“You need to learn to become a master of storytelling.”

“I think that a lot of writers who go through writing programs feel the same. They may say, “I feel really comfortable now writing gorgeous sentences.” Yet every story is so much more than a string of beautiful sentences.
“Writing a story requires you to understand how the world works, how characters think, how their emotions drive them to do surprising things, and so on. In other words, as a writer, you have to be more than a stylist. You need to learn to become a master of storytelling.” — David Farland

David Farland has become, for me, a writer that I really enjoy and look up to. In the above quote, he hits on something that I believe strongly, but didn’t know how to define when I was younger. I couldn’t understand why I loved fantasy and speculative fiction books so much when there were other, more “literary” books that were more beautifully written. It wasn’t until college that I figured it out — a lot of those beautifully written books were missing a powerful story.

Art without story doesn’t mean anything to me. I can appreciate the beauty, but it’s like wiping raindrops off my windshield. It doesn’t stay with me; it just runs off. I’ll take a great story with average writing over a lovely collection of sentences any day.

David Farland’s Kick in the Pants—Dealing with Writer’s Block.