A Writer’s Look At Storytelling: Comparing Crafts

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Last week, Kait Nolan posted about telling bedtime stories, (which you can read here) and the discussion got me thinking about the art of oral storytelling.

Long preceding the written word, storytelling is a craft quite unique from ours. Like comparing apples and oranges, storytellers and writers have things in common, but there are also many differences. The writer searches painstakingly for the perfect words, drawing a reader in with intricate details that add depth to characters and plot. The storyteller, like the writer, develops a story with a beginning, middle, and end… but they are very selective of the details they include, relying upon tone of voice, dialect, facial expressions, and body movement as added tools to connect them with their audience.

I’ll admit I’m not much of a storyteller. I can relate actual events of my day to people. I can tell a joke and get the expected response. What I’m lousy at, is telling a good-old once-upon-a-time—the stuff I love to write the most. So… does my way of analyzing these stories as a writer get in the way of my attempts to tell an effective story? I believe that may be my problem.

Do you have any personal storytelling experience? Tell us about it! Have you had the opportunity to listen to a professional storyteller—to consider the similarities and differences in our crafts?  Feel free to chime in and share your thoughts. Would love to hear from you!

Laura Ritchie

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