This was a question a participant in a storytelling workshop asked the other night. My answer then was nowhere near complete, just as what I write here also will miss some salient points. Here's what occurs to me now:
- Is an older artform than written.
- Does not require that the listener be literate.
- Requires teller and listener to be in the same place (hmm, unless it's on a recording, which places it closer to written).
- Is not in set form. The storyteller may change the story depending on the audience, circumstances, time allotted, mood of the audience, mood of the storyteller, venue.
- May be more concise--too much detail can bog the experience down.
- The storytelling/story listening experience is usually shorter. Of course there are exceptions for cultures in which epics may last over days, or with serial stories.
- Depends on nonverbal as well as verbal communication--facial expression and body language, volume, pacing, attitude, etc.
- May use repetition and mnemonics to help the audience remember people, places and action.
- Requires literacy. Even with a read-aloud, somebody is reading it.
- Is usually experienced by the reader without the writer being present. The writer is unaware of the reaction of the reader.
- Is in set form in each edition (with some exceptions for online experiences).
- Requires the writer to show attitude, emotion, etc. using words.
- Have a wider range of length, from flash fiction to multivolume sagas.
- The reader may flip the pages back to remind herself of something that happened earlier.
Of course, a good story is a good story. One artform is not better than the other. Oral storytelling can enhance writing and writing can enhance oral storytelling--I often write about the stories I tell, in order to understand them.
What did I miss?