Writer versus Storyteller

Stephen King once said that the Twilight book series read as if it had been written by a high school kid. In Stephenie Meyer’s defense he also said that she might not be a good writer, but she was a good storyteller. I think most writers fall into one of those categories or the other. Stephen King is a good storyteller, but I get the feeling that he wants to be a good writer. I’ve always felt that is what the whole Dark Tower series is about. A teacher of mine once said that literature is something with artistic value, something that makes you think beyond the story. I believe that storytelling is just the opposite. Storytelling attempts to make the reader think of nothing but the story. A writer makes you consider your life. A storyteller makes you forget your life. I read a short story once by a very prestigious author. The story was about a woman being sexually assaulted. All the while she was being assaulted she kept thinking about all the times in her life she had been assaulted in different ways, mainly figuratively. By her credentials, I imagine it was very good writing. It was a horrendous story. Which am I, writer or storyteller? I believe an author can no more judge whether he is a writer or a storyteller than one can judge their own intelligence or singing ability. I once heard Mickey Spillane say that he didn’t think of himself as a writer. He said writers were people like Faulkner and Hemmingway. He was a storyteller and proud of it. I could do worse than that.



About thewritingdeputy

Joel Jurrens was a deputy sheriff for 26 years until he retired in 2013. He has published three novels: In The Sticks, Graves of His Personal Liking and County Ops: The Vengeance of Gable Fitzgerald. He tries to keep his blog light and humorous and sometimes downright silly.
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