September 24, 2017

Is it live or is it metaphor?

‘Kick the habit’ lights up the brain’s motor cortex

When your readers kick, the motor cortex in their brains light up. If they read, “the player kicked the ball,” that cortex lights up as if they’re kicking.

Metaphors stimulate the brain

Metaphor … or virtual reality? Your brain doesn’t know whether you’re kicking … or just reading the metaphor ‘kick the habit.’ Image by Brooke Cagle

But what if they read, “The patient kicked the habit”? Or “The villain kicked the bucket”?

We know that descriptive words light up the brain. But do readers’ brains light up if they read metaphors? And what about clichés?

Metaphors simulate the brain.

Yes … and no, according to a new area of neuroscience. For this research, volunteers in fMRI scanners read literal, metaphorical and idiomatic (clichéd) sentences.

The results?

Make readers’ brains light up

Related stories

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a metaphor is worth a thousand pictures.”
— Daniel Pink, author, A Whole New Mind

Make Magic With Metaphor

Charm readers with compelling comparisons

It’s tempting to call metaphor the magic spell in a writer’s repertoire, the Penn and Teller of the page.

Make Magic With Metaphor

It’s magic Make readers’ brains light up with the magic of metaphor. Image by Thomas Kelley

Metaphor has the power to persuade far better than literal language. It lets you say in five words what would otherwise take five paragraphs to explain. It makes readers’ brains light up, helps them think more broadly about your message — even (ahem!) makes you look more attractive.

But, as with other forms of magic, you’ll want to master a few tricks before you step onto the stage.

At Master the Art of the Storyteller — our two-day creative-writing master class on Sept. 25-26 in New York — you’ll learn how to charm readers with the magic of metaphor.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:

  • Get the zombies out of your message: Don’t let Dead and Dead2 metaphors eat your readers’ brains.
  • Get an analogy during an interview by asking one simple question.
  • Make numbers more emotional with our simple, four-step process.
  • Craft a compelling metaphor with our fill-in-the-blanks formula.
  • Polish your metaphor: Learn which kinds of metaphors to choose, which to avoid and where in your message to place them from 41 academic studies covering 50 years of research.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn the latest best practices in creative-writing from Ann. This is the last creative-writing workshop we have scheduled for 2017.

Save $100 when you register by July 25.

“I learned techniques that improved my writing; I only wish it had been 20 years sooner!”
– Shelley Nelson, campus director, Arizona Christian University

Polish your skills at these Master Classes

Learn to Master the Art of the Storyteller, Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for Get Clicked, Read, Shared & Liked - Ann Wylie’s online-writing workshop in Portland on July 27-28, 2017

Portland | July 27-28

Register for Cut Through the Clutter - Ann Wylie’s concise-writing workshop in San Francisco on Aug, 17-18, 2017

San Francisco | Aug. 17-18

Register for Master the Art of the Storyteller in New York: Ann Wylie’s creative-writing workshop in New York on Sept. 25-26, 2017

New York | Sept. 25-26

Register for Catch Your Readers in Kansas City: Ann Wylie’s persuasive-writing workshop in Kansas City on Nov. 16-17, 2017

Kansas City | Nov. 16-17

Register for Write For The Web and Mobile: Ann Wylie’s online-writing workshop in Miami on Dec. 11-12, 2017

Miami | Dec. 11-12

Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?

Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Johnson, RI: Aug. 7-11
  • Kansas City: Nov. 16-17
  • Memphis: Nov. 2
  • Miami: Dec. 11-12
  • Minneapolis: Oct. 3-4
  • New York: Sept. 25-26
  • Plano, TX: Oct. 19-20
  • Portland: July 27-28
  • Roseville, CA: Oct. 24
  • San Francisco: Aug. 17-18

Keep up with my calendar.

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