When writing a story, which is more important, the writing or the idea? The ideal answer is both. However, the reality of life means choosing one. In this case, the writing is king followed closely by the idea. Let us explain with examples.
The writing can take a somewhat dull idea and make it exciting. In the case of Getting In a novel by Karen Stabiner the main plot is a bunch of parents and students trying to figure out college. These are not low-income children who have no idea how they will afford it. These are students, who in some cases had every privilege, whose parents were planning to pay. This is suburbia at its finest and the concept alone almost turned me off. I’m glad I read it anyway as the story was well written and it kept me fully engaged. The idea was probably a two on a scale of 1-10 of excitement. Then you add in the angst of the pampered and it is almost not worth it. However, a good writer can make it happen and in this case, Karen did.
Another example is actually a movie. Now, not a story, but writing was involved, and in this case failed to deliver. Jupiter Ascending was released February 2015 and the idea was there. The concept was there. The potential was there. However, the good writing was nowhere to be found. There were plot holes, tangent story lines that did not contribute to the ultimate plot and extraneous characters. This was a prime example of a good story that was muddled down with bad writing. (However, some would argue there were some other problems apparent as well, but that is because it is a movie.)
Obviously a good writer will want both: a good story that is well written. However, when forced to choose one, choose the writing.