Sunday, November 8, 2009

Good Writing vs Good Story Telling

When I grow up, I want to be an author. So becoming a good writer should be at the top of my to do list. But lately I've been thinking that good story telling is infanately more important. How many times have I heard people say, Stephanie Meyer or Dan Brown or some other mega best selling author is a bad writer. These nagative comments could come out of gelousy, or they could be based on the occational poorly constructed sentance. By lets be honest, does it matter? Nobody cares if Dan Brown can't write like William Faulkner - because he can tell a story like Dan Brown.

An authors ability to come up with an interesting story idea that is unlike anything else and then to tell it a gripping and exciting way is what makes readers buy books. If the grammer is all wrong and the writing is so overly flowery that it becomes distracting people will notice. But who really freeks out over the occational adverb? I honestly don't think there is all that much of a difference between the quality of writing in the average high school students English paper and the average best selling novel. The difference is all in the story telling.

So what is involved in good story telling? The characters need to be interesting and relatable. The plot has to be fast paced enough to keep the reader interested. The events need to be original enough that the story stands out against the many other tales available. If the story teller can touch the reader/listeners emtions via laughter, sorrow, fear, ect that's great too. And that is really it.

Maybe that is what people mean when they talk about good writing. The ability to make characters come to life on the page, to grab the readers and not let go, and to make an emotional connection with the audience. So where does sentance structure come in? My answer is, no where. Stringing words together in coherent sentances has nothing to do with great books. Great books are always well told accounts of great stories.

So I'm giving up on becoming a great writer. My spelling sucks, and I often think in run on sentances. All I want to do is make up stories. Sometimes I make up stories that are seriously boring. Usually I have enough forsight to not write those stories down. My latest novel is a modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set at a high school summer camp. It's a fun story, but I don't know how great it is. I mean, obvoisly it's not totally original - it is a remake of Shakespere after all. But I'll keep dreaming, and I'll keep writing, and with a little luck oneday I will become a great storyteller.

Joke of the Day
A dyslexic entered a spelling bee and came in SALT.

1 comment:

Anissa said...

Great post! I think we should all aspire to be great storytellers. The story matters most. And with time and practice, the rest will come.