Yesterday, in the comments, Genie of the Shell remarked on the importance of both good story and good writing.
This reminded me of a book I recently finished (name to be withheld, sorry. Maybe, one of these days, I'll write about a book whose name I feel okay mentioning. Maybe). At first, the writing didn't grab me, so I didn't pick up the book. However, every time I returned to the bookstore, I'd find myself thinking about that book and looking at it some more. Eventually, I folded. I bought it.
It turned out, the writing never grabbed me. When people asked me how the book was going, I told them, "B/B+. Almost all the points for a good idea."
The only thing the book really had in it's favor was the unique and interesting idea (which, by the by, they misrepresented on the coverflap, which I hate, but that's a story for another time). I kept going for the sake of the idea, but the writing wasn't fabulous, in my opinion.
This isn't the first time I've stuck out mediocre writing for a good plot or idea, and I know I'm not the only person who does that sort of thing.
What does this mean? It means we need good ideas!
Okay, you're all rolling your eyes and saying, "Umm... No duh, we already knew that." But, what I mean is that, though editing is important and story craft is really important, the story and the idea are super important. Maybe even more important. Because, unless you've got an original and interesting idea, there's really no point in crafting it to perfection. It'll feel trite whether it's perfect or not.
I've done this myself. My first novel was ridiculously trite. I didn't bring anything new or original to it. And it took me a good long time to realize that polish that baby all I might, edit the words until they were perfect, it wouldn't change the fact that I was writing a story we'd all seen a million times and not adding to it anything we hadn't seen before.
Ideas are essential to good stories.
Which do you find essential, good writing or good story? If one element is slack, can the other make up for it? Do you sometimes read books with bad or mediocre writing for the sake of a good idea or plot? Will bad writing make you chuck a book away even if the story is good?