by Deren Hansen
The 2 Sides of a Good Writer" in a post at the Writing on the Wall blog, and identified the writing versions of the Hatfields and McCoys: the storytellers and the word smiths.
we peel away the petty jealousy for those who collect royalties when we
collect rejections, the complaint that someone broke the "rules" and
still succeeded often comes down to storytellers and wordsmiths
complaining about each other.
How often have you heard
writers complain that a best-selling author tells a good story but is a
terrible writer? How about critiques that someone writes beautiful prose
but the story doesn't go anywhere?
You might say that
storytelling vs.word smithing simply echos the distinction between
commercial and literary fiction, where the former is all about the story
and the latter is about how the story is told. But that observation
only speaks to the stereotypes.
The deeper point is
that storytelling and word smithing represent two fundamental approaches
to the way we share narrative information. Storytelling is about
selecting and presenting the best bits. Word smithing is about telling a
bit well enough that it's interesting in its own right.
So, does this mean we have to choose sides?
of you who have been following for a while know that I don't like
dichotomies unless they lead to a synthesis. The real answer is to make
peace between the Hatfields and McCoys and strive for a good story, well