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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Writers, Authors, and Storytellers By Celia Yeary #celiayeary #rebeccajvickery


Celia Yeary…Romance, and a little bit of Texas
Are you a Writer, an Author, or a Storyteller?

The question might seem obvious, but a subtle distinction exists between the three. Of course, we are writers. Practically everyone is a writer--"a person who uses written words to communicate ideas." Another way to describe a writer is: "the word refers to the creation of human language."
Man has conveyed his thoughts and stories from the age of the Caveman.

We've grown up writing. At age three, we used crayons to draw a picture and add a crooked letter here and there, "writing a letter to Grandmother."As we grow up, we write notes to friends, essays for a class, or a love letter to someone we adore. We write something every day, some way. We might even keep a diary.

A professional writer uses words to produce creative pieces such as literary art, novels, short stories, poetry, plays, news articles, essays, or songs. Writers often write about how to write, or why they write, or write critical articles about someone else's writing. Often a professional writer gets paid when a piece is published.

An author is one who originates any written work. An author can claim responsibility for creating the writing.
A storyteller is one who conveys events in words, images, and sounds, often by embellishing and improvising the tale. The storyteller educates, preserves cultural phenomenon, instills moral values, and entertains. The narration, then, includes a plot and characters, complete with a point of view.

When I began writing, I did not refer to myself as anything other than "someone who wrote stories." Calling myself an author didn't sound right. All my stories were stored in files and folders in my computer. But with my first contract, I felt perfectly at ease referring to myself as an author. I became...Celia Yeary, Author.

With published stories came reviews. I will never forget the day when one reviewer called me a true "storyteller." Wow. That somehow made an impression, as though I had reached some pinnacle of success. I held that thought close and still do. For someone to refer to me as a storyteller still makes me proud.

Today, my local readers are very generous is telling me what they think of my newest book. Often the person will say something similar: "How do you think of all these stories? They're so good. I can almost see the people and landscape," I'm actually hearing, "You're such a good storyteller."

No one uses "author," and I take their words to mean, "storyteller."

I love lists, so I Googled “World’s Greatest Story Tellers.” As with any topic, lists varied except in the case of several unique names that always appeared. So, here is my list, compiled from several other lists:
Jesus
William Shakespeare
Charles Dickens
Stephen King
Jane Austen
J. K. Rowling
Roal Dahl
Neil Gaiman.

I knew of all these except the last two—which I had to Google!
Okay, do you know—without looking—why these last two are on the list? What did they write that became so enduring?

To me, a real “storyteller” is one who creates images in the mind of the readers.
My short list of those I would add to the list are:


Louis L’Amour-wrote Western adventure/love stories.

Willa Cather—told of Frontier Life on the Great Plains.

What do you think about this idea? Which are you? Have you been called a storyteller? Is it really the best compliment?
I like all three terms--writer, author, storyteller. Me...You...all wrapped up in one package.







23 comments:

  1. A very thought-provoking post, Celia. I like the word "author" and feel it carries some weight. "Novelist" sounds even more prestigious to me and I've never used the word in connection with my name. Novelist also seems to exclude any kind of writing except novels so it wouldn't fit me even if I were comfortable using the word. A storyteller conveys to me oral more than written words. One can spend a lot of time discussing semantics and not reach any concrete conclusions as I'm doing here! I'm off to Google Gaiman.

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    1. The reason I understand that makes being a "storyteller" special, is that the reader can "see" the scene, if that makes any sense. I had to stop and think about this. I have read novels that leave me a little empty because I could not imagine the setting. A good writer, as you and others I know, write so that the setting/scene almost comes alive--and best when little explanation is needed. I'm so hard trying to think of an example...and can't.

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  2. I think one can be a good story teller and yet not a writer or an author even. fortunate is he who is all of the above, huh? An oral story teller doesn't have to worry about word count!

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    1. Hi, Juda--Hmm, never thought about the word count problem. I do know people who are great storytellers..one is a gentleman who is in a nursing home, now, but give him a hint of an opening on some subject, and he can relate and weave a story of it. "Let me tell you about the time I lost my forefinger while rodeoing...." And off he goes on the intriguing tale. But he's never written anything. I wish he had...with his memory, all those wonderful stories are gone forever.

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  3. Yes, it's all about the story. A successful author gets a reader interested in the story. If the story's good enough, a reader might even ignore slight imperfections in the author's work. However, if the errors are glaring, the story gets overshadowed by them. You, Celia, are a great story teller!

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    1. Ahh, Morgan..thank you! And I agree with your explanation.

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  4. Having invented stories for as long as I can remember (even before I could write), I consider myself a storyteller. The fact that, as I grew older, I found I could write those stories in a way that people could relate to was a bonus! So basically I write stories - that's how I think of myself, rather than as an author or novelist. Interesting blog, Celia, which made me think!

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    1. Some authors are like you--sort of born telling stories and writing. Not me. I was a late comer to writing and story-telling. But when it hit me in my retirement age, stories just gushed out. I couldn't even explain what had happened to me! Writing stories readers could relate to is a special gift..One reason I can't read paranormal stories is that I cannot relate to them--odd, but it's all foreign to me. Thanks for your comment.

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  5. I think I'm a bit of all three, though I love being a storyteller the most - because the words transport you and everyone else to a special story world. I love your list of storytellers, but I need to add the Brother's Grimm for Grimm's Fairy Tales. Those were some on my children's first exposure to stories and they loved them. Still do!

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    1. You're a storyteller, for sure. I love the way you write, and as Paula was speaking of "relating," I can relate to your stories. You know I'm not a mystery reader--but your mysteries are more about the characters--the reason I can relate to them. Thanks for dropping by and your comment.

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  6. Much to think about. I have my list of stories I've read over my lifetime that stuck in my mind, and in every case it's because there were characters that came to life. A good storyteller does make you want to return again and again to the world he or she created. Even if it's re-reading the same story.

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    1. You are so right. My favorite romance author of all time wrote 26 books--then she retired. By the time I discovered romance novels--I read science fiction and westerns--she had already retired. So these books were old. Never mind--I dearly loved every one and have a paperback copy of each and every one.
      The funny part is that her writing style would never make it through a publisher's desk--no strict POV, mainly. But man, could she tell a story. I can relate the plot of each and every one. Thanks for your thoughts, Gerald.

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  7. I started my career with those crayons, moved on to telling whoppers, to becoming an author upon my first publication, and now I hope with all my heart I have graduated to claim the title Story Teller.
    I didn't start with romance stories in the beginning of my reading. I loved science fiction, mysteries, and classic literature. I was 33 when I read my first romance novel--Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss.
    I always enjoy your articles, Celia. You always put a personal twist to your blogs that just make me dig in and think. You generate such interest and, best of all, participation from those of us who read them.

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  8. Hey, Sarah--thanks.
    Again, we share some of the same likes--science fiction. This is what I read daily when I retired. I taught at a military boarding school, and we teachers did not always go home at night...or we went home at four and were back at 7...for basketball games--girls and boys, football games, plays, all kind of things in which we acted much like parents. The only thing I read for pleasure were magazines at night. But upon retirement I could not stay away from our public library. Yes, Science Fiction by the ton, and also Women's Fiction--the years of Maeve Binchy and others. Then I took up old westerns...just about overdosed on those, and one day--a romance book. Okay, I was hooked although I had heard friends talk about "those trashy silly love stories." Uh-uh. Not Elizabeth Lowell, and LaVyrle Spencer, and Penelope Williams, and Janet Dailey, and Sandra Brown, and oh, so many others. I fell in love with romance novels.
    Thank you so much--I always wait to see what you say in a comment. Strange how we always have something in common.

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  9. I envy you, Celia, and the other authors in the comments section for your ability to come up with so many ideas for stories. For some of us, it isn't that easy. We struggle and find we don't have much enthusiasm for the ideas we come up with. Nice post.

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    1. But when you do have a good idea, you have a great one. I hope another comes to you...I would love to read another one of your novels.

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  10. Roald Dahl has written so many wonderful children's stories. Many of which have been made into movies.

    Neil Gaiman has written so many books and stories in multiple genres. He's also written for different forms of media, too.

    denise

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    1. Yes, he did. I did not know his name, but I knew the works he did.

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  11. Fun post, Celia! I'm not a writer or an author these days. I've been torn in too many directions with babysitting grandchildren, working at a seasonal job for a few months, and dealing with other family issues. I need to get back to my writing. I loved reading your mail-order stories, Celia! You write great stories!

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    1. Diane--you do have your hands full. But oh, aren't you blessed. We've never had family around us..brief visits for one reason or another. I think, in the long run, I have been a better long-distance grandmother than one nearby. One day,though, you will get to write again. The urge doesn't go away....I don't think.

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  12. Great post, Celia. Enjoyed it.I like word storyteller. The books that I've held dear were written by fantastic storytellers. :)

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  13. Thanks, Karen...I like a story also as told by a "storyteller."

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  14. This is great, Celia. I like storyteller the best. I have no idea where my stories come from, they're just there wanting to be put into print.

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Comments relevant to the blog post are welcome as long as they are noninflammatory and appropriate for everyone of all ages to read.
Thank you for your interest and input.