Ruth Rendell

Someone has offered me a booklet on Writing Aids. I have asked for more information. After all, pens, pencils, writing paper and computers are all aids to writing, if not essentials. (especially, in my case, this computer.)
If it means writing a novel, I already have my way of doing things, and if I want lessons in how to improve my work then I prefer to study the work of proven quality writers. Not to copy — certainly not! Neither do I read Romance — I want my Romantic novels to be completely without influence no matter how good other writers.
As books are read to me, I notice the flow of dialogue, when narrative exposes the writer rather than the players, sentence structure, problems of too many characters, language that detracts and that which enhances. The way the whole story comes together into a climax and sustaining interest right up to the end.
We have just finished reading Ruth Rendell’s ‘To Fear a Painted Devil’. It was first published in 1965. Nothing is lost in the passage of time. The tension is there from the beginning and interest held until the end. I personally found too many characters to hold in my mind as the tale unfolded — a sign of old age?
A short while ago, we read her ‘The Bridesmaid’. First published 1988. The difference in style is quite marked. But the tension is tangible — right up to the end. The characters both colourful and ordinary, but all unforgettable.
When I read myself, I find that I am noting the punctuation and noticing that which reads best.
It seems to me that proven authors tell us much about good writing, as they do about good plots. Even so, our own voice is surely just as important in becoming an established author.

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