A few years ago, at DragonCon, I managed to attend a panel Jim Butcher was on, and he presented a great story from his own experiences in writing. It went something like this:
Ages ago, on a writer’s forum, he and others were having a discussion/argument about what’s needed to be a succesful writer. Was it a good idea, or was it simply a matter of skill. So, one of the proponents of the “It’s about the idea” put an challenged Jim to write a short piece with a bad idea at its core. Jim, being a little arrogant in his youth, said, “Nah. I’ll take two.”
So, he was presented with these ideas: 1) Lost Roman Legion. There’s a legion of Rome (Legio Nona Hispana (Ninth The Spanish Legion)) which just disappears from the records and people have made up all sorts of reasons why that was — usually on the same level as Bermuda Triangle speculations. Worse, it’s been done to death in the challenger’s terms, so it was now a bad idea simply because it was overdone. 2) Pokemon. This was obviously a sign of preference and taste. Given the series’ continued popularity over a decade, there’s no other reason to take it as opinion and that’s fine. Still, those were the ideas given to Jim Butcher.
He then proceeded to take the ideas apart — what constituted a Roman Legion, what was their support structure, etc. And what Pokemon was at its core (Shinto derivations). He eventually wrote back to the guy, saying that he couldn’t post the work on the forum because he thought he could get it published.
And thus, the Codex Alera series was created. A New York Times #1 best-selling series 6 books long. A world of super-elementalist Roman Legions, Neanderthal-Elves with Animal bondings, blood-magic using wolfmen, and having all of them team up … to fight the Zerg from Starcraft.
The point being, there are no bad ideas (or at least, very few of them), and that skill can trump bad ideas.