I worry about thunderstorms. Or let’s say, right now I’m worried about writing about a thunderstorm. It’s a hazard by the time you get to the fifth volume of a series, the been-there-done-that element. I need a good storm, and as I’m trying to visualize it there’s the alarm is ringing in my head.
You’ve used that image before. You’ve done this storm before. You’ve been here; you’re recycling.
So I go off and search through the earlier books, and in this case I find I’m okay. There’s a big thunderstorm in ITW but none of any significance in the others. So I can let loose, as long as I avoid echoing myself. Sometimes it happens in spite of my best intentions, and maybe it’s inevitable. Sometime I have to go re-read all twenty of Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey/Maturin novels and see how he manages to keep things fresh in a limited environment (ships, sea, men, war).