When I was a movie critic I tried not to read other reviews of a movie because it almost always ended up skewing my opinion of a film. As much as I would have my own views on a movie after I watched it, that voice from a review would always worm it’s way in.
Now that I am writing a book, I find that I am taking traits from other characters that I love from stories that I have read and inserting them into my creations. I will either catch it right from the beginning or a day or two later. They say that nothing is original is these days and now I understand why. It is not my intention to do this, but when you read as much as I do and become thoroughly attached to these characters, they stick around long after I have finished a book.
I am more aware of this now that I have caught myself a few times. I adjust my world and the people who live in it. The characters that I hold near and dear to my heart now sit on my shoulders and guide me as I write. They are asking what are the motivations, are they good or bad, so on and so on. They will always be there and new ones will continue to join them. Because one thing I have found as a writer, the minute I stop reading is the minute I lose inspiration.