This is a never ending argument I find on the social network boards.  Writers out there are always tossing back and forth this question.  They argue about whether they are writers or authors, whether they should show or tell and a lot of other things that writer really never argued about before the advent of the net.  Or so I hope.

You see I call myself a writer.  Pure and simple this means I write stories, poems and what ever comes into the twisted thing I call a brain.  As a teller of tales that are not factual I have a lot of places to play.  The one place I will not go is a place were I am expected to the the absolute boring every day truth.  I want flights of fantasy and I will write them for as long as the words pressure me to spill them out.

Now the title of this rant is about being a story teller or an author.  Lately is seems like being an author is starting to be a cuss word.  Authors are expected to put out perfect literary masterpieces, no matter the field they are writing in.  Well folks I hate to say this but most of those literary masterpieces bore the rest of the audiences out there to tears.  It is no coincidence that the biggest money making movies are purely fun.  They don’t have a lot of so called depth (but they can) but have characters that we can relate to and stories that touch our minds and our hearts.

I am a story teller, that is what I do.  Most of my work is in that short category of short stories.  Something you can sit down and read in anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.  As I put on my author bios short stories are the modern fireside tales.   They take use, if only briefly, outside of ourselves and isn’t that what we all want?  If we wanted reality we would be reading the newspapers or watching the news right?

There is a discussion on LinkedIn about short stories and it is very devisive.  One one side is those who believe that like a joke a short story much have a punchline and that the whole story much lead to that final punch line.  I wisely stepped away from this group.  While i have done stories that had a forgone conculsion, I have never done a punchline ending.

When I start a story I have an image in my mind, or a voice in my ear.  The story is being told to me by my muse or by the characters and I am just the fingers typing it down.  (Yes really)  Telling a story is what we all should be doing if we are doing fiction.

Showing a story is what a movie maker does.  They are not telling a tale, they are showing it to you.  If you are telling a tale you are painting images into the mind of your reader but you are not forcing them to see the story as you see it.  When I first wrote the first Guardian story, Harry was just a regular guy walking around with a bat.  He wasn’t a hero so much as a guy keeping his neighborhood safe but as reviews came in people came to see him as a sort of modern Sam Spade and the character changed.

Over the centuries before books became possible story tellers would sit around the fire and tell stories of heroes and villains and each person would put their own take on what they heard.    The wise storyteller learned to work with his audience and tales evolved.  That is not to say that the story teller lost control of his or her character or story but they learned and evolved as they continued.

Most of those who consider themselves authors in this new century have a bit of arrogance that has not been knocked out of them yet.  The belief that they are writing deathless prose and that everyone else is writing crap.  Now I am not saying i haven’t had this belief myself from time to time, mostly when I read something that is selling  hundreds of copies and is so filled with bad story telling and cliches but is edited well that I want to throw it across the room and scream.  I know I can do better, have done better but well I have yet to sell more than forty copies of one title total.  It can be depressing and enough to make a story teller either want to sell out or to give up.

Wow I have rambled all over here haven’t I?  The thing I wanted to focus on was remember something here folks.  We are story tellers.  No matter if we are writing fantasy, horror, mysteries, romance, historicals or whatever.  We are telling a story.  We are not remaking the world.  We are offering entertainment for those who have the time to sit down and relax with a good tale.  If you want to call yourself an author, so be it.  Don’t run down those who write differently than you and definitely try to remember that you too are a story teller. It is the story that is important.  We all tell them differently and that is a good thing.  We don’t want assembly line fiction do we?  If we did we would be doing the reality tv of the literary arts and the world doesn’t need that now does it?

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