Week in Links: Brainy Writing

7 Ways to Use Brain Science to Hook Readers and Reel Them In – WritetoDone

In the same way that food tastes good so we’ll eat it, stories are entertaining so we’ll pay attention to them. But for writers the real breakthrough is the discovery of what triggers that delicious sense of enjoyment we feel when a story hooks us.

Lisa Cron, the guest author of the above post, is well on her way to earning an place of honor in this blog. I’ve been seeing really goddamned awesome guests posts from her ever since her book, Wired for Story, was released in July. She’s no doubt trying to promote her book by writing excellent guest posts, but that’s okay because did I mention how goddamned awesome her guest posts have been? They’re so awesome that I actually bought her book the week it was released. You can get a taste of what her book is about by reading the above article, her post titled Why We are Wired for Story at Writer Unboxed, and her blog wiredforstory.com.

HipType Provides Detailed Analytics for eBooks – LitReactor

Levy and Prasad aren’t the first to create a product to give detailed eBook analytics, but others require publishers to go through a specific eBook store, which is limiting. HipType’s only limitation (and it’s a fairly big one but one that should sort itself out over time) is that the plug-in works with any HTML5 device (so iPad, Kindle Fire, etc.) but not with eReaders that use e-ink (standard Kindle).

If you follow me on Twitter, you know I love calling out techno-babble tools like this that can help self-published writers. The article mentions this too, but tools like HipType put analytics and data collection into the layman’s hands and allow for testing alternative versions of a book on readers to see what they respond to the most. And that’s an awesome thing. Unless you spend too much time fiddling with data collection and not enough time making solid stories. Then it’s a not awesome thing.

National Geographic‘s Aaron Huey on Digital Collaboration and Community Storytelling – 10,000 Words (Mediabistro)

There is great value in having an outsider tell the story of a people or community, and put the pieces they find into a beautiful, objective narrative. But returning for many years to Pine Ridge meant that I had to look back into the eyes of the same people again and again after they had seen themselves on websites or in the pages of magazines, and they all wanted to know why I couldn’t tell more of the story. They wanted to know why it all had to be about poverty and violence and alcohol. They wanted to know why it couldn’t be about success stories and good students and sober families.

I’ve been keeping tabs on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation project that Aaron Huey and Cowbird are partnering on, but this is the first link-worthy piece I’ve found. You’ll find a really dense interview that’s worth your time for Huey’s thoughtful discussion about giving voice to a community and the limitations of traditional journalism.

Every Friday, I highlight links from the week—all related to writing, storytelling, and plain ol’ books. Some of the links I love, some of the links I don’t, but I believe all are worth reading and discussing. If you’re the type to eat dessert before dinner, you can get these and much, much more by following me on Twitter: @messemi.

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