Is there a thin line between writing and simple storytelling???

Not all writers are excellent storytellers, but not all storytellers are amazing writer. Is that correct?
However, there are few authors who are talented at being both amazing storytellers and writers, right?

So, I would like to know from all of you what is your opinion.
What do you think?



It’s really the difference between oral storytelling and a clearly defined story with a classic structure, to me. Our earliest stories were meant to be spoken, and we still tell those stories to kids.


What makes you say that?

True, very true…

Formality gets in the way of organic story building. Not that you can’t do well or awful either direction, but if I’m trying to get a gripping but simple story across, obsessing with formality will kill it.

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I’ve never read a story so amazing I could overlook grammar, punctuation, spelling errors, structural problems, etc. There’s just no story that fantabulous; at least, if there is, no one’s ever told it. So in order to be a good storyteller you have to have a good grasp of the mechanics. To me there’s no thin line–there’s no line at all. A good story has to have both or it has neither. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯


So, there is no thin line between being a great storyteller or an amazing writer, huh?

I’ve been wondering this a lot. I suppose that I trying to understand things myself and it is difficult to understand if I am a decent storyteller while when it comes to writing I am lower than average. That is just how I see it though.

Is it harder to write a book with both great storytelling and have a good grip of the mechanics?


Harder? I would say it’s way easier when you know the mechanics of writing. I suppose if you’re going to be traditionally published it’s less important, since publishers are more concerned with whether your story sounds like it would be popular. They have editors to clean it up and turn it into something readable. __〆(..)

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Makes sense.

I get that popular stories can make it for an author, but I was just trying to understand if knowing how to write the mechanics of a great story falls in line.

I guess I am not making sense. So, I’ll stop.

Personally, I think about it this way.

A storyteller is, in simplest words, someone who tells stories.
A writer - whether a journalist, a professional author or some student writing a simple e-mail - is a storyteller who uses written words to do so.

Telling a story is not all about what you have to say - although, one could say it’s the most important component - it is also about how you convey your ideas to the readers/listeners. The “how” is what you call “style” and having knowledge of the “mechanics”, as Akje phrased it.

So rather than a line between “writing” and “simple storytelling”, I think it’d be more precise to put a line between the “what” and the “how” you convey things.

This applies to oral speakers, writers, and all forms of art in general.

Thus, a writer has to have both components in order to be amazing.

As for this, different authors have different strengths. There are authors who excel in style and could make a story as banal as having a cup of coffee sound beautiful to the ears (Nabokov, for instance), and there are authors who excel in making intricate plots and injecting into them deep messages and philosophies that could shake your current worldview to the core but are not necessarily known for creating smooth sentences (Dostoevsky is the best example here).

Then again, coming back to my main point, all great authors from the opposite ends of this spectrum had had both qualities in a level above the rest.


I wouldn’t say there is a clear line between these two skills, but there is definitely a spectrum. I think of it as the writing being the words and the storytelling being the events, world, and characters. But you need the words to express the story properly, which is why you can’t just be a storyteller, and you need the events, worlds, and characters to even have something to put into words, which is why you can’t just be a writer. So most writer would fall somewhere on a spectrum between these skills.


No, I disagree. Being a storyteller is everything.

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So, a person who sucks at grammar, but is great at storytelling, can go farther than a person who is bad at storytelling but wonderful at grammar?

Did that make sense?

Absolutely. Grammar can be learned and corrected. Storytelling is a natural skill and that’s what makes people read the stories. In the end of the day, the only thing that matters to me is to write the stories people want to read, so I envy born storytellers with passion.


Ah, I get it now!

The way I view it, is a storyteller is more important than writing.

Something I learnt from doing my degree in writing is that skill can be taught. I can tell you know about the grammatical rules in England, the rules on dialogue tags and my personal enemy, the run on sentence (I know it yet still do it, woo? lol)
You can learn that. You can learn what a simile is, or how to structure paragraphs, easy.

What you can’t learn (or maybe you can but not like you can learn grammar or math or science) how to tell a great story. You can’t pick up easily on the way you tell stories. I’ve learnt different strategies along the way, but man is it hard. I truly, truly believe writing something people want to read (or publish for example, or listen to) is something someone is born with.

My husband told me yesterday when we were talking about it “anyone can write a book”, but I actually disagree. I could sit him in front of my laptop now, give him the outline for the rest of my book down to what to add plot wise, dialogue wise etc, and he could write it, but could he tell the story? I dont think think he could. At least, he wouldn’t be able to tell it in a way people would want to read
(and no he wouldn’t mind me saying this lol. He hates reading as it is and he always says he couldn’t do what I do)
I think you can learn how to story-tell, but I think it really is something you can’t really learn how to do. there is a certain knack so to speak.

The best way to describe it is a lot of the very, very amateur writers on Wattpad who make it obvious and put “this is my first book I’ve ever written”. Aside from grammar, you can tell it is because they don’t describe, they don’t structure properly, they rush the plot and don’t make us care about characters. Now they might improve, but some of them just don’t tell a good story because they don’t have it in their minds how to do that.
Story-tellers who are born for it, know how to tap into emotions of readers, and just describe, they use metaphors, they build a world - even if they’re just describe freaking breakfast.
My grandma was one, as was my grandpa, and man I hope I’m like them.

Writing is one thing, story-telling is something else
I hope I made the distinction in my mind clear lol


This makes a hell of a lot of sense.

Sounds like me. I am not that great at describing things and it shows!
I am hoping that I get better at showing AND telling(I believe in the balance of the two). I am still striving to get better at it, but it is tough.

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I mean, creative writing is most often storytelling no matter how bad the quality ;-;

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I mean people can write like utter crap yet if they express it in a way where it sounds good and appealing. Most people will eat it up or something.

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I think wattpad proves that one :joy: So long as it’s what the audience wants, it’ll get attention

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