Thursday, October 30, 2014

Are You A Writer, or A Storyteller?

This past weekend I was in Austin, Texas for the Texas Book Festival. It was a great time and I was able to reconnect with some people I'd met in the past and meet some great new individuals as well. So much of what authors do in this day and age is behind a computer screen. It's only at events like this that we get to have face to face contact with both readers and other authors.

Saturday night I was chatting with an editor. During this conversation she mentioned that she'd had a problem with a  few authors she'd worked with where they would want her to prove some grammatical rule before they would agree to make the change she was recommending. They're writers, after all. This is their craft. They know how to write sentences.

My response was that she wouldn't have to worry about that with me. I'm not a writer. I'm a storyteller.

This might seem like semantics, but I promise that it's not. As a storyteller, I am focused on telling the story to the best of my ability. This means I am less concerned with spelling and grammar. That is what I have editors for. I don't profess to know what dangling participles are, or whether or not I'm using subjunctive tense. They have nothing to do with the story itself. Again, there is a reason I have editors.

While not all 'writers' fall into this category, many of them do. I've met quite a few in the four years I've been published. Some have graduated from college with an English or Creative Writing degree. Others simply feel they have a solid grasp on the English language and refuse to be told that something they thought was right is in fact wrong.

So which one are you? Leave a comment below and tell us if you consider yourself a writer or a storyteller.


  1. Storyteller - being called a writer is like calling a housewife a domestic engineer. We "writers" are the modern day version of the the tribal elders passing on stories and legends - but instead of telling the stories verbally - we communicate through writing therefore we are storytellers.

    1. I love your explanation, Victoria. Thank you.

  2. As an editor, I'd much rather edit a "storyteller" than a "writer" who fights me tooth and nail...I am one of those editors who fight to keep the authors voice and story, but also make it as clean as possible. Most times, I will defer to the author because it is their story, but there are times when it just has to get changed. Love my job! :)