I've recently started re-reading Robert Jordan's epic Wheel of Time series (and it truly is epic in so many ways), and in the process of doing so, I've come to a conclusion...
Writers are magpies (I've always thought this is particularly true of fantasy writers, but I'm probably wrong seeing as I read mostly fantasy and may be biased...).
We pick up anything that looks shiny or colourful or bright, brush it off and add it to our collection. Snatches of conversation, bits and pieces we hear on the news, our own experiences and those of others, folklore, religion and myth - nothing is out-of-bounds, everything has its use.
I think that, quite apart from doing it on purpose, most writers (me certainly) can't help themselves. Inspiration comes, the Muse strikes, and we write. Fragments of memory make their way into our stories whether we want them to or not.
Do you find yourself doing so?
Right now I'm toying with the idea of doing a mini-series of posts on what ideas writers incorporate into their stories, things that might resonate with the reader, familiar schemes and frameworks that are so, so familiar, and yet entirely part of the universe the writer created.
Would that interest you?
Maybe someone wants to join in?