Some years back, I was fussing to [Lester del Rey] about finding an idea for a story that hadn’t been used before. I wanted something new and original. He gave me one of his patented smiles–the ones that always made him look like a cross between your kindly uncle and Jack Nicholson in The Shining–and told me in no uncertain terms that new ideas did not come along that often and that when they did, they came in disguise. It was better to take old, established ideas and just turn them over and over in your mind until you found a new way to look at them.
– Terry Brooks, author of
The Lord of the RingsThe Sword of Shannara
I feel this speaks for itself.