Reading the works of the best literature masters is always helpful. Their words come from years of practice and mastery and provide a strong foundation to tell apart a good work from a bad one; this is mostly theoretical, however.
To review writers with which we share the same learning level and to let them review our work is a useful tool for improving our writing. This allows not only to get someone else’s opinion of our work (to find out how different is what we intended to say to what was understood can be very revealing) but also to see how other writers work, how they understand different concepts and apply different techniques. Noticing what works and what does not in other people’s writing is easier because that blindness that we suffer when reading once and again our own works is not present.
Reviewing other writers’ works is in fact one of the best ways to learn.
When we start reviewing other authors’ works we realize that reviewing is itself a skill that can be learned and improved with practice.
At first we focus on technical, grammar, spelling and syntax comments only. That is all very useful but it is not enough. Then we take a step forward towards style and content but being extremely cautious when evaluating scenes and ideas. We do not want to hurt feelings or egos and we make sure to make it clear that our opinion is absolutely subjective and personal.