Daily Archives: June 18, 2010

Raw Talent or Learned Behavior?

I’m fickle.

Last night I had my post written for today.  For some reason, I didn’t schedule it to post, figuring I would post it this morning.  Along the way, I got sidetracked by another blog.  Good thing I’m fickle, because I now have another, more urgent topic to discuss.

The Art of Story-telling.

Okay, not that I know anything about it, but it is a topic I feel strongly about.  And it’s Kate’s fault that I waffled from my previous post, fell in love with this idea and am now sharing it with you.

She said, ” I think I write because I’m a story-teller at heart.”

This statement sums up, for me, how a writer finds his/her voice.

I always say voice is something a writer has.  You can’t buy it in the book store or find it like a penny on the sidewalk.  Ebay does not sell it, and mapquest won’t help either.  Voice is something you have or you don’t.  According to me, that is. 

According to everyone else, “When a writer finds his voice, he will know.”

I absolutely agree.  But I think we look for it in the wrong places.  We look for it in style and try to emulate what worked for other writers.  But I don’t believe it can be found in POV and story arc.  Nor can it be found in good writing mechanics, characterizzation and conflict.  Those are simply the by-products of good story-telling.

To me, voice is the difference between telling a story and story-telling.  It is the difference between a perfectly executed song and a song with soul.  It is the art of expressing the story from within.

To quote Kate, voice comes from being a “story-teller at heart.”

Which is not to be confused with passion.  I can have all the passion in the world for the written word and still not have the soul to lay it bare in that magical and spell-binding way.

Some things are just inherent.  Like comedy, for example.

I suck at telling jokes.  My timing is off and I mess up the punchline.  This is telling a story at it’s worst. 

Good comedians like Billy Crystal and Robin Williams feel the power of the joke deep inside them.  When it comes out, they don’t have to work for it.  The magic is there.

That is the art of story-telling.

So, thanks to Kate and my inherently fickle nature, I have created a loaded post for those in the writing industry.  Your input will be valued as we explore the art of story-telling.

Do you believe there is a magical component to story-telling?  Or, can a great story be told with good mechanics and attention to detail?  Is voice something that can be learned/taught or is it an intuitive, yet elusive talent? 

Is there even a difference between the two?