Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Random Thought

Just thought I should clarify a generalization that's been bothering me. No one recent incident sprung this train of thought, but it occurred to me just a second ago that I should mention it anyway.

When I say a particular professional and published author is a "bad writer," it should be implicit that I do not consider myself a better writer than said author. See, I'm super critical and demanding with my own work. I know my flaws when I see them, and I know that I'm not at the stage yet to be called "good." Passing, maybe, but not good. But the published writer *is* better than me simply by virtue of being published in a professional market and/or capacity.

That being said, I reserve the right to say an author's command of the written word needs work without it implying somehow that I, David Batista, am any better. For instance, I can say that Dan Brown's writing style is very simplistic and a little wonky at times, but that he's a masterful storyteller. A true genius at the craft, in fact.

See what I did there?

Dan Brown's actual writing is very low-brow and appealing to the lowest common denominator, but the way he spins a story is purely out of this world. A true writer has to balance the two. He has to be passable enough with the mechanics of writing so that a wide array of readers with various educational backgrounds and reading proficiencies can literally read what he's writing, but also has to know how to tell a good yarn to keep them turning the page. Just because you can do one does equate to expertise with the other.

Now, to be clear here: Dan Brown is a far better writer than I am. But even more importantly, he's a superbly gifted story teller. I can practice and practice and practice to improve the former, but the latter takes a special touch that really no one can teach you.

So, again: When I say a particular author or screenwriter can't write to save his ass, it does not necessarily mean that he can't tell a good story. Just look at George Lucas if you want any better proof of this. The man can spin a beautiful fantasy premise -- but for the love of god, don't let him near a typewriter!

And when I say a particular novel should have been better written, it does not mean that I can write it better.

Hope that clears the air some.

2 comments:

Kim Kasch said...

And, I'd rather be a good storyteller than a great writer any day.

David Batista said...

But of course! :) That's the real knack, Kim. The holy grail of writing.

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