Lost in Translation: Storytelling

I write because I love to tell stories. I’ve always been able to spin a tale as I’ve had great characters move through my life who were larger than life, or just plain interesting in some offbeat way. Pulling from their experiences and adding in my own idea of where their particular story should head has always been a joyful labor of love.


But, I definitely don’t think all authors are born storytellers because they get way too involved in the “structure” and “how tos” of writing. I always feel like I can tell when an author has been burning the midnight oil trying to get his/her thoughts stripped down and massaged into such a manner as to gain the Hail Mary from St Martin’s, or Grammar for Dummies, or some other such boring ass manual. Or, they’re trying to fit into their publisher’s page limits. Maybe I’m wrong and it’s just my taste – I don’t know. I do know this – if I read someone’s story out loud, I can tell if they’re a real storyteller, or not.


As most of us who call ourselves writers know, you should always read your piece out loud before the final edit. Do I do it? Not enough, that’s for sure. I’m just about to do the audio book for 5 Tales and I’m going to do it myself. Thanks to some very talented people at the Atlanta School of Broadcasting – I’ve got the voice and the voice over thing down. But, to be honest, I’m a little scared. I’m worried that it’s not going to sound like when I tell a story verbally to a friend or acquaintance, and that would kill me. I write exactly the way I talk. Well, I think I do anyway, after the edits I’m never really sure if the message is lost or not. I also worry that suddenly I won’t like the structure or plot of XYZ story, and now that it’s out all over the place I can’t change it.


The biggest reason I’m intimidated to do this audio book stems from a segment I heard on the now defunct Dick Gordon’s The Story where Dick had Ron Rash read his short story Something Rich & Strange from his collection Nothing Gold Can Stay. It’s the most amazing reading I’ve ever heard. You cannot help but stay and hear the whole thing once it gets a hold of you – which happens immediately. It’s this kind of storytelling I aspire to and I think most writers of fiction should. I realize it could be his voice or his cadence, but I’ve listened to it so many times that I’m absolutely sure it’s the story itself. Give it a listen – you’ll be enrapt.

Here’s the link for Ron Rash’s Something Rich & Strange. You can thank me in the comments!



2 thoughts on “Lost in Translation: Storytelling

  1. I love this. I never really thought about writing constructs much…But I do think that if I don’t read every piece I write out loud it’s quite the disaster with words escaping all over the place. This is a really good post about this.

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