I think that the vast majority of ideas are essentially neutral in terms of potential awesomeness. It all comes down to execution. In Alan Moore’s hands, “Swamp Thing” wasn’t just about a talking plant; it was a life-changing exploration of the horrors that spring from love.
From Irene Gallo’s blog, some points on drawing and painting from Scott Fischer and Rebecca Guay, that I think also pertain to writing:
They discussed the idea of exploration in their sketches—being free and loose enough to allow randomness and accident bring life into the work. Stumbling onto new ideas and then learning how to exploit those ideas in more purposeful ways.
Here’s an interesting interview with Nicholas Christopher, in which he says this about what makes a story work successfully:
The fact that a reader not only wants to know what happens next, and why, but realizes, however subliminally, that the dynamics of the story at hand will change some portion of his or her inner life. Maybe not right away, but it will happen. The characters and their actions should touch us deeply enough, and powerfully enough, that during the time we�re immersed in the story there is nowhere else we would rather be. Just as it is when we are with a person, or in a place, that we would not trade for any other at that particular moment in time.