The Science of Scene // Webinar

Time Perception, Neuroscience, and Story

The Science of Scene // Webinar

We humans are really bad at keeping track of time.

Our (mis)perception of time is affected by fight or flight moments, novel experiences, and altered-state experiences … and these are the kinds of powerful moments that we most often write about in creative nonfiction. How can we make the movement of time on the page mirror the way that time appears to move in our minds?

In this webinar, we’ll see how understanding the cognitive neuroscience surrounding time perception can help writers can turn memories and experiences into authentic scenes that move readers. We’ll talk about why we need scenes at all as well as how we choose which memories to share through scenes and which might be better suited to summary. We’ll also look at examples of various approaches to reflecting time on the page.

In this webinar, you will:

  • EXAMINE the science of time perception concerning how and why humans often misperceive time during their most powerful life moments;
  • DISCOVER the five speeds of scene and learn how we can use gaps, summaries, dilation, and other techniques to mirror how our brains perceive time;
  • LEARN about incident frequency and how we can use iterative, normative, and repetitive frequencies to match how we remember the most powerful moments of our lives.

Wednesday, October 14th, 2020

2 pm - 3:15 pm EDT

Advance registration required.
Space is limited.

$10 if registered by 10/04/2020*
$15 if registered after 10/04/2020

Registration will close 24 hours before the event.

A recording of the webinar will be sent out to all registrants three business days after the event.

PLEASE NOTE: It may take a little while for us to process your order and send you the link to the webinar. If you haven't received the link by the morning of October 14, please email us at

About the instructor: Sean Prentiss is the award-winning author of Finding Abbey: the Search for Edward Abbey and His Hidden Desert Grave, which won the National Outdoor Book Award, the Utah Book Award, and the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award. He is also the author of Crosscut: Poems, which is a memoir-in-poems about his days as a trail builder, Environmental and Nature Writing, and Advanced Creative Nonfiction (2021).

The series editor for the Bloomsbury Writers Guide and Anthologies Series, Prentiss is coeditor of The Far Edges of the Fourth Genre: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction and The Science of Story: The Brain Behind Creative Nonfiction, which inspired this talk.

*This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Questions? Please call us at 412-404-2975 or email the director of education, Sharla Yates, at