Reply To: Student: Vicki Briner Homework Thread

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Vicki Briner

I had a couple of Ah-hah moments with these two articles, but the connections I made were completely different.

For “Why are we wired for story?” my Ah-hahs were more about my non-writing career as a high school librarian. One of the rationales for reading for pleasure during school is that it teaches children empathy. This article helped me understand why that’s the case. When we read, our brains are trying to make sense of scenarios to protect our physical or emotional well-being. Fiction allows us to experience other cultures and perspectives, and as our brain makes sense of it, we are also learning to appreciate the experiences of others.  The article also reminded me of the adage, “High school–where reading goes to die.” I think a lot of the classics that teachers and curriculum dictate students read, lack the sense of urgency and the magic, i.e. dopamine, and that may be part of why students start to think of reading as tedious around the time they get to high school.

For the other article, “7 ways to use brain science to hook readers,” what resonated with me was the idea that readers want to immediately know the characters’ goals. I don’t think this means the goal, motivation and internal conflict needs to appear in the first paragraph, nor does it need to be explicitly stated, but I do wonder if there’s a shrewdness to knowing how much information and how quickly to reveal that information to the reader. I also found it interesting that our brains want to figure out problems. This is likely why “telling” doesn’t work very well. It’s better to allow readers to feel emotions and experience events, therefore allowing them to make inferences of their own.


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