Saturday, February 10, 2007
I've decided; I don't want to be a writer any more.
So, that got your attention. Now let me explain; I've realised that the writing isn't the most important thing. I'll still write, of course, but my first ambition isn't to become a good writer; my first ambition is to become a good story teller.
Yes, I'm thinking fiction stories specifically. But its not just fiction; I've realised that people like the reports and the manuals I write, because they too tell a story. I'm a member of an organisation called TCANZ - the Technical Communicators Association of New Zealand. The members write all sorts of technical documents and they would probably be horrified to be told that they are story tellers. But they are. They tell the story of how this piece of equipment works, how this software works, how this procedure should be performed. Its a story which has to be told a special way, but it is still a story.
The point is, that before we can write, we need to be able to tell a story. There is an art in story telling; it's the art of engaging the reader in the story; it's the art of carrying them along with you, the teller; it's the art of painting a picture of what is in your mind in such a way that the reader can 'get' what you are trying to say.
A good story can be written in mediocre prose and still make a good read. A badly told story is never redeemed by well structured and grammatically correct writing. Now, don't misunderstand me - I'm not saying that bad writing is OK as long as the story is good. I'm saying that a well told story will carry the reader through most minor writing indiscretions. What we should aim for is great story and great writing. But if the story telling is crook, then the whole thing is crook.
So, I wannabe a good story teller; how about you?