I’ve spoken in the past about referencing other media, but there’s also references to personal experience. Someone who has experienced a fist-fight has a very different impression and description of them than someone who has never swung a punch. Someone who has been drunk will write a different experience of being drunk than someone who hasn’t. This reflection of experience and the limitation on imagination pervades everything – it’s why you can read Hemingway’s work, and even when his work doesn’t read Mum didn’t like me much you can more or less guess at it. This is structural in everyone’s writing – when we write about things, we reflect how we know about them.
In my writing, the one thing I am most comfortable writing is angry young men who feel wronged by their upbringing and officious church people of spectacular cruelty, and informal, gutter-style fighting. This is worrying.