I read a blog the other day where author Kacey Mark said, “I’m not a Word Smith. I’m a Story Weaver,” and I had to say “Right on!” That is one of the pet peeves I have against traditional writing and publishing. When submitting to publishers I get the impression they are looking for experience and prior validation as a writer as a screening method before they even look at your work. It often seems to me that the emphasis on writing is the mastery over words and structure as opposed to story. Let me clarify and say word smithing and story weaving are both important. As an Indie author/writer I still have an inadequacy about being a writer because of my poor grammar and spelling skills. (That is why having a good editor is so important for me.) The big problem I keep hearing about Indie publishing is the mistakes and lack of editing. Although there is a valid point there, I tend to take it personally and feel that is an unfair knock on Indie publishers. A mistake here or there does not diminish the story. To back my point I would like to acknowledge that the great Robert Jordan and Michael Stackpole have errors in their works, and somehow it’s not held against them. I kept on reading, and loved their work. True, we Indie publishers need to get better at mistake free work in order to improve our standing with the consuming public, but that by no means says our stories are junk. I’ve purchased and read a number of Indie works via smashwords and found much of the stories fun, interesting, and mostly mistake free. So my experience is not the same as the Indie critics I read all over the net.
All this means is that I have to work that much harder to make sure my work is the best it can be before publish. I also need to work that much harder to make my words interesting as I drive the story onward. Being a story weaver is the fun part, but being a word smith is necessity. It doesn’t mean you have to be a walking dictionary, it just means that you have to use your words creatively so you can story weave without being a bore.
So, in short, while I applaud the phrase out of my inadequacy, I begrudgingly say that phrase is in error. Both word smith and story weaver are forever entwined.