It’s a busy day, so I don’t have a lot of time to write a long post… but I thought I would throw up an idea, courtesy of Writer’s Digest‘s ‘Tip of the Day’.
Today’s tip is: “Ultimately, content matters more than craft.”
The brief article on the website mentions Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook as an example of a book where the writing would be passable in middle-school at best, but whose success was enormous simply because readers connected with the characters. It was a good story: the content mattered to the readers. I’d also argue in this case that the movie helped sell a crapload more books, but that’s neither here nor there. It hit #1 on the NY Times Bestseller list, and the writing was horrendous. Good example.
But I can think of an even better one… and I bet you’re all going to nod with me. Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. Yes, indeed. Crap writing, but many people absolutely adore it. It’s quite the unsolved mystery, but evidently there are people who connect with the content, even while admitting that the writing isn’t very good.
Does that mean that we should crurn out halfhearted manuscripts if we think we’ve got a great idea? No, of course not. You always want to do justice to your great idea, but think of it this way: If you have a great story to tell, tell it. Don’t be afraid to “do it wrong”, just write it and get it out of you. Great ideas produce good stories, and you never know… someone might connect with your third draft and whip it off to the publishers. But don’t be so paranoid about “getting it right the first time” that you never let your Very Good Story see the light of day.
Let’s face it: How can you know if you have Great Content until you try?