Can I learn from other authors?

I have always thought that one should read as much as one writes. And although I notice the different ways writers handle their work, I don’t always put it into practice. I feel I should because if one is convinced that there is a better way, why not adopt it. It doesn’t mean that you are copying. The words are still your own, but you are learning construction and if that makes your novel more readable, why not?

My detective normally goes into his office, hangs up his jacket and gives orders to his sergeant before leaving for a coffee in the canteen. (A reader can imagine the set-up, but it’s not exactly painting a picture with words.)

Recently I came across Denise Mina’s novel ‘The End of the Wasp Season’ and I’ve been blown away by her writing. For example – When the detective enters her office, she’s sweating, tired and out of spirits. We know by the dumping of her bag on the floor. She looks at her in-tray and takes a deep breath. She places a hand on either side of the desk like a pianist centring herself before a recital. She doesn’t want this case. She’s losing compassion for the victim and she doesn’t want to meet the killer.

It goes on to paint the picture of her sterile office and compares it with her friend’s chaotic, garish  kitchen.

What the words are doing is giving us an insight to the detective’s character.

I need to sit down and examine parts of my own writing and put in the bits that are missing.

(Please note – Amazon ebooks -pen-name Sarah Wallace (six novels self-published).

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