20 August 2013

your brain on fiction

You may or may not have noticed we had a little bit of technical difficulty at the end of last week with our marvelous May 31, 2013 issue. We think we've resolved this. If you see something weird please email the submissions email.
We are all working hard behind the scenes on the awesome August 31, 2013 issue. In particular, I wanted to give a shout out to our excellent copy-editor Chris Devlin. You rock, girl! Thanks for all your help on the issues.
Stay tuned next week for some more specific bragging about the new issue. :)

Now, on to the topic at hand. Annie Murphy Paul wrote a fascinating article "Your Brain on Fiction" published in 2011 in The New York Times. The gist of it is: The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Wow! Isn't that cool?

What does this mean for authors? It means we really need to show, not tell. Words with odor associations activate the smelling portion of our brain. Words with motion associations activate the parts of our brain associated with moving. Words associated with textures or other tactile sensations activate the parts of our brain associated with touch. Let's use all the amazing words and mental associations at our disposal. :)

What's your favorite sensory word? Use it!

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