“Put Samantha Shad’s book at the top of your reading list. Not just because of the masterfully delivered scientific data that demonstrates how the act of writing can provide solace for heart, body and soul but especially for the hard-won wisdom that teaches how we can all manifest the confidence to create conscious choice in our lives.” Georgia Jeffries Author, Screenwriter and Professor, University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts
Readers prepare yourselves for an adventure. You are facing a master storyteller who challenges the reader with a book on reading and writing fiction. Things get even more exciting when Samantha Shad dives headfirst in brain sciences that participate in the creative process. This should be a warning for the reader to buckle their seatbelt for what Joseph Campbell once called the hero’s journey. Ms. Shad is a storyteller (or mythmaker) on a hero’s quest through a jungle of dangerous facts and poisonous footnotes. Follow her path and you will definitely enjoy, and perhaps profit immensely by following her on a journey into creativity and imagination.” Jarrett Barnhill, MD, DFAPA, FAACAP, Professor and Director, University of North Carolina Developmental Neuropharmacology Clinic
“Samantha Shad shows us how each character in our story reflects a little part of ourselves and gives us the opportunity to sort out multiple approaches to our lives as we inspire the lives of our readers. As Shad writes, "Stories are problem-solving machines for the audience." If you want the rules for writing to happiness this is the book for you. Not only does Shad show you how to do it, she also explains what's happening in your brain as you engage your story, create your characters, follow them on their journey and, at the same time, have fun in the process.” Maureen Murdock, author, Unreliable Truth: On Memoir and Memory and The Heroine’s Journey
This treasure of a book is a delight-to-read tool that shows how we can use our innate talent to tell stories to reprogram our lives. First prescribing the elements of a good story and showing how we can find them in our own lives, Ms. Shad then points to the latest scientific studies to authenticate her methodology. If you have a problem in your life that you can’t seem to solve, this is the book for you." JoAnne O’Brien-Levin, PhD, Coaching To Wisdom Developmental Editor
Wish I’d read this book forty years ago…. I could’ve spent a lot more time on the Riviera!” Arnold Shulman, screenwriter A Chorus Line, And the Band Played On.
Tickle your funny bone as you read about how to write your way to happiness. The medium is the message in Samantha Shad’s book Write to Happiness. While I was smiling my way through page after page of how to write a story, the arc of my first attempt at fiction became clear. Cheryl Wilfong, author The Meditative Gardner.
An intelligent, thoughtful, and thoroughly entertaining presentation of the best strategies and tactics for crafting the best stories. Samantha Shad is a master storyteller who now shows she is a master teacher as well. She knows how to unpack the powerful magic of story to help us all improve our use of story. I will refer to it time and again in my own work. Carl Nordgren, author Becoming a Creative Genius (again).
This brilliant book takes Story from its source in human development, through its connections to neuroscience. It is the most comprehensive melding of current thoughts on brain plasticity and Story's ability to affect our lives. I'd recommend The Write To Happiness to anyone who is serious about being a writer as well as to anyone who is serious about becoming a happier person. Beth Sullivan, creator and executive producer Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
…does a wonderful job helping the writer become their most effective storytelling self. The Independent Book Review.
There are so many 'how to write' books on the market that a wannabe writer might wonder at the need for yet another, let alone how to make a choice between them. Wonder no longer, because The Write to Happiness is a standout on the subject. It is distinctive because of its ability to cover the basics of crafting ideas into plot, character, setting, and premise into a wider-ranging analysis of what writing ultimately teaches both reader and author.
Samantha Shad was a screenwriter for 22 years. She moved from neurotic and aspiring to being a success—and then she left for other pursuits not because she was frustrated, but because she was happy, and because her success at writing had unlocked other doors and different pathways in life: "I left because I was happy and there were better places for me to enjoy my life. Yup. I left because I was happy. I knew that writing had transformed my life. Every script I wrote seemed to pose an interesting question that had been smoldering below my consciousness, and a few months later that particular problem was gone. The burdens of life lightened because I sat down and wrote about imaginary people doing fantastic things in fictional places."
Her discussion of this process and how it can apply to fellow writers embraces both neuroscience and literacy, drawing unusual links between developing good storytelling skills and using writing to pen a better life. This unusual approach sets The Write to Happiness far apart from the usual methodology approach because it links writing skills with life satisfaction, and because its focus is always on the connections between these two, not just the mechanics of producing a novel or a work of nonfiction.
Chapters advocate developing focus and intuitive thinking and creating links between templates for good writing and brain-changing activities promoting positive change. They point out how to integrate writing's lessons into a bigger picture of a better life.
Shad's approach links heart and mind to the hard process of writing. Her explanations thus avoid the usual singular focus on mechanical processes in favor of exploring links between good writing and heartfelt expression: "The perfect fit often pits the external goal of the character in direct conflict with a preexisting emotional or moral wound that is expressed in the backstory of your protagonist. Backstory, when used well, is not “what happened before the story begins.” Backstory expresses your protagonist’s pre-existing emotional condition or the wounds which caused her to be hurtled into this specific story to begin with. Backstory is useful when it reveals what is in the character’s heart."
As part of Shad's wide-ranging coverage, she employs examples from history, literature, her own life experience, and the sciences to reinforce ideas of how to push improvements onto one's writing and, from there, into one's personal life: "Viktor Frankl demonstrated that perspective can, indeed, be everything. His determination to see his loved ones again helped him persevere through horror and later provide a depth of understanding that has been a great boon to many millions of lives. That’s the value of perspective and attitude. His own life proves the truth of his work. His opus is challenging to read, yet 12 million copies have been circulated worldwide because of the strength and depth of his message. Changing your perspective is not like putting on a new lipstick and calling your strut a new attitude. This is soul work."
By now, it should be obvious that The Write to Happiness holds far more than writing admonitions and advice. It's a life purpose guide packed with psychological insights, all presented in a digestible form that links personal life experience to literary aspirations and prowess.
Improving writing translates to improving life itself. This is a powerful message, indeed: one worthy of buying into, and one that places The Write to Happiness heads and shoulders above the competition in either creative writing or self-help literature.
Writers who seek to accomplish more than churning out formula productions, and who are not above more than a bit of self-examination and improvement along the way, will find The Write to Happiness a leader in many ways. It employs a compelling, personal touch to capture vignettes and examples from life that illustrate why some books and authors are standouts in not only their fields, but their lives. Publisher’s Daily Review