Monday, August 02, 2010

Storytellers v. Writers

Up until recently, I've always thought that Storytellers WERE writers. That they were one in the same. But now, after stepping into this writer's world, I have noticed that many writers see a difference. This morning in The Practice Room we were discussing how Stephanie Meyer is a great story teller, but necessarily a great writer.
I had never thought of this before. To me, they were always synonymous. What is the major difference? Is this true, or is this just snobbery? Is there something to this? Who decides what is and isn't good writing?

Discuss below in comments :-)


Milo James Fowler said...

These types of distinctions often strike me as nothing short of snobbery. "Literary" vs. "commercial" fiction would be another example. Does a "storyteller" not focus on the writing itself as much as a "writer"?

I strive to tell a good, well-written story, but I find myself coming up short in terms of artistic language. I look at someone like Bradbury, and I wish my prose had more poetry to it. Maybe I should focus less on "Point A to Point B" stories and entrench myself in each sentence, making it as colorful and sensory-rich as it can possibly be.

Maybe that's the difference.

ElegantSnobbery said...

IMO, writers can write and story-tellers can tell kickass stories. They don't always go together. I've read stuff from people who were excellent writers. Every sentence was perfectly crafted. But the stories... sucked. Not exciting, characters had no personality, plot had no flavor... I had to force myself to read through those perfectly written sentences until I hit the end, and I couldn't WAIT for it to be done.

I like to think I'm a story-teller, and HOPEFULLY my writing ability will catch up with me :)

Natalie said...

It's all subjective. One person may love an author's writing style and another person may think it's terrible, but might like the story anyway. I definitely like the way some authors write more than others. But just because I don't think someone is a great writer doesn't mean they aren't. You know?

Everything about this business is subjective.

Alleged Author said...

I agree with Natalie! Sometimes it's really hard for a great storyteller to put pencil to paper and write the story they told in a way an agent/publisher will think is marketable.

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Mohamed Mughal said...

I agree with Natalie above; beauty (literary and otherwise) is in the eye of the beholders....oops...a cliche :)

AlyGatr said...

I think there is a distinction between someone who is good at writing from a technical and mechanical standpoint but might not be a compelling story teller. I definitely have seen a lot of published books that were entertaining stories but not exactly the best written.

Laura Pauling said...

I think that almost anyone can learn to write. But I feel the art of storytelling is harder to learn and something that comes from within the writer. The best books have both! (for me)

Anita said...

Laura's correct...the best books are both beautifully written and tell a great story. Not easy work.

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