I've always felt true writers are more into quality writing than ideas. That isn't to say ideas aren't equally important, but which one can stand on its own? Turn a wonderful phrase, paint a picture or a series of pictures with words and people will be spellbound. Describe a great idea and people will usually say, "Now what?"
If there's a finer wordsmith in the field than Michael Chabon, I haven't encountered them. His sentences flow with a beauty and an immediacy that is at once delicate and rooted in concrete reality. That's why I read "Manhood for Amateurs," his non-fiction collection of essays, so quickly.
Still in the mood for quality writing in lieu of genre, I jumped over to Tamas Dobozy's "Last Notes and Other Stories," a short story collection from yet another author whose elecric prose leaps off the page.
These are the types of authors whose work informs mine. Their talent, their observations and, yes, their unwavering honesty are what I shoot for when I write. If my story contains a five-headed monster, it shouldn't feel like something I'm drawing attention to.
Sadly, too many genre authors do just that these days in an apparent fruitless attempt to recapture the Joss Whedon pop culture reference lightning in a bottle.
I'm not finished reading Dobozy's book, but I can already recommend the first two stories. The one about the married couple that pummel each other in the boxing ring as a form of therapy is definitely worth reading! A perfect example of an idea not overshadowing the writing.
I can definitely recommend Chabon's book, especially for males and females who don't quite get males. In fact, pretty much anything of Chabon's is worth your time.