adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT
adbl_ms_membershipImage_includedwith_altText_B076FLV3HT

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $28.00

Buy for $28.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Following on the heels of Lisa Cron's breakout first book, Wired for Story, this writing guide reveals how to use cognitive storytelling strategies to build a scene-by-scene blueprint for a riveting story. 

It's every novelist's greatest fear: pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into writing hundreds of pages only to realize that their story has no sense of urgency, no internal logic, and so is a page-one rewrite. 

The prevailing wisdom in the writing community is that there are just two ways around this problem: pantsing (winging it) and plotting (focusing on the external plot). Story coach Lisa Cron has spent her career discovering why these methods don't work and coming up with a powerful alternative, based on the science behind what our brains are wired to crave in every story we read (and it’s not what you think). 

In Story Genius, Cron takes you, step by step, through the creation of a novel from the first glimmer of an idea, to a complete, multilayered blueprint - including fully realized scenes - that evolves into a first draft with the authority, richness, and command of a riveting sixth or seventh draft.

©2016 Lisa Cron (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Using brain science, Cron busts the myths of good writing to help you find the real story behind all that plot and metaphor." (The Writer)

"In [Cron's] new book, Story Genius, she picks up the...theme...that a protagonist's internal struggle makes the story work, and offers step-by-step advice on how to exploit this truth about neuroscience for richer, deeper, better first drafts.... Cron provides exercises and examples to keep writers on track, always highlighting the fact that emotions engage the brain faster than anything else.... The concepts are easy to understand and they are certainly important. Even if you can't go on a retreat, you should try to find time to do the exercises for your own blueprint." (PsychologyToday.com)

"It's a simple question: 'How do you write an effective, engaging story?' Ask Lisa Cron. An accomplished author and story coach, she has just published her second book, Story Genius. A manual of sorts, it teaches cognitive storytelling strategies and uses actual brain science to help make its readers into better writers." (Creative Screenwriting)

What listeners say about Story Genius

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    140
  • 4 Stars
    24
  • 3 Stars
    7
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    4
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    129
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    117
  • 4 Stars
    20
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    5
  • 1 Stars
    4

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

As a fantasy writer, this book was not for me.

This book is directed towards people just getting started in writing. If you've never written a story before, and really don't know where to start, this could be could for you.

I'm in the process of writing my third novel, and I personally found this book confusing and frustrating. It claims to provide an alternative possibility to the "Outliner vs Discovery writing" stratagies, but then it just gives you a Outliner 2.0 methodology. As a discovery writer myself, I was disappointed that this book didn't at all value the process that I've already used to write two books, and hundreds of other successful authors have too.

This book has some good advice, certainly. I think it's tutoring works best in a certain genre, a kind of character-centered genre that's more common in real world based stories. When I applied this book's methodology to Fantasy stories that I love, it didn't really work for me.

So if anyone's getting started, go ahead and try out this book. Maybe it'll be better for you than me. But do keep in mind that there is No "One Way" to write a story. This book has some solid science to the beginning of it, but the methodology that it teaches is only One method.

And contrary to what this book does say, the Absolutely best thing that Will Always improve your writing, is just to write. Write more, and write in a way that brings you joy.
If anything you read, or listen to, or are taught makes you feel bad about you're art, if anything discourages you from just Writing and enjoying it, throw that out the window.
You are your best teacher. No class or book is going to teach you better than your own process of trial and error.

So in summary, if you're struggling to get into writing, then this book may be helpful. As with any writing class, take it with a grain of salt, and always seek More opinions. The best way to read this book would be in combination with other writing books, so that you can find what best works for you.

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A BOOK WORTH BUYING

I’ve been a professional writer for thirty years. I have 50 nonfiction books and hundreds of published articles to my credit. I have gone to Robert McKee workshops, Syd Fields screenplay courses, been on Heroes journeys, listen to Arron Sorkin and all the greats on the Master's workshops, and have read almost every book on writing. I spent my summers at Iowa’s writer's workshop and learned a lot about the writing process and the subtle things like why you should save a cat. My rule was if a book gives me one good idea, well, I’m happy.
I bought Story Genius as an audible book reluctantly because I didn’t believe the title; Story Genius? Yeah right. But once I started listening to the book's narrator, Brittany Pressley, I was Gobsmacked, filled with amazement surprised.

Lisa Cron’s book spoke to me in an insightful way like none I have read before. She introduced the concept of misbelief and why I needed to know my protagonist's misbelief and the causal effects that misbelief has on your entire story. Here is another example of what I mean. One of my favorite sayings is John Huston’s “The central idea is one which when struck like a gong reverberates in every scene of the novel.” That makes sense, right? Only I never understood what the thing that makes it reverberate is? Lisa wrote about the protags misbelief about something that happened early in my character's life. I got so excited I picked up my own memoir eluding me for years and wrote the originating scene that the author suggested. The original incident that formed my misbelief about love and how my reactions to events were based on my misbelief kept me from getting what I wanted. OMG! Suddenly, I saw how ' cause and effect' made sense.
Thank you, Lisa, for writing such an insightful and amazing book.
Larry Chambers

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Really not good

I was really disappointed by this book- she spends a lot of time telling you what not to do, she is very normative/critical of other writing advice, and honestly, the advice she gives doesn’t seem like it applies to many modern best sellers, which makes it seem like this is advice to write ONE particular kind of book, but not all books. Also, very repetitive and her examples are exhausting and uninteresting. There are some useful tips about developing back stories but, you could probably find those elsewhere without paying for this book.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Audio vs. Book

I super enjoyed Wired for Story and this book was more good stuff, but I had one problem, and that's that I was listening to it. A lot of what she has to say needs to be bookmarked to come back to in order to really lock into memory, and it's clear there's some visual aides in the book that get somewhat confusing to listen to in the latter half. I found myself pausing and going out to find a chart in PDF form that someone had made to accompany this book, and from there, things started clicking into place. That's my suggestion for people who want to read this, here's the link to the PDF I found on google:
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5b9abf9d36099b4b5d5018eb/t/5c7efa6541920249d4055628/1551825510262/STORY+GENIUS+WORKSHEET.pdf

PS. I'd love more in-depth brain science, but I realize that's not for everyone!

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wow, what did I just read?

I would be lying if I said this book didn't save my novel. I'm writing my debut, and this book showed me so many errors in my writing. Thank you, Lisa Cron. You helped me out and got and got one word stuck in my head: why?
Don't understand? Read to find out.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great for a beginner

I'm new to writing and I am consuming as much knowledge on the craft of writing fiction as I can. Unfortunately many authors in this genre seem more intent on showing off their mastery of language than teaching the skill of crafting story. This book gave me exactly what I was looking for. practical knowledge on story writing and the most important elements of it. I'll be listening to this several more times.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Spectacular storytelling about storytelling

This is the book I've been waiting for my whole writerly life. I'm so pleased I found Lisa Cron and her methods because I'm gonna be unstoppable.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Before You Send That Query, Read This Book!

I wish I didn't hit send on about 40 queries last year. I sent off my novel to literary agents and received rejections without knowing what was missing. When I listened to this book, everything I wasn't supposed to do, I did.

Now, after listening...I have a better understanding of the craft of writing fiction stories. I encourage other writers to please read this book before you send that query letter. It will save you a chance of representation! Believe me Lisa Cron's books are worth every advice that you will not get out of that Writer's Digest Conference.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Worth the read if your writing a novel about a character

It was a little hard to get through and honestly the story she is rewriting kinda drowned on for way to long the advice really helped me and helped me creat a character rather than just some inner changeable main protagonist and I really like her scene cards though I had to look it up and see it before I realized how good it is and how the third rail is what drives my favorite story rather then the plot points so it is worth the read

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

VERY DIFFICULT TO DIGEST

UNNECESSARY LENGTHY. BLAH BLAH BLAH. SHE COULD HAVE SAID THE SAME IN A 3RD. I SUFFERED

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joshua
  • Joshua
  • 04-10-22

Golden Nuggets Galore

Read 5 books so far on fiction writing and story structure. This is the only book out of the five I've read so far that goes deep into topics either missed or not mentioned in others. The biggest nugget mentioned and covered in detail is emotional depth and how a characters past (even if briefly touched on in the story itself or not mentioned at all and simply in your characters private bio) and how this effects literally everything they do. One of the most insightful reads I've found so far.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for A Tremblay-Birchall
  • A Tremblay-Birchall
  • 01-09-22

Better angle on the script writing methodology

This teaches a much more organic approach to script writing, following the psychology of the protagonist, not just a template of what beat should go on what page like other books.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for BillionaireManzi
  • BillionaireManzi
  • 06-08-21

Nice Surprise

It's worth the look and carries itself very well.. It's a recommend from me.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sam
  • Sam
  • 05-10-21

Author doesn't Understand Her own Teachings

Seriously, I came in after the amazingly useful webinar on premise to.... This.

There's not much advice here that's useful.
Author brings up examples - give one example of how it could go wrong but doesn't bother to give an example of it working.

The running example she uses about stealing a dog, and her advice as to how to keep the story internal... Is weak and doesn't explain at all a usable thought process.

So disappointed.