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The Narrative Is Not Real

Our minds can’t help but perceive story in everything we see.

The Narrative is Not Real

Writing and reading. Reading and writing. What better way to spend our lives than to engage in the thoughts and considerations of others?

Before I get to this week’s article and an immensely helpful tip Narrative First employs when it comes to using the Dramatica theory of story to write great stories, I want to say a thing or two about stories.

On my Kindle, I bounce back and forth between fiction and non-fiction. Fiction first thing in the morning, a brief interlude of non-fiction to get me inspired before my daily sprint of writing.

This month it’s Stephen King’s 11-22-63 and Eric Barker’s Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong. The former primes the imagination, the latter sets the intellect.

In Barking Up the Wrong Tree Mr. Barker observes a reality of narrative: Meaning comes in the form of the stories we tell ourselves about the world. Whether you seek truth in the real world or honesty and sincerity in your own fiction, our mind’s instinctual nature seeks out significance.

We can’t help but see stories everywhere we look.

Consider last week’s events in Las Vegas and our collective attempt at finding some greater purpose amidst chaos. Without a clear understanding of the Overall Story Throughline, we “fill in the blanks” with what we assume to be there—crafting propaganda where necessary to complete our story.

The narrative is not real, but our minds can’t help themselves—they were built to find meaning.

Our perceptions determine the reality.

You can read more of my thoughts and reflections on Barker’s observations in the post The Importance of Storytelling in Our Lives, but for now, it’s enough to consider this:

Understanding the mechanism behind our instinctual approach to #storytelling paves the way towards telling better stories and improving the quality of our own lives.

Note: This post originally appeared in this week’s newsletter. Subscribe to Narrative First to receive insight like this and more each and every week.