For the very first post of my very first A to Z Blogging Challenge, I wanted to start with discussing what it takes to be an author. I’ve touched on this before (because my blog is all about writing), but I feel it’s an important topic.
Because every writer is not an author.
And this isn’t a “If-you-aren’t-published-you-aren’t-an-author” difference. Even published personages aren’t necessarily authors. Many of them are either writers or storytellers.
Writers–People who love words and usually express this love in written form. We write diary entries, we write blog posts, we write poems and stories, even. Writing is how we express out thoughts and dreams. But just because we’re good at writing doesn’t make us authors.
Storytellers–People who tell stories. They may recount things that happened to them or make up things that happen to fictional characters, and they are entertaining. They know how to add humor and plot, to make stories interesting. What they don’t always know is how to turn their stories into novels.
Because an author is someone who writes a specific product–a novel (which is covered in greater detail here, under “Making a Novel”).
Authors don’t just write a pile of scenes. They can’t have action, adventure, or romance without a good reason, nor can they get away with poetic lines of dialogue that don’t fit a character. They write what we have come to recognize as a particular kind of story–one that starts with a question and proceeds to answer that question through story-form with a beginning, middle, and end.
This is why many books are good one-time-reads, but don’t stand up to a second perusal, and this is what makes a classic worth reading. Save for a few exceptions that are remarkable solely because they are odd, different, and seriously break the mold, most authors write stories that combine the best features of storytellers and writers. They take the poetry and the fun with words of a writer and combine it with the interesting stories of a storyteller–and to all this, they must add a hint of editing and structure, a decision to focus on this and ignore that.
Then, and only then, do they become Authors.
(For those interested, more on this topic can be found here.)
Copyright 2016 Andrea Lundgren
Photo by snowbear, Creative Commons