Your methods all sound interesting!
As a budding anthropologist, logophile, and analyzer of stories (what motifs and symbols are pervasive, which building blocks are used, etc), my works tend to be inspired by a plethora of random other bits and pieces. My main WIP started with a dream I had, which was expanded slightly with a song. Now it has been reworked and modified based on dozens of songs I like and imported character elements or plot threads from other stories. For example, a massive country-shaping ancient conspiracy that is vastly important to the plot and world was the result of me hearing the single song ‘Godhunter’ by Aviators. (The song is about a woman – the godhunter – hunting down mortals who made themselves into false gods, not about someone hunting down actual God).
Because of this mix-and-match jumble of inspiring elements my narratives rarely follow the events surrounding a single individual and instead spread to cover a whole world. In the world inspired by that one dream (which I call Haven as that is the name of the country a plurality of events occur in), there are at least half a dozen different narratives going on. Some are about the ancient conspiracy, some are about the formation of the conspiracy, some take place between, some are only distantly connected to it, some are completely unconnected to it. In the same world I have a struggle between paganism and Christianity in my Viking nation and a middle ages Indo-Arabian retelling of the Star Wars Skywalker Saga set thousands of years before the Viking conflict. And neither of those stories has much to do with the plot of the most ‘main’ story I have, which deals with the aftereffects of the conspiracy without actually being aware that there was a conspiracy and these are the aftereffects…
Bottom line, there’s a whole lot going on and most of it is because I’ve listened to a song’s lyrics and thought ‘this could apply to my story/world, I’ll weave it in’.
My other WIP, about a world where all major beliefs are true and Hunters track down supernatural monsters to protect humanity, was actually taken (with permission) from a close friend of mine who based it off the show Supernatural. That WIP is mostly based on me trying to portray that world as plausibly as possible, staying true to the real myths and beliefs of the real cultures I borrow them from, and also trying to avoid the various mistakes Supernatural committed. (For example, mispronouncing Samhain as ‘Sam Hane’ makes sense based on the spelling – it is a celtic word and most don’t understand that spelling rules for gaelic languages would dictate it be pronounced ‘saw-win’ instead – but turning a <span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>pagan holiday/festival</span> into a halloween demon whose release breaks one of the 66 seals binding Lucifer makes no sense.)
For the Hunters thing I do still take inspiration from song lyrics, but that affects mostly characters and their relationships with one another rather than the worldbuilding or plot.
…that was really long. Sorry. Hope this was interesting though?
"Remember, you go nowhere by accident. Wherever you go, God is sending you." - Rev. Peter R. Hale