I read a guest blog post by storyteller E.M. Welsh on May 8, 2017. It was posted on Kristen Kieffer’s Well-Storied.com blog [https://www.well-storied.com] and addressed writer’s ego. I was interested in the topic, so I read the entire blog post. The post prompted me to go to Ms. Welsh’s website. I signed up for her weekly e-mails because what she had written gave me a different perspective on storytelling.
Quoting from an e-mail I received from E.M. Welsh a few minutes later:
“You might think you know what a “storyteller” is, but over at emwelsh.com we have a different idea about the definition, and that idea is the core of my website.
“A storyteller is someone who loves storytelling in all forms. This means not just novel writing, like what Kristen [Kieffer] teaches, but screenwriting, playwriting, and even video game writing as well.
Ms. Welsh continued, “Because of this love of all mediums, the storyteller always thinks in terms of what they can do to tell the best story possible, not to do what is considered comfortable. So, if that means writing a screenplay instead of a novel, even though they’re more familiar with prose, they’ll do it if it means telling a better story.”
I must admit that, although I wrote two historical plays for my church’s 250th anniversary in 2001, since then I have thought of myself as an aspiring novelist. Ms. Welsh’s e-mail statements and additional information on her website and in her free downloadables made me stop and consider how limiting that mindset (the “aspiring novelist” one) can be.
In a nutshell
Ms. Welsh’s theory is that the story dictates the format. I had never looked at it that way, so it is interesting and enlightening to consider. What this boils down to is the fact that the story is the important thing. Not the writer, but the story.
The story tells the writer whether it is a novel, a screenplay, a play, or a video game.
Looking at a story from this perspective is both challenging and freeing for a writer.
Am I writing because I want to be a writer, or am I writing because I am a writer?
In other words, am I in love with the dream of what it would be like to see my name as author of a book, or am I compelled to write because that is what I am driven to do?
Kristen Kieffer and E.M. Welsh warn us not to let ego get in the way of writing.
Until my next blog post
I hope you have a good book to read. I finished reading The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah (excellent!) and am currently reading Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi.
If you’re a writer, I hope you have productive writing time.
2 thoughts on “A Different Perspective on Storytelling”
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