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Observation On Originality
aka: Twains Observation On Originality
"Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good."
Unknown, commonly attributed to Samuel Johnson.

Pure genre exercises are almost always fairly well done. You've seen a hundred movies (or novels, or video games) just like this one, they've made a hundred movies just like it, and all that practice has paid off. Every scene is tight, every heartstring is pulled, and nothing stands between you and a triumphant emotional experience except, of course, over-familiarity.

Other works try for originality, and much is gained. But something is also lost. The new bits, being new, are also a bit buggy. Characters, scenes, plot points, and dialog either go too far, don't go far enough, or go off in slightly wrong directions. Perhaps the unfamiliar is pushed a little too far and becomes alienating.

Which brings us to this reminder: "If you seek novelty, then do not expect a polished experience. If you seek a polished experience, then do not expect novelty."

This observation is a companion to Sturgeon's Law, the driving force behind Capcom Sequel Stagnation, the reason Seinfeld Is Unfunny, and a recognition of the tradeoffs between Tropes Are Not Bad and Tropes Are Not Good.

Also the main reason for the popularity of foreign media in many markets. For example, Anime and, to a lesser extent, Bollywood are popular in America partly because the styles are highly developed but seem surprisingly original (to foreign audiences, at first).
No Transhumanism AllowedLaws and FormulasOccam's Razor

alternative title(s): Twains Observation On Originality
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