Great Writer or Great Storyteller?

My mom and I are both writers and, as a result, we get into a lot of discussions. One day, we got into one over quality of writing and popularity.

She said she'd rather be a "bad" but popular writer. She'd rather have her writing torn apart daily as long as she had through-the-roof sales. I disagreed.

There are a few writers out there with huge followings, but whose writing is also often criticized. Then there are some incredible writers out there that have a good following but their books will never be turned into movies or become worldwide phenomenons. 

Not every writer falls directly into the "great writer" or "great storyteller" mold. There's usually some kind of mixture. In some cases, it appears that great writing is falling to the wayside in favor of a story with strangely massive appeal.

What do you think? Would you rather by a great storyteller or a great writer?


Anonymous said…
Ooo tricky. I have to admit that the majority of books I read are more great storytelling rather than great writing.

But I see a lot of the most popular franchises and I notice that the writing is quite poor. And people say it's okay because the storytelling is great. I don't think I'd want people excusing my poor writing skills just because I told a story they went gaga for.

I think I'll go with great writer. Obviously I want the story to be good but I like good writing myself so I'd like to aim to achieve that as well. :)
E.J. Wesley said…
Great discussion! Hmm, I'd have to side with your mother for one reason: Having your story read by many, even if it isn't critically lauded, is a dream for many writers--me included. :-)

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