Been thinking about this for a few days now – mostly questions on what makes a good writer vs a good storyteller. There are plenty of books out there that I’ve read where the mechanics of the writing isn’t always very stellar, but I’m more than willing to overlook the flaws, simply because the characters are great, or the story really is that good. And the flip side of that is that there are also plenty of mechanically perfect writers out there, but if the story isn’t very good then I’m more likely to just set it down.
When I was little, I used to tell stories to myself in my head all the time. In fact, when I played with my dolls or stuffed animals, I’d have them act out miniature epics of things I can’t quite remember right now. (But at the time I know the act of telling the story was very important to me). Even growing up, whenever I played with my toys, it was silent. I could hear the words in my head, the voices of the characters, the inflection of the phrases – but I could never quite bring myself to say them aloud…even in my own room.
When I got older, that lessened a bit, though due to the fact that I was ever the perennial nerd, I didn’t have many friends. I would escape into the stories, almost as though I were telling *my* story to someone else. Everything I did, I would echo in my head in story form. “The girl walked up the road, humming softly to herself.” (Or whatever I was doing at the time).
Eventually it would expand into stories that didn’t involve me, and I’d catch myself saying lines from the stories, or at least moving my mouth quietly as I imagined some well-thought retort or clever saying. And then at some point, someone found me out and made fun of me for doing it…and so I stopped.
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed that I’m speaking to my inner storyteller again – and yes, I seem to have gone back to mouthing the lines…although it tends to happen when I’m *not* writing, most of all. Like when I’m driving to work, for example.
It’s strange, but maybe it’s just the way the story has to be told.