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Aug 24, 2015

How Neuroscientist Michael Grybko Defines Storytelling

Have you ever wondered why storytelling is such an omnipresent theme of human life? Welcome to another guest segment of “The Writer s Brain” where I pick the brain of a neuroscientist about elements of great writing.


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Research scientist Michael Grybko — of the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington — returned to the podcast to help me define storytelling from a scientific standpoint.

If you missed the first two installments of The Writer s Brain — on How Neuroscience Defines both Creativity and Empathy — you can find them in the show notes as well as on and iTunes.

In this file Michael Grybko and I discuss:

  • Why Storytelling is the Default Mode of Human Communication
  • How Empathy Makes Storytelling Such an Effective Tool
  • Why Hollywood Continually Taps into ‘The Hero’s Journey’
  • How Blueprints Help Writers Connect with Their Audience
  • Why Reading Fiction Makes Us More Empathetic
  • Writers’ Addiction to Stories (Especially the Dark Ones)
  • Where Humanity Would Be Without Storytelling

Listen to The Writer Files: Writing, Productivity, Creativity, and Neuroscience below ...

The Show Notes

The Transcript

How Neuroscientist Michael Grybko Defines Storytelling

Voiceover: This is Rainmaker.FM, the digital marketing podcast network. It’s built on the Rainmaker Platform, which empowers you to build your own digital marketing and sales platform. Start your free 14-day trial at

Kelton Reid: These are The Writer Files, a tour of the habits, habitats, and brains of working writers, from online content creators to fictionists, journalists, entrepreneurs, and beyond. I’m your host, Kelton Reid: writer, podcaster, and mediaphile. Each week, we’ll find out how great writers keep the ink flowing, the cursor moving, and avoid writer s block.

Have you ever wondered why storytelling is such an omnipresent theme of human life? Welcome to another guest segment of The Writer’s Brain, where I pick the brain of a neuroscientist about elements of great writing.

Research scientist Michael Grybko of the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington returned to the podcast to help me define storytelling from a scientific standpoint. If you missed the first two installments of The Writer’s Brain on how neuroscience defines both creativity and empathy, you can find them in the show notes as well as at WriterFiles.FM and iTunes.

In this episode, we’ll discuss why storytelling is the default mode of human communication, how empathy makes storytelling such an effective tool, why Hollywood continually taps into the hero’s journey, how blueprints help writers connect with their audience, why reading fiction makes us more empathetic, the writer’s addiction to stories — especially the dark ones, and where humanity would be without storytelling.

If you enjoy The Writer Files podcast, please subscribe to the show, and leave us a rating or a review in iTunes to help other writers find us. Thanks for listening.

Michael Grybko, welcome back to The Writer Files.

Michael Grybko: Hello, Kelton. Thanks for having me back.

Kelton Reid: We’re back with a segment that we call The Writer’s Brain, and I think we’ve been building up to this episode. It s the third part of, I guess we could say, a multi-part series. We’ve talked about how neuroscience looks at creativity, right?

Michael Grybko: Right.

Kelton Reid: That’s an important building block, and then we have talked about how you look at empathy, and the importance of both of those in good writing.

Michael Grybko: Right.

Why Storytelling Is the Default Mode of Human Communication

Kelton Reid: Here we are, and I think this is the piece that we’ve both been kind of itching to talk about.

Michael Grybko: Right, we’ve been building up to this.

Kelton Reid: Yeah, how neuroscience looks at storytelling. This is cool stuff. Anyway, let’s get into it.

We know what storytelling is. We are constantly telling each other stories and ourselves stories, but why do human beings tell stories? Why is that the default mode of our civilization or our communication at this point?

Michael Grybko: Right, yeah, it’s a big question. There’s a lot going on there, and it’s really pretty fascinating. In anticipation of this, I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and obviously there’s something there, you know? Storytelling has been going on for a long, long time. There’s evidence of it in I don’t know how many — I don’t want to say every culture — but many cultures have some form of storytelling, and it goes back pretty much as far as we can see.

Kelton Reid: Sure. Twenty thousand years or so?

Michael Grybko: Yeah. Maybe longer, you know.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: The record is just so good and well-kept. We can’t say for sure how long it’s been going on.

Kelton Reid: Forever.

Michael Grybko: It seems like a part of humanity, part of what makes us human. That’s the first interesting question: if it’s been going on this long, carried on, and you see the rise in different cultures, possibly independently, why? There’s got to be a reason for it.

One of the main things, I think, is that storytelling has proven an effective means of delivering information. When I think of storytelling now and the purpose of storytelling, it seems to span this spectrum to me, where you have really didactic storytelling — a story that has a lot of moral meaning, or some lesson to be learned at the end — to storytelling that’s more pleasurable, that we just do for enjoyment.

Kelton Reid: Escapism.

Michael Grybko: Yeah, yeah. And so I think the important part is the didactic point, and I think that’s what’s carried it along this long. It s an effective way to deliver information. The question is why? Why is it better tell a story than to spew out facts or tell someone straight-up what’s going on?

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

How Empathy Makes Storytelling Such an Effective Tool

Michael Grybko: This is why I think our previous conversations are a good segue into this about creativity, and empathy. It’s empathy, I think, which is why storytelling is such an effective mechanism.

Last time, we talked about empathy, and empathy in marketing and why that was important and why it’s important to have this emotional response in the audience. Basically — I don’t want to rehash the whole thing again — information is more memorable when we add weight to it. A great way to add weight is to trigger an emotional response in the viewer.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: A great way to do this is if the viewer is empathizing with the characters in the story. Therefore, if we write a good story, it’s more likely the viewers will empathize with the characters, and then the content of that story will be more memorable.

Kelton Reid: Yeah, so we’re giving order to kind of a world of chaos and rote facts or just random streams of information. They’re not writing these pathways that we need to learn without that storytelling element.

Michael Grybko: Right.

Kelton Reid: So this is something that has been around forever, because it’s an effective tool for learning.

Michael Grybko: Right, and I think it’s because it’s tapping into someone’s emotion, their sense of empathy, and this theory of mind. It keeps our attention better, and then also, by attaching that emotion to it, it makes it more memorable.

What’s interesting, we talked about during our empathy conversation, the discovery of mirror systems. These are systems that are active when an individual performs an action or witnesses someone else performing an action. A similar experiment was done with reading. So a group in Washington University in St. Louis, which was led by Jeffery Zacks, did a similar study, again using MRI, which we talked about before, so I won’t go into it too deeply, but it’s a way of inferring brain activity in certain regions by measuring an increase in blood flow.

This group, using fMRI, showed that brain areas involved in things like spatial location, goal-directed activity, and object manipulation became active at points in the observer that correlated to aspects of a story that the observer was reading. We see again that there’s evidence that mirroring behavior is triggered when we read a story, just like it would be if we were witnessing an event. It looks like the same thing is happening here. It s where you read a story, and we trigger this empathy, and it s a part of us is living the story.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: Our brain is acting as if we were going through the same situations. That’s why storytelling is so powerful and probably why it’s been around for so long.

Kelton Reid: This is why Hollywood makes billions and billions of dollars capitalizing on telling and retelling the same stories over and over, because it’s impossible for us to really resist that.

Michael Grybko: Yeah, just getting immersed.

Kelton Reid: The draw, yeah. Then being whisked away by these mono-myths, so to speak. I know I’ve brought this up before, but in screenwriting, they give you two books when you start studying the art of writing stories for the screen. The first one is Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, where lots of marketers and writers talk about the hero’s journey, and that formula for storytelling.

Michael Grybko: It’s a popular one.

Kelton Reid: Take any of these great stories — you kind of become the hero when you get truly swept away by a great story. That’s why Disney does so well, and that’s why George Lucas, admittedly, had tapped into Joseph Campbell’s structure for mythology.

To come back to storytelling and why it is so effective, or at least why we do it, and how to really do it better, I guess, is where we’re going with this.

Michael Grybko: Right, and that’s another thing. Another aspect I thought about storytelling when I was preparing for this is, and you kind of brought it up, is that we’re all telling stories. I think stories actually help the person who is telling the story, and this gets into advice that was given to me and advice I pass on to people now when I’m preparing a scientific presentation.

That’s make a story out of it, and it should have a flow. I thought about this as I was preparing for this, for our podcast here on storytelling. Why is that? Why do I give this advice? And I really started thinking about it. As a presenter, it helps us line up our facts. When we get really immersed into a certain topic, and we have to present on that topic, if it’s a data-heavy or fact-heavy topic we have to present, it’s really easy for the presenter to get up there and just start spewing out facts.

Kelton Reid: Right.

Michael Grybko: This is because the presenter sees the connectedness of all these facts. To the audience, who isn’t as familiar with this information, who doesn’t know all these connections, it can be very confusing if you go up there and just start spewing facts. When I think of a scientific presentation, when I try to line it up as a story, and when I think about making a story out of it, what I’m doing is lining up these facts in a logical way and creating a narrative that helps me present the information with a flow in a logical way to the audience.

I think storytelling, also, not only are there these benefits of the audience empathizing and having an emotional response and being more interested in the information being presented, but there’s also the benefit to the storyteller to force that person into making a logical story out of the information they’re presenting.

Kelton Reid: Sure.

Michael Grybko: It’s not just a jumbled mess, a bunch of facts getting thrown at you. So that’s a benefit of storytelling as well.

Kelton Reid: When I think of great storytelling, at least from a scientific standpoint, I think of like these great TED Talks that you’ll stumble upon or discover, that are really great stories being told by charismatic or truly compelling individuals, you know?

Michael Grybko: Right.

Kelton Reid: I’m certain that there are truly intelligent people that can’t do that.

Michael Grybko: Right.

Kelton Reid: They can’t get up …

Michael Grybko: Yeah, it’s a skill. It s something you have to work at, something that I’ve worked at. Like I said, this is advice I give to graduate students and things now when they’re presenting their talks. It’s a hurdle that a lot of people have to get over.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Why Hollywood Continually Taps into The Hero s Journey

Michael Grybko: I like that you brought up TED Talks again, and science, because that’s a theme I’ve seen in a lot of TED Talks. They all seem to be this kind of hero theme, you know? Even the science ones and whatever, it’s some certain molecule, or even that person’s personal quest, but you see that sort of hero conquering.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: It’s still present even in science talks. It follows that format.

Kelton Reid: It does, it does. I was going to mention the second screenwriting book really quick that they give you when you walk through the door, is Robert McKee s Story, and McKee basically breaks a great story into five parts. It s inciting incident, progressive complications , a crisis, climax, and resolution. Seriously, when you look at a TED Talk that has a million views …

Michael Grybko: I think they all got that book.

Kelton Reid: Yeah, you can put that five-part template on top of those and see exactly why they’re so effective.

How Blueprints Help Writers Connect with Their Audience

Michael Grybko: Yeah, so storytelling, whether it’s some fictitious tale or you’re trying to deliver a fact-burdened story, a fact-burdened message, it has a similar theme, a similar blueprint to the structure of it.

Kelton Reid: Yeah, I like that you say blueprint. And so many facets of the different storytelling departments — as in screenwriting, playwriting, TV writing, copywriting — they all use blueprints, at least at the start, for mapping out.

Michael Grybko: Sure.

Kelton Reid: These blueprints aren’t necessarily designed to help you find original material. That’s up to you. Clearly, each and every audience is going to respond better to a different type of story.

Michael Grybko: Yep.

Kelton Reid: Those blueprints are helpful starting out.

Michael Grybko: Yeah. It s How are you going to arrange the information you’re delivering? That’s what’s important.

Why Reading Fiction Makes Us More Empathetic

Kelton Reid: Yeah, so let’s talk a little bit more about, does reading fiction make us more empathetic? Does reading, or even watching fictional stories, make us more empathetic? We both read this article in The Guardian.

Michael Grybko: Yes, yeah, The Guardian, the Reading improves empathy, study finds.

Kelton Reid: Yeah. Well, you can talk a little bit more about this from your perspective, but I don’t know. I think great writing certainly helps us to work out different problems in our own lives.

Michael Grybko: Sure.

Kelton Reid: Even thought they might not be the exact problems we’re having. I think this is why great writers are masters of brevity. They don’t tell the whole story. They’re painting the canvas with really bold brush strokes, but leaving a lot to the imagination.

Michael Grybko: Right, right.

Kelton Reid: Maybe you could touch on that a little bit. Is that valid? Does studying stories make us more empathetic?

Michael Grybko: Well, I think the article published in The Guardian does a pretty good job at summarizing the original article, which I found. This was published by Kidd and Castano, if I’m pronouncing that right. The article is Reading Literary Fiction Improves Theory of Mind. That s the original research article.

Yeah, it seems like their findings are accurately described in the Guardian article. Basically, they had people read some passages, some literary passages, and then gave them some tests to see if their sense of empathy and theory of mind were improved. These tests have been pretty well vetted, so the conclusion was, that yes, reading literary fiction enhances the ability to detect and understand other people’s emotions.

Basically, we have to talk about theory of mind here a little bit and describe that. Empathy, by itself, is kind of useless. Empathy is just a shared emotion. So if you were angry or sad, and I saw that, I would become angry and sad. That by itself doesn’t do us much good. We just have two sad people instead of one, or two mad people instead of one, and then terrible things happen. That’s how wars start.

Theory of mind is also referred to as mentalizing or mentalization. This is our ability to draw a conclusion as to why the person we’re observing is having a certain response. This, in turn, allows us to take action. So I can do something to alleviate, or try to alleviate, your sadness or anger. If you think about it, this is a very important aspect of us being human and us living in societies.

If witnessing and reading literary fiction and partaking in storytelling, increases our theory of mind, we may end up being better people and taking more appropriate action to alleviate conflict or emotional pain in our fellow humans.

Now I’m kind of stretching it out a bit here. In the original article, they were only able to look at shortly after an individual read a literary passage. It’s hard to say if this was a long-lasting effect or not. I guess we’re getting into the edge of what neuroscience can really test empirically on the subject and delving into the speculation aspect of it.

Kelton Reid: Just a quick pause to mention that The Writer Files is brought to you by the Rainmaker Platform, the complete website solution for content marketers and online entrepreneurs. Find out more, and take a free 14-day test drive at Rainmaker.FM/Platform.

I guess the next logical question is, I hear so many writers say that at the end of the day to unwind they will pick up a good book, or turn on the Netflix and watch their favorite show, and they’re escaping into a story, basically.

Michael Grybko: Yeah.

Kelton Reid: These same people who create these vast, amazing stories are spending lots of time studying story. Basically, what is it about the story that we find so pleasurable?

Michael Grybko: Right.

Writers Addiction To Stories (Especially The Dark Ones)

Kelton Reid: Why can’t we get enough story? I feel like we spend our whole lives inundated with stories, and we just keep going back.

Michael Grybko: Yeah, I agree.

Kelton Reid: Like it’s so hard to escape it.

Michael Grybko: Yeah.

Kelton Reid: But we love it, it’s an addiction, right?

Michael Grybko: It’s an interesting question, and going back to beginning of our conversation, storytelling spans this spectrum from didactic to purely pleasurable.

Kelton Reid: When you say didactic, I keep thinking the Bible. That’s like didactic text.

Michael Grybko: Almost. There’s a lot of storytelling. When you think of children’s stories, things like that, they’re meant to teach morals and values and how to behave.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: You can even think of other texts that work like that. Storytelling is prone to be an effective means to do that. A lot of cultures, I think, also use storytelling as sort of an archive of their history.

Kelton Reid: Right.

Michael Grybko: They don’t have written libraries, and storytelling has been important in that sense, to pass along traditions and the history of their society or culture.

Kelton Reid: Sure, and isn’t that because so much of it was verbal?

Michael Grybko: Right, but then they would enshrine things in stories, almost, because it made it a better way to deliver the message.

Kelton Reid: Sure.

Michael Grybko: Instead of, again, just spewing out facts, and that’s because it’s pleasurable, getting back to what you’re talking about.

From a neuroscience perspective, I think we can have a pretty good idea of why it’s effective, why storytelling is effective at delivering facts and information. What we don’t have a great idea about is why is it so pleasurable?

This is a very, very difficult question to answer empirically. That’s because storytelling is a complex human behavior, and as far as I know, there isn’t another animal out there that does this. For these reasons, it makes it very difficult to study on neuronal level. It s a complex human behavior, and we don’t have any good animal models to use.

Furthermore, if you look at the mechanisms we’re using to look at it, something like MRI, again, this is a machine, big clunky machine, that you have to sit in. To really get at why storytelling is important, someone would have to spend a lot of time in an MRI machine to find out what’s going on in their brain over time. That’s just not practical. Unfortunately we’ve kind of reached the edge of the capabilities of neuroscience and our technical abilities.

But I think we can speculate a bit on this, of the pleasure aspect, and I think that’s why this article by Kidd and Castano is so important. It s starting to answer some of these questions. If our sense of empathy and theory of mind increase with storytelling, I can envision that over time, we ve built up a neuronal reward mechanism when we encounter storytelling.

These are seen throughout the nervous system. We have a dopamine system, an opiate system, these hedonic centers of the brain that become activated when something pleasurable is happening. We have sugary food, or fatty food, and I think possibly storytelling may be activating the same centers, too.

The question is, why would this happen? This article by Kidd and Castano may have the answer. If it is increasing our theory of mind and improving our interactions with other people and making us more pleasant and easier to get along, groups of people, that may be why it’s so pleasurable. Because we are social.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: This is so important to our success, our ability to act in groups and to form societies. If what we’re getting out of storytelling is an improved sense of community and society, there may be a system there that’s encouraging it.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: So I’ll have to find out, or some neuroscientists are going to have to thinking of a way to test this little theory of mine here.

Kelton Reid: You want to put me in an MRI and have me watch the entirety of Game of Thrones from start to finish?

Michael Grybko: Hell, if you’re volunteering, if you want to sit in an MRI for — I don’t know, that would take days I think — maybe we could find out what’s going on, yeah.

Kelton Reid: That brings me to another question, which I’m sure that we can’t answer in this span of this podcast, but why do we like tragedies so much? Like from Shakespeare to Game of Thrones, for instance.

Michael Grybko: Yeah, that’s just gory stuff. And we like it.

Kelton Reid: Why are we so attracted to these dark stories like Gone Girl, or House of Cards, or I think of a guy who built his whole career around dark, darker places in our mind like Stephen King. Then I think about, storytelling can’t be all wish fulfillment, because that’s boring.

Michael Grybko: Right, yeah. No one wants to watch Disney all the time, right?

Kelton Reid: Disney taps into the story archetypes, too. There’s always an inciting incident. Something bad usually happens. Someone gets lost, or someone is dead. They usually start with a heartbreaking turn.

Michael Grybko: Bambi? I mean, come on.

Kelton Reid: It’s almost like that’s kind of built-in. I’m sure there’s not an answer to that question, but think about the last few great stories, or TV shows, or movies, that you saw. They probably include some element of tragedy to them.

Michael Grybko: Right.

Kelton Reid: I don’t know, I think of a recent young adult hit. It s John Green’s Fault in Our Stars, and it’s about a young woman who is dying of cancer, right? That’s the premise. Then she falls in love with another young man who is also dying of cancer. That was a very popular book.

Michael Grybko: Right.

Kelton Reid: And a very popular movie, and we can’t get enough.

Michael Grybko: Breaking Bad.

Kelton Reid: Breaking Bad. We love a good antihero.

Michael Grybko: That’s got drug dealers, and cancer — that’s got it all. All the dark stuff.

Kelton Reid: Why do you think that is? Can you speculate on that at all?

What Stories Have in Common with Flight Simulators

Michael Grybko: Yeah, again, it’s hard to really peer into the mind and get a neural understanding of what’s going on in the neurons to answer this question.

Storytelling, another aspect to it, when we immerse ourselves in stories, it becomes sort of a testing ground for these life situations and for our emotions and social interactions. What we’re doing is we may be able to play with our own emotions and learn about these interactions and test our theory of mind in a safe setting, because in the end, we can walk away from it unscathed.

The advantage may be that somehow, we’re learning how to deal with these situations in a safe zone, if you will, so when we do encounter them in the real world, we’ll be better emotionally prepared and socially prepared. We’ll have a better reaction to that person who is going through something.

Kelton Reid: Sure.

Michael Grybko: Being harassed by a psychopathic, drug-dealing meth-head. Yeah.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: Or the white walkers are chasing him down.

Kelton Reid: Well I think Jonathan Gottschall in his book, The Storytelling Animal, did say that fiction is an ancient form of problem-solving, and it does strengthen and reinforce those neuro-pathways that help us to learn. I think the metaphors that he used was, or a simile, was that airline pilots learn from simulators.

Michael Grybko: Yeah.

Kelton Reid: That’s how they keep cool under pressure with thousands of lives at stake, hundreds of lives, tens of hundreds of lives? I don’t know, how many people sit on a plane?

Michael Grybko: Hundreds.

Kelton Reid: Hundreds of lives at stake thousands of feet in the air in a giant piece of metal rocketing through the sky. How do they keep their cool? Well they’ve learned to keep their cool through thousands of hours of flight simulation.

Michael Grybko: Yeah, so storytelling may be our flight simulator.

Kelton Reid: For life.

Michael Grybko: Yeah.

Kelton Reid: Interesting, interesting.

Michael Grybko: One more, I want to bring up, and this important in storytelling, is for that to be effective — I think this is important for writers to keep in mind — if storytelling is a testing ground, this flight simulator, where we can test things that are really extraordinary, maybe situations we would never encounter, what s important for the writers to keep in mind is you also can’t make it so out there that you lose the audience.

Kelton Reid: Sure.

Michael Grybko: As soon as the audience loses that empathy, that connection, that believability, then the message is not going to come across.

Kelton Reid: Sure.

Michael Grybko: As soon as you think, This will never happen in real life, then it’s game over.

Kelton Reid: Right.

Michael Grybko: Those are the great authors to me, or the great storytellers. They re the ones that can really take you out there and keep your attention and keep you believing.

Kelton Reid: Yeah. Well, kind of like how you flip through Netflix. You can be flipping through Netflix for an hour before you find a show you, and/or whomever you’re watching TV with, agree on based on your mood. Probably writers in whatever, to whomever they’re writing for, need to take into consideration their audience first. I know we’ve talked about that before also.

Michael Grybko: Right.

Kelton Reid: That the kind of story you’re telling really needs to be targeted to your audience.

Michael Grybko: Yeah, you have to know your audience.

Kelton Reid: You have to know your audience, and you have to know their hopes, dreams, fears, and what mood they’re going to be in when they find whatever it is you’re writing.

Michael Grybko: It’s hard to do.

Where Humanity Would Be without Storytelling

Kelton Reid: Whether you’re doing marketing or writing something purely to entertain people. Anyway, where would we be without storytelling? I guess that’s the million dollar question.

Michael Grybko: Yeah, it’d be boring.

Kelton Reid: Life would suck, I think. We wouldn’t daydream. We’d just be worker bees. We’d be drones. Robots.

Michael Grybko: Yeah.

Kelton Reid: Do androids dream of electric sheep?

Michael Grybko: Yeah, I don’t know. It seems like storytelling is so coupled to humanity, like we were talking about. It s been around forever, and it appears in many cultures. Would we even be here? How powerful is this? How important is it? Clearly we spend a lot of money on movies, books, theater, so it’s important.

Kelton Reid: Absolutely, so to tap into great storytelling for the good of humanity, what are we doing? Are we making sure that our audience is the hero at the center of that story that is really well-worn into our psyches already? We’ve been marketed to, and we’ve been read stories from birth, from commercials, to billboards, to storybooks, to movies, and television, and everything. Everything is really a story.

Michael Grybko: Yeah, wow. What is the world, is the observer, in the storytelling process? Are they just getting immersed in the fantasy? Or do they actually think they’re running the characters?

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: That’s probably going to vary from story to story, and from individual to individual.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: Great storytelling.

Kelton Reid: The power of a great story is really in the hands of the writer, I guess, is what we’ll circle back to.

Michael Grybko: Right. Well, and the writer understanding his or her audience.

Kelton Reid: Every great story starts with a writer.

Michael Grybko: Yes.

Kelton Reid: Now.

Michael Grybko: Yes. But they need something to write about, right? They need some event. So you have this cycle I can see forming here.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: Writers are serving something in the world. They make it interesting, and sell it back to the people they were observing.

Kelton Reid: Yeah.

Michael Grybko: It’s a great scam you’ve got going there, you writers.

Kelton Reid: We really hold the key to unlocking …

Michael Grybko: You’re getting all this material from us, and then you’re making us pay to tell us about it.

Kelton Reid: Right. It brings us, finally, back to probably input equals output, so the more great storytelling we study, the more we learn and absorb, the better our stories will become.

Michael Grybko: Yes.

Kelton Reid: Does that make sense?

Michael Grybko: Absolutely. It does to me.

Kelton Reid: All right. Michael, I think we have reached a suitable conclusion, although I’m sure that you and I could talk about this for another hour or two.

Michael Grybko: Yeah.

Kelton Reid: As we have in the past. But I think we’ll wrap it up there.

Michael Grybko: All right.

Kelton Reid: Thank you very much for your time and for taking a break from your busy schedule over there and for chatting with me again.

Michael Grybko: Oh, you’re welcome. I always enjoy these conversations.

Kelton Reid: All right, my friend, well I hope that you will revisit us here on The Writer Files.

Michael Grybko: Yeah, I’d love to.

Kelton Reid: I appreciate your time, and we will revisit The Writer’s Brain very soon.

Michael Grybko: Great, thank you.

Kelton Reid: Stay curious, my friends. Remember it’s no secret why great stories run the world. Thanks for joining me a glimpse into the workings of the writer’s brain. For more episodes of The Writer Files or to leave us a comment or a question, drop by WriterFiles.FM. You can always chat with me on Twitter, @KeltonReid. Cheers, see you out there.