What makes a good storyteller, in your opinion? Are your favorite storytellers people you know or writers you admire?
A good storyteller keeps you on the edge of edge of your seat, holds your attention, and makes you anxious to know the ending.
(Mind you, there are many stories I’ve heard or read that were spoiled by the ending?)
By sheer volume, and the well-developed craft of some prolific writers, I’d have to say that writers are better story-tellers.
I read constantly, one author after another, and I have my favorites. Some authors are great because of the way they write. I am always challenged by P.D. James because of the language she uses; she has a distinctive style, but some of her stories are too violent or weird for me. Some of her characters are truly disturbed.
One of my favorite storytellers is Diana Galbadon who writes historical novels set in Scotland and, in later volumes, the Colonies. The twist is that the main female character goes back in time to meet the love of her life, and after returning to the present, decides to go back and stay. It’s fascinating seeing history through their eyes. As a doctor, she develops medicines from 18th century ingredients based on the knowledge she has of modern medicine.
Recently I have read a few books in the Young Adult genre and this area is booming. J.K. Rowling might be responsible for the fact that young adults will pick up a book with 500 pages and willing delve into it. There are still some kids who will pick skinny books for reports, etc., but authors are not holding back on creating books and series that are complex, imaginative, and long. Many of these are a good read for adults, too: good books without the sex and gratuitous violence.
I don’t know what makes a book good, or some better than others. The novel that affected me most was the classic Gone With The Wind. I read it so voraciously that I actually felt like I was living during the Civil War! I was a feeling that I have rarely experienced with other novels. It’s probably because I immersed myself in for a number of days until I was finished. Obviously plot, twists, surprises, good descriptions, details (unless they hold up the progress of the plot), and characters your can relate to on some level — fleshed out people with distinct personalities.
It is rare that I don’t finish a book, but it happens. I have my favorite authors, but I can credit my book and knitting group for introducing me to some genres and styles that I wouldn’t ordinarily have read. I’ve enjoyed them, and it just tells me that there are far too many good stories to read and much too little time to read them all!