Do you ever recycle the best parts of your past writing into new works?
So, dear readers, do I enter it into something small and if (very much an if!) it wins a prize accept that it's going to be read by a handful of people then get filed away forever? OR, do I scrap the story and keep the writing for use in something with a better concept and plot? Or, is it possible to do both?
I know some writers write short stories that later turn into full novels, or that are character studies for their novel-in-progress. That sort of re-using old work seems fair enough. Reducing the elements of a short bit of fiction down to a central idea, then using that again, also seems fine to me. After all, my first novel is essentially a developed version of four failed short stories I never managed to get how I wanted! But what about recycling whole sentences, or even passages from semi-successful work?
Imagine you've written the best description of a thunderstorm you possibly could, in the middle of a short story. It's creative and interesting and avoids cliches, and yet isn't pretentious or out of place. Your story wins a competition, gets published online and read by a couple of hundred people. Some months later you're writing a novel and a storm comes up (hey, you have a thing about storms, don't blame me). Do you use your amazing description, perhaps edited very slightly, or do you settle for something you don't love as much but is original?
Is it a case of "my work my rules"? Or are there situations where this would never be acceptable? I'd be interested to know your thoughts.