Good Writer or Good Storyteller?

My wife and I talk a lot about books.  While she is a much more voracious reader than I am at this stage in our lives, we often read the same books and discuss them afterwards.  One of the common conversations we have is whether or not the author was a good writer, a good storyteller, or the rare combination of both.

As I look at my bookshelf right now, I can easily classify writers that are up on the shelf in any of those three categories. Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson) to me is a decent writer but a great storyteller.  I put Jonathan Stroud (Bartimaeus) in that category as well.  Christopher Paolini (Inheritence) is a great writer and a so-so storyteller.  The big guns that capture both? JK Rowling (Harry Potter), Robin Hobb (Assassin trilogy of trilogies), George RR Martin (A Song of Ice and Fire).

There is only one author up there that I think is bad at both and those books (Twilight) don’t belong to me.  I even put them in a less prominent position on the bookshelf to try to hide them without getting her mad at me.  However, that is a whole different discussion that you can just go to this Tumblr to read about (Reasoning With Vampires).

When trying to be honest and analyze myself, I feel I am along the lines of of an okay writer and good storyteller.  If the reviews I am getting on Smashwords and Amazon are any indication, I think I’ve been able to consider myself pretty accurately.  What do you prefer reading? (if you had to pick one of the two and not one of the writers who are great at both)




1 comment

    • Rin on July 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm
    • Reply

    Honestly I would go with the storytelling but that’s largely for the reasons that I believe the writing genre can change and what was good one day is considered horrible the next. Stories or a great storyteller can last forever. I don’t aspire to be a great writer but a great storyteller and I believe if many more novelists did the same (or really worked equally hard at both) then we would have a grand new wave of books the world over.

    Oh and btw I agree with you on most of those authors but Christoper Paolini’s secondbook Eldest was lacking. The other two books were great though.

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