Small children will sit in front of a television and watch the same show over and over again. Parents complain, maddened at having to sit through "The Lion King" or "Cars" for the fiftieth time. But are the adults so different from the children?
Someone recently said to me: "People like the familiar. They don't mind twists on the familiar, but they want something comfortable." Writing is like that. When a reader picks up a spy novel, they want a spy novel. And there are rules that writer is supposed to follow within that subgenre. When people read a vampire story or a zombie tale, they expect the author will work within their expectations or else have a strong reason why they are coloring outside the lines.
Strange that we spend so much energy exalting the "original" and the "creative". I'm not condemning, just observing.
I think that the brilliance of some writing is the ability of the author to take the familiar and present it in such a manner as to strike deeply resonating chords within the reader. Whether the author does that by deliberately following a Campbell model of archetypes, or by following an intuitive bend, success is measured by reader response.
I've been critical of writers who create without consideration of readership. I've scoffed at those who are acclaimed great writers for producing books nearly indecipherable. Is originality an illusion, or a matter of timing and perspective?
Stephen King, a writer with whom I have a love/hate relationship (I just recently gave up on trying to make it through "The Gunslinger") is a master at playing to that part of the human psyche that sits on the floor cross-legged, smiling dreamily while proclaiming: "Tell me that story again. Tell me again the part with the old man."
King stays colors within the lines. It's his genius to do so. Giving the public what they want may not win a person literary praise by ivy league critics, but it improves chances of publication.