The 3 Types Of Worldbuilders Continued

Two weeks ago, I made a blog about the 3 types of worldbuilders. Last week I covered Planners, and this week we’ll be talking about Storytellers!

What Is A Storyteller?

A Storyteller is a writer who puts their plot, characters, and even themes before worldbuilding. They may add some world-building as they write and are inspired, but other times storytellers will write a draft or two without thinking too deeply about the world their characters live in. 

The 2 Types Of Storytellers

Within the Storyteller category, there are two subcategories:

Type E Storytellers, and type C Storytellers.

Type E Storytellers are event-focused.

They get an idea for a story’s plot, and build from there—developing characters, backstories, and so on—to fit the plot they’ve just created.

Type C Storytellers prefer to write character-centric stories.

They usually get their ideas when an image, voice, or story of a new character comes to mind. From there, type C Storytellers try to find a plot to fit this new character that magically appeared.

Storyteller Weaknesses

Storytellers can create phenomenal stories, but like Planners, they have their strengths and weaknesses.

Most Storytellers find it challenging to balance worldbuilding vs plot. There may be too much exposition, or not enough, which leaves their readers to either be bored or confused.

Sometimes a Storyteller’s worldbuilding may feel contrived to somehow fit the plot perfectly (which leaves the reader thinking “how convenient”), or it may feel like an afterthought—if there’s any worldbuilding in the plot at all. 

Storytellers tend to run on inspiration, so if they aren’t inspired and have no deadlines or someone to encourage (or force) them to write, it’s unlikely that anything will get written.

Storytellers also have a bit of the same perfectionist complex as Planners, but instead of getting stuck in the planning process, Storytellers get stuck in the writing process. Storytellers have a “when in doubt, rewrite it all!” mentality, which makes them writers of many drafts, but publishers of very few books. 

Side Note

Part of why Storytellers write so many drafts is because of their perfectionism, but another reason is that Storytellers usually have a deep emotional connection to the stories they write. 

Storytellers process the events, people, and challenges they face in their daily lives through their writing, so as a result, Storytellers put themselves into their stories without always meaning to. 

You may find parts of a Storyteller’s personality in all their characters, or realize that the themes of a Storyteller’s story reflect the events of the Storyteller’s own life. 

By reading a Storyteller’s work, you’re basically peeking into their diary and glancing into their personal life (which is why many Storytellers are afraid of showing their work to other people).

Storyteller Strengths

Storytellers write from inspiration and because they love stories. A Storyteller’s stories have excellent and creative plots!  (especially type E Storytellers)

Storytellers excel at creating complex and lifelike characters (probably because Storytellers use themselves and the people around them as bases for their characters), and due to their empathetic writing style, they’re experts at writing characters’ emotions.

Storytellers are very intuitive. They can tell if a certain point of view, word choice, or character doesn’t fit their story, and have no qualms about making changes so their story can improve.

They understand what will make their stories flow better, and they’re not afraid of drafting or editing (as long as they know that no one will ever see the first couple of drafts they write).

How To Improve

Because Storytellers can have so much trouble with worldbuilding, some helpful questions that Storytellers should ask themselves while writing a scene are:

“Where are my characters and does it matter?”

When a Storyteller is looking to add worldbuilding to a scene, it may be helpful for them to evaluate what actions the character/s will be taking, and how they’ll be interacting with their environment.

Is there anything in the characters’ environment that is important to the scene? A glass of water? Weapon? Or will the protagonist need to sigh dramatically and collapse into a chair? Make sure the readers know there’s a chair in the room before the protagonist randomly sits down in it.

Outside Looking In

Another good question for a Storyteller to ask when evaluating their worldbuilding is:

“If I were reading this story with no context, what would I understand about the world, and what would confuse me?”

Or, if a Storyteller is having trouble answering that question for themself, they can give their work to someone else. Have that person read it and give feedback. What did they understand? What wasn’t quite clear? Does the world feel real and complete, or are there still too many holes?

Balanced Storytelling

In the end, the important thing is bringing balance to the story. If there’s too much of a focus on just worldbuilding, or just characters, or just plot, or themes, etc. then the story won’t be the best that it can be.

Next week we’ll be wrapping up the discussion on the 3 types of worldbuilders by taking a closer look at the final and third type of worldbuilder: Creators.

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Before You Go…

Do you know any Storytellers? Or are you a Storyteller yourself?

Let me know in the comments!

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