What is the difference between storytelling and writing?
Libraries often host a story hour for children which features an adult reading a story from a book.
Story hours focus on reading and hearing, not on the writing.
In the same way, audiobooks focus on the story being read. They do not involve the listener with how the book looks–either in the inside or the outside-and do not care about punctuation or spacing. All the listener cares about is the story as told by the narrator.
The writer and the reader have entirely different issues.
Readers of books and articles don’t want the writing to impede their enjoyment or understanding of the story. Presentation is part of the enjoyment of reading a book. Readers want proper grammar unless the character in the story is supposed to speak improper grammar. They want proper punctuation and not periods, commas, colons and semi-colons sprinkled willy nilly throughout a paragraph. Split infinitives offend some. Still others get mad when they find that a book they bought is badly put together. When a published book has too many spaces between one paragraph and another or when the description of a painting or photograph (or a footnote) appears on a different page than the picture.
When a book is read out loud to an audience, none of these writing errors show up as they do for a reader of the book.
As a writer, what do I want from my writing group? What are my responsibilities?
If I want feedback on my writing, my group members need to see my writing. Whether I am telling a story or writing an article, they need to see what I have written to give me feedback on all parts of my writing. They cannot comment on punctuation if they cannot see punctuation. They cannot comment on unnecessary words or phrases unless they see them.
When a person in our writing group reads a work, we rarely give comments until the end of the reading. Hearers take notes during the reading if they want to make suggestions on different words/synonyms or on incomplete thoughts. If the author has to explain a piece before reading it, they should include the explanation in the introduction.
Comments on the piece are more likely to be about what they have left out of the narrative; material that should be included in the rewrite. If the reader does not take notes on these questions, it’s doubtful any will be incorporated.
A listener wants the storyline to be cohesive and complete. No holes in the narrative, please. If a description is needed-provide it. If writers share their work with the group, they can take notes as the reading goes on. They may use different words in the reading than in the writing. Which word is best? Or does it matter?
It’s easier to comment on gaps in the story when the listener also has a hard copy to follow.
When a writer reads a piece without sharing a hard copy with the rest of the group, they control what the listeners can comment upon. If they don’t want a comprehensive review of their work, reading it without sharing the writing directs the feedback to a limited area. The storyline. Not the writing.
Every writing group can set its own rules for its members. Whether it is a comprehensive review of the writing or a partial review based only on reading. Or both.