Authors often discuss how reading improves your writing. However, there’s a big difference between passive and active reading, and if you’re serious about using published novels to improve your writing you must learn how to do the later. When you read passively, you consuming a novel as entertainment – you’re trawling through without paying attention to detail. This lets you form a broad judgement (“this is great!”). By contrast, active reading involves specific focus on an author’s craft. It is to passive reading what fly-fishing is to trawling. Active reading encourages your judgement to be precise (“this is great because the chapter endings created lots of suspense!”).