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

Literary Bullying?

I read this post today from the blog, Write In Between. The writer talks about the attitudes expressed to her for showing an interest in popular fiction rather then focusing on that which is “literary”. This got me thinking….

Lately I’ve come across several displays of judgmental intolerance concerning the written word. You know them–the stone-throwers–people who can’t come to terms with the fact that not everyone is just like them. There are many who thrive on building themselves up by tearing others down. But if you are a writer, behaving toward others in this manner is almost as smart as shooting yourself in the foot.

I said almost as smart…

But, not quite.

Recently I came across a blog spouting horrible insults at any woman brainless and pathetic enough to ever enjoy reading a romance novel. Turns out the writer is a fiction author. I think he writes “guy” novels–action, espionage and the like. I suppose he believes his own writing is far superior to anything the romance genre could ever produce. Who knows. He could be right.

Here’s the thing…

I sometimes read “guy” books. I was such a voracious reader as a girl, I would often pick up stuff my dad had lying around the house. As long as it wasn’t too violent (I’m not big on horror) I’d read it. Even now, I am still drawn into these types of books from time to time. And I doubt I’m the only reader in the world who is tempted to cross genre lines and try different things. So… do you see what this guy does? He cuts off a portion of his own potential audience by slinging his vicious attitude directly at readers of a certain genre.

Might I enjoy reading one of his books? Maybe. Will I ever buy one for myself or as a gift? Not a chance.  Perhaps I am stupid enough to to read the occasional romance novel. I, however, am not stupid enough to give this jerk my money.

To wrap things up, I’ll say this: every author has the absolute right to act like a pompous ass. We would never deny them that right. On the other hand, readers have the absolute right to choose which authors they do and don’t support. If you are a writer, even one who is not yet published, do yourself a favor and always keep that in mind as you tweet/Facebook/blog your opinions to the world. It only takes one thoughtless comment to destroy a career.

And if you experience “literary bullying” here’s my advice. Read the genre you want. Write the genre you want. Be who you are!

Laura Ritchie

The Rules Have Changed for Authors

I’ve learned so much about the whole

“Social Networking” thing these past few months, and I just wanted to share this blog by Donna Newton.

The balance has shifted. Nowadays, the majority of published authors find they are responsible for most, or all, of their own promotion. Donna offers sound advice to prepare writers for that eventuality, and some great books that will guide them along the way.

http://donnanewtonuk.com/2012/03/16/so-you-want-to-be-an-author-part-three-social-media/#comment-1677

Keep Writing!

Laura

A Book Review on Kristen Lamb’s “We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media”

I haven’t blogged for a while. That’s because I’ve been busy having my world turned upside down. Someone said, “A writer MUST have a blog,” so I made one. Somebody else said, “Start a fan site on Facebook,” so I did. Then they tell you to build a what? A platform? How the heck do you do that?

Well, you start by reading We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide To Social Media by Kristen Lamb. Am I a social media success story? Seriously, people… it’s been, like, a week since I read the book. No. Baby steps. Or they will be baby steps when I get that far. Right now I’m doing that thing babies do before they crawl. You know… the squiggling around on their belly stage? But I’m beginning to “get” it. It’s not quite as terrifying as anticipated, and best of all, it’s attainable.

If you are a writer with no idea of where to begin, or you have been making efforts that aren’t progressing as you’d hoped, check out this book.

Anyway, here’s my Goodreads review:

Laura Ritchie‘s review

Feb 25, 12    5 of 5 stars

bookshelves: non-fictionfavoritesfabulouswriting-help

Read in February, 2012

I came across Kristen Lamb’s blog, and after reading a few posts, I immediately purchased two of her books. “We are Not Alone” is a great tool for writers trying to find their way in the big scary world of social media. You will learn a lot about setting up your accounts on sites like WordPress, Facebook and Twitter, but more importantly, you learn what you should do with those sites once you have them.

Her clear instructions and great sense of humor ease the process, however, you should be aware that there have been upgrades made to the social networks, so some of the step-by-step instructions won’t be spot-on.

Ms. Lamb is the first person to make the concept of “building a platform” seem achievable to me… not just that, but made me happy about jumping in with both feet. I look forward to reading her next book: “Are You There Blog? It’s Me, Writer”.

Keep writing!

Laura

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