Of course, I thought I was. After the first novel (which sitteth sweetly patient in the drawer) I said the same about the second but got led astray. In hindsight, I recognised influence from authors I was reading at the time. Sudden author intervention after reading David Lodge for example. Casual slaying of the innocent, even the dog for heaven's sake, after intense watching of The Wire. Don't laugh, the impressive thing was how seamlessly I managed it!
What was I thinking? I was finding out how they did it. And that's not a bad thing, but the middle of a novel isn't the time to experiment. Sounds obvious? Yes, but I'm not sorry. I've learnt loads and dog lived to tell the tale (err, no he didn't...tell the tale, that is. He did survive, just hurt his paw. Actually the dog's female. You have to watch that sort of thing too).