The Science of Story: The Brain Behind Creative Nonfiction
“This book offers intriguing takes on the question of how our unknowable brains reckon with experience and lead us to the artistic practice of creative nonfiction. Cognitive science, neuroaesthetics, mirror neurons, memory and metaphor all come out to play with these inquiring minds. This is not an instruction manual, but rather a series of brilliant provocations to expand the field of our writing lives.” – Alison Hawthorne Deming, Author of Zoologies: On Animals and the Human Spirit
“The Science of Story makes a great case for the essay as premier scientific instrument. Each contribution in this anthology illuminates a new intersection between writing and science. How does time or space work in memory or on the page? How do description and emotion affect us? How do memory or metaphor work to produce the magic they do? How do the essays we love affect us emotionally? And more importantly, how can writers use or repurpose these tools to make more interesting and beautiful things? This book will be revelatory for writers of nonfiction and their many readers.” – Ander Monson, Professor of English, University of Arizona, USA
About the Science of Story
Bringing together a diverse range of writers, The Science of Story is the first book to ask the question: what can contemporary brain science teach us about the art and craft of creative nonfiction writing? Drawing on the latest developments in cognitive neuroscience the book sheds new light on some of the most important elements of the writer's craft, from perspective and truth to emotion and metaphor.
The Science of Story explores such questions as:
· Why do humans tell stories?
· How do we remember and misremember our lives - and what does this mean for storytelling?
· What is the value of writing about trauma?
· How do stories make us laugh, or cry?
Nancer Ballard, Lyncia Begay, Frank Bures, J.T. Bushnell, Katharine Coles, David Lazar, Lawrence Lenhart, Dave Madden, Leila Phillip, Sean Prentiss, V. Efua Prince, Julie Wittes Schlack, Ira Sukrungruang, Nicole Walker, Wendy S. Walters, Marco Wilkinson, Amy Wright.
Table of Contents
01 Introduction, Sean Prentiss and Nicole Walker
02 Bengal Tiger Moments: Perception of Time in the Brain and on the Page, Sean Prentiss
03 Sipping from the Transmitter: Theorizing the 'Potential Essay', Lawrence Lenhart
04 The Brain is a Master Class, Dave Madden
05 Brain on Fire, Nicole Walker
06 The Brain Split in Half, Ira Surungruang
07 When the Body Reads: Writing Sensory Perception for Reader Embodiment, Nancer Ballard
08 Lens: A Lyric Meditation, Katherine Coles
09 The Heart and the Eye: How Description Can Access Emotion, JT Bushnell
10 The Memory Agent, David Lazar
11 On Metaphor, V. Efua Prince
12 The Glittering World of Synapses, Lyncia Bega,
13 A Sense of Oneness with Sun and Stone, Leila Phillips
14 A Gardener's Education (Animal Body), Marco Wilkinson
15 The Secret Lives of Stories: Rewriting Our Personal Narratives, Frank Bures
16 Conversations in Intensive Care, Amy Wright
17 Mindfulness and Memoir, Julie Wittes Shlack