I imagine every writer suffers from this affliction: wherever we go, whomever we meet, whatever we hear, see and read – we steal it. Whatever we touch turns into a story, which we write greedily and for which we claim sole ownership.
It’s called “copyright”.
We don’t want others to copy our work. We make them pay for it even though, in the first instance, we have stolen it.
I do it all the time. It has become a habit of which I am barely aware. Every person I ever got to know will sooner or later make it to my books. So, beware! Avoid me if you care for your privacy. Or your mortal right.
The same with places. I nick every place that I visit. At some point I will pull it out of my back pocket and it will become a setting for my story.
All writers do it.
On my recent trip to the Canary Islands I discovered that a lot of stories that I would like to write had already been stolen and written by others. Like so:
1. The Odyssey (Sirens calling to Odysseus)
2. For Whom the Bell Tolls
3. Robinson Crusoe
4. Guns of Navarone
5. The Old Man and the Sea
6. Treasure Island