C. S. Lewis said he would rather read a good story, poorly told, than a poor story, well told. He also said those whose goal is to be great writers will probably not be great writers.
Both statements make the same point. Those of us who spend most of our time perfecting writing technique are addressing only half the equation, maybe the least important half at that.
Great passion drives great writing.
This is why sometimes we would do well to spend less time at workshops about writing and more time pursuing our passion, the subject itself, the thing about which we write.
It’s why Krakauer wrote so convincingly about climbing a mountain, or why my friend Mark Williams is such a good outdoor writer. And while I don’t write much fiction, I’d guess it’s true there as well. Immersing oneself in a story is the prelude to compelling characters and plot.
I once had a student, a gifted young man, tell me he was a writer in search of his passion. My advice to him came from the Bible: “Seek and you will find.”