At first glance, neuroscience and fiction may seem strange bedfellows. But as it turns out, when you hook up the average human being to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and give them a novel to read, a veritable Fourth of July goes off in some niftily specific areas of their brain.
Which should be of particular interest to any bona fide lit geek.
It's not as if the men and women in the white coats have cracked the code for writing the next bestseller. But there's plenty of food for thought in the emerging body of work on the neuroscience of fiction (and art in general). Far more, in fact, than I could hope to tackle here.
So please know—this isn't a complete primer on the subject or an in-depth examination. It's simply one editor's quick and dirty take on what current brain science tells us about fiction that kicks ass.