A good story or good writing: What’s more important?
What’s more important: A good story or good writing?
My cousin asked me this question recently as I was giving him tips to build out a series of travel essays he’d been working on.
I want to be able to say that both are equally important, but I think a good story is the first priority. Good writing comes in the revision.
Here are a few pieces of advice I gave him as he sets out on his writing journey to ensure he’ll write a good story AND write it well.
Create a reading list. We should always be reading but when I start a writing project, I like to create a custom reading list for that project. I advised my cousin to read books in the same genre as he expects to write. I always like the “Best American Series” books, so I suggested he add The Best American Travel Writing 2012to his list.
Establish a routine, preferably in the morning. Life can get in the way of our writing goals, so an early-morning work session ensures you’ll craft some sentences before other tasks or interruptions take you away. Plus, I know my cousin is a morning person, so this would be the prime time for him to write in his dream state soon after waking. Whatever your best time to write is, set time aside and create your own routine.
Find writing classes at a local community college or community education program. You’ll learn writing craft, meet like-minded people, and find a few other writers who might want to form a critique group.
I really believe you need a blend of both: good story and good writing. One without the other goes nowhere.
I also agree with both. How can one write a good story without good writing? What can one tell without a good story?