Telling Tale

The Difference Between A Storyteller and a Novelist

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I’m actually surprised by how many people don’t know the difference between telling a story and writing a novel.

Big difference.

Not to say either one is bad. Because both have their advantages and disadvantages depending on the circumstances. But they are distinctively different.

Storyteller: People with this gift tend to writing awesome short stories. They are more focused on the point, getting right to the nitty-gritty. They don’t tend to be very in depth though. You may find the characters interesting, however, you probably won’t feel overly attached.

Novelist: These people tend to fill their stories with a lot of prose and subtlety. You get a deeper, lengthier story. However, try to get a novelist to write something under 50,000 words and you might as well ask a fish to join a 5K.

I find I tend to lean more to a novelist. When writing fiction, I tend to be more abstract and thus my stories tend to be more complex. However, as I’m trying to write a few short stories, I’m struggling to keep things short and sweet.

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Keep in mind when you’re writing a novel the rules of “showing vs. telling”. It’s one of the first things you’ll learn about in the writing world. Novelist tend to show things through emotion, prose, and action, while storytellers lean more to the telling side (hence storytellers). Meaning, instead of saying “Susan kicked the door shut, the harsh slam rattling the entire house” a storyteller would simply say “Susan was angry“. Both have a time and place.

If you’re a storyteller, you have the advantage of seeing things exactly the way they are. You probably don’t bore people with a lot of poetic displays or take too long describing a thing. You give us the facts. That’s great. Sometimes I like that. If you’re a novelist, you see things in different lights, through different lenses, and incorporate what is seen through all the senses. Both are needed and both are beautiful.

It’s important to know where you strengths lie. It’s not to say a novelist can’t become a storyteller or vice versa, but it just means you may run into a few struggles along the way. Regardless, it’s your style and so it’s your story.

It’s up to you to decide how we get to see it.

Storytellers don’t show, they tell. I’m sticking with that


Ashly Lorenzana

Create a world in front of your readers where they can taste, smell, touch, hear, see, and move. Or else they are likely going to move on to another book


Pawan Mishra

2 thoughts on “Telling Tale

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