>Ok so the movers arrive this morning, the Pets-en-transit guys to take the dats and cogs to quarantine too, and I still have a ton of sorting out to do (I’m attacking the last and worst now – my manuscripts) And that of course brings up a perennial old chestnut. “It’s new! (and this makes it good).”
1)It ain’t. Accept it as gracefully as you can, some aspects may be ‘new’ (and those are indeed something unusual) but all of human writing is derivative in some way. This does not take a rocket-scientist work out, and if you’re still kidding yourself your work is ALL new, either you have read next to nothing (in which case you really need to read more), or you’re so good at self-deception that you too can become a writer.
2)It depends on the value of ‘good’ you want to achieve. If for example you wish to approach sf (while denying loudly it is sf a la Winterson or Atwood and avoiding reading it) from ignorance of genre conventions you’re possibly going to convince other ignoramuses (ignoramii?) that you have done something wonderful. There are sadly a lot of them out there (although the ones prepared to wade through your attempt may be somewhat limited). You may be the special natural talent, but it is more likely that your attempt will be as gifted someone who thought they’d play the violin without bothering to learn how. The genre and its conventions have evolved. Starting ‘de novo’ means your work will lack some of the dead ends in sf evolution, but will probably read like badly written Jules Verne at best. If the value of good you wanted to achieve was pleasing a lot of readers of your genre… here are a few cue-bats. a) Most of them aren’t looking for ‘new’. They’re looking for new-old, or to put it another way, a new twist on the kind of thing they enjoy reading. Most TP fans want more Vimes/Rincewind/Vetinari/ Moist. Each one of those books is new and has much that is unique in it (I don’t know how he does it) but is set within an ‘old’ universe with ‘old’ characters in supporting roles. Even when he breaks new ground he takes his old style and conventions of his writing with him. b)If you are going to break new ground, you’ll probably pull more readers if you use the style and conventions of the genre.
So what have you read that is ‘new’ and good? And how did the author get around kid poking suspiciously at the new healthy spinach on his plate syndrome (“What’s this? I don’t like it.” – before tasting it, and on tasting it, having already made up their mind “YUCK!”)