me to question everything I’ve ever read, seen or written. It’s a masterpiece. I am in awe.”

 DR ADAM RUTHERFORD, broadcaster and bestselling author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived 

“If you want to write a novel or a script, read this book.”

THE SUNDAY TIMES 

‘A brilliant, accessible and very human book not just for writers but for anyone interested in how the mind works– not least their own. Will manages to be both detached and compassionate on every page, sometimes within the same sentence. That such a complicated book is so easy to read is testament to his clarity of thought and skill as writer. A stupendous achievement.’

Robert Webb

There have been many attempts to understand what makes a good story – from Joseph Campbell’s well-worn theories about myth and archetype to recent attempts at cracking the ‘Bestseller Code’. But few have used a scientific approach. This is curious, for if we are to truly understand storytelling in its grandest sense, we must first come to understand the ultimate storyteller – the human brain.

In this scalpel-sharp, thought-provoking book, Will Storr demonstrates how master storytellers manipulate and compel us, leading us on a journey from the Hebrew scriptures to Mr Men, from Booker Prize-winning literature to box set TV. Applying dazzling psychological research and cutting-edge neuroscience to the foundations of our myths and archetypes, he shows how we can use these tools to tell better stories – and make sense of our chaotic modern world.

‘A hugely compelling reading experience. Storr’s superb exploration of the enduring appeal of the novel offers a smart, fascinating exploration of the science and psychology behind our most sophisticated art form that also works as an effective how-to guide.’

observer

‘Reading it won’t only make you a much better writer, but a much better person too’

holly bourne

‘So much more than a book about how to write stories. It’s a book about what it means to be alive.’

tim lott

‘The best book on the craft of storytelling I’ve ever read’

matt haig

‘Lucid, original, plausibly grounded in the science’

new statesman

‘A work of mind-bending brilliance… a carefully braided love story dedicated to the challenge of being human, in all our flawed beauty, and to sharing that truth with each other.’

Beth Kempton 

‘A work of mind-bending brilliance… a carefully braided love story dedicated to the challenge of being human, in all our flawed beauty, and to sharing that truth with each other.’

the times

‘Rather than issuing rules and instructions this does something far more profound: explains WHY humans are so drawn to this thing called story, then puts it under the microscope. Highly recommended for writers, readers and story geeks’

erin kelly