Today I'm skimming through a suspense novel I've read before. I'm jotting down the suspense sequences in the order they occur to balance my next novel's suspense episodes. There's no chance of copying the other author's work, as our suspense involves around entirely different subjects, but I'll use the other author's book as a guide for pacing.
Earlier in the week, I read through a fictional novel from the early eighties. With this book, I took notes on her use of descriptions and emotional phrases. I'll let them inspire me when writing my book and tweak them to fit. Again, there's no chance of me copying someone else' work because our writing styles from the different eras are dramatically different.
Why am I doing this? This method is how I strengthen my writing skills. The older novels, though often too wordy, held a passion that is often lost today. They could describe a simple scene of someone sitting in a boat on the water and your suddenly there feeling everything around you. Or, two lovers can be looking at each other from across the room, not even touching, and you can feel your own skin heat from their intensity. I want to possess that kind of talent. So I study their techniques while balancing it with modern fiction.