This is an ideology that seems to be a disagreement between me and my friends and I want to know what you guys think. The concept is taking small ideas from say, a TV show, not the whole plot of an episode, but small mechanics. Say I take the baseline of what elves are from Tolkien. Or the given explanation for how a space battle typically unfolds from Mass effect (video game for those who do not know) or if I read a story and like a certain character, so I base a character very much off of them in my own story, obviously not the same name or history, but in the way he/she handles problems. I in no way encourage ripping off a whole piece of lit,or even primary events, but what do you guys feel about smaller elements that make a story really good. Lets say I wanted to build a protagonist from Randall Flagg (a king character) He would not be evil but some of the base personality traits would be there. Not to say that a protagonist could be made from that character in any convincing way, but that is the idea. thanks for your thoughts.