'Good' Beats 'Innovative' Nearly Every Time
While we're fond of trumpeting the praises of Apple, whose iPod revolutionized music, we forget how dismal the competition was. It was not a field of masterpieces; it was a motley crew of ugly, clunky, painfully hard-to-use devices. Apple applied basic design sense to an immature field at a time when the world was ready for something better.The relevance of this to writers is obvious: The quality of your storytelling is more important than the bonafide dewy-freshness of your idea.
If your competitors are mediocre, the merely good can seem exceptional. All things being equal, in a battle between a good product and an innovative one, the good one will usually win.
Of course, a fresh idea combined with great storytelling is a blockbuster combination! But if you haven't got both, strive for quality over quirkiness.
You can't build a writing career based on mediocre books. People will wait five loyal years for a novel from an author they trust, but they won't even remember to look for the books of an author who disappointed them--even if that author comes up with really fresh ideas.