Everyone loves a great story.
Done right, a story pulls us in and envelops us in a different world. It feels good to get lost there for a time, savoring the experience of something both novel and relatable, suspended in the thrill, caught in the wonderful grip of story.
Those of us who love mystery, suspense, and thrillers open up a new book like a junkie opens up a vein. We crave that delicious frisson, the conviction that all is not as it seems and we look forward to amassing the clues and solving the puzzles.
We want a story that will grab our attention from page one and hold it steady throughout.
We want to feel like we’ve stepped into the main character’s life at a critical moment, like we scarcely have time to strap in before the ride begins.
Neuroscience writer Jonah Lehrer assures us that “nothing focuses the mind like surprise.” We love a twisted tale. We love to follow a trail of breadcrumbs into the deep, dark forest where the unknown awaits. As readers, we don’t demand much—just that each stomach-dropping lurch is as much inevitable as it is satisfying. In other words, in hindsight we want to be able to say we should have seen it coming but we’re oh so glad we didn’t.
Indulge yourself in the power of story.
Read a good book, watch a well-done movie, listen while you drive or do the dishes. There’s a lot to be gained from the stories in your life, so do it to learn, do it to deepen your understanding, or do it just for the thrill of it.