The Science of Story
Damien Walter spent 10 years researching the science behind successful stories. Now he is sharing what he learned.
On the day I graduated university in 2001, with an allegedly useless degree in Media and Arts, I had precisely zero pounds in the bank. Luckier than today’s generation graduating with minus £50k or more, but it had taken every penny to buy myself a three month break from work to write my dissertation. Now I was skint. And so I did what anyone who knows how to tell a good story does…I got a job in sales.
“Story is the operating system of human consciousness”Damien Walter
Any good sales person knows that sales is storytelling. The stories are vaguely related to products, but what people are really paying for are the emotions those products evoke. An Apple laptop makes its owner feel like a member of today’s creative elite, just as those double glazed windows make pensioners feel safe from the noisy world outside. Products evoke these emotions through stories, and it’s the sales person’s job to tailor the story to the customer.
We love the idea of productivity, but most productivity systems are killing our creativity Here’s a familiar event many artists will have encountered. You hit some creative milestone. Your new book is finished maybe, and a well-meaning friend responds, “I wish I had time to write / paint / sing / INSERT CREATIVE DREAM.” Yes,Continue reading “You can be creative, or productive, but not both”
We are Homo Faber, ‘Humankind the Creator’. God did not create us in his image, we created god in our image. We might only be an insignificant species orbiting an insignificant star in an infinite and impassive universe. But we have, perhaps uniquely, the power of creation. Why, then, are we trapped on this ballContinue reading “Only a creator culture can save us”
Calling sci-fi a genre in 2016 is about as accurate as calling the United States one nation. In principle it’s true, but in practice things don’t work that way. While crime, romance and thrillers all remain as coherent genres of fiction, it’s been decades since sci-fi could be comfortably understood by any shared generic criteria.Continue reading “The 8 Tribes of SciFi”
Slouching Toward Nimmanhaemin Digital nomads are a 21st century counterculture. The choices they make today will shape how we live and work tomorrow. Words and pictures by Damien Walter The global network enables us to react to the world as a whole. – Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media The center was not holding. But that wasContinue reading “Digital nomads are a 21st century counterculture”
If you go to a good art school (and yes you STEM readers out there, such places do exist) they teach you to think of your art as a practice. And to think of yourself as a practitioner. There’s a purpose to this tradition. Admittedly, it takes most art students – myself included – untilContinue reading “Writing Practice: why it’s time to stop thinking of writing as a profession”
A Scanner Darkly is one of Philip K Dick’s most famous but also most divisive novels. Written in 1973 but not published until 1977, it marks the boundary between PKD’s mid-career novels that were clearly works of science fiction, including The Man in the High Castle and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and hisContinue reading “Transrealism: the first major literary movement of the 21st century”
Writer & Storyteller
Damien Walter BA / MA / PGCHE / HEA is a writer and storyteller. His research and critical writing have been published in The Guardian, Wired, BBC, The Independent, Aeon and with Oxford University Press. He is a former director of creative writing at the University of Leicester, a member of the Higher Education Academy, and a graduate of the Clarion writers workshop. He consults widely for businesses in technology, healthcare, and manufacturing to help them tell great stories.