From Words to Brain to Come Out With 40k Books!

Congratulations to nhile, the winner of last week's drawing for Writing Great Books for Young Adults!

Some of you might recognize the name 40k Books from my twitter stream or the recent interview with Tom Stafford. They are a new press that spends a lot of time thinking about digital books and the future of publishing. Their publishing model focuses on essays and novelettes, and they publish these works internationally in several different languages. I recommend their twitter feed, where they share useful links about writing and publishing.

Today, I'm happy to announce that my essay From Word to Brain will be coming out with 40K books in a few months! Here's a short description from the original query letter:

In the movie The Matrix, humans plug into computers that transmit information directly into their brains, fooling their neurons into experiencing an artificial world. While science cannot yet replicate this, a similar technology has been around for a few thousand years. Written words create a virtual reality experience for readers every day.

The process starts when a reader sees letters on a page or computer screen. In less than a tenth of a second, the retina picks up the information, and the optic nerve transmits it to the brain’s visual cortex. There, specialized reading regions decode these letters into meaningful words. After that, the higher level sensory regions take over, transforming the words into sights, smells, and sounds.

But stories are more than sensory images. The core of a story lies within the people, emotions, and events that the images describe. The brain therefore engages additional regions. Some process emotion. Others infer the thoughts of others, letting us empathize with their experiences. Yet more regions package the experience into memories for future reflection. The brain is not merely a passive vessel, playing out stories like movies on a screen. Rather, it interacts with the text, drawing on its own knowledge and perspective to create an experience that is unique to each person.

In From Words to Brain, I take the reader on a tour of the reading experience. We will go systematically through the levels, from early visual processing, through sensory and visual imagery, to the social and emotional experiences that ultimately give a story meaning. The essay will be of interest to those in storytelling professions – writers, filmmakers, editors, and publishers, as well as anyone who enjoys a good tale and wants to know what happens behind the scenes.


  1. That sounds like a really interesting book. I think it's one of the reasons I love writing so much. It's the power of choosing what happens next. Deciding the path of characters and plot. I'm going to look up that book.


  2. Sounds like a great book, will check it out. Thanks for sharing:)

  3. Love your site. Would love for you to follow mine as well. Thanks.

    The Disconnected Writer

  4. First off, I'd like to say THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!!! *jumps up and down whilst squealing*

    From your excerpt, I'm definitely impressed and curious to read more! (:

  5. Congratulations, Livia! I've always been interested in science (unless followed by the word "class"), and I'm looking forward to getting the words of your essay into my brain.

  6. Nate - Sad how the word "class" kinda sucks the fun out of it huh?