Way way way back before I ever published, I ran across a very talented critique partner in Critique Circle. This is an online forum where aspiring writers come together to critique each other's works and improve upon their craft.
I made so many juvenile mistakes in my writing. My words got picked apart, all those mistakes revealed to me along with how I could improve them.
I count my time in Critique Circle as my crucible. It's where I learned to write.
One of my first critique partners was Pam Godwin, an incredibly talented writer and we began critiquing each other's words very early on. She was working on her first book, DEAD OF EVE, (https://amzn.to/2wiYYsK) and I was working on mine, VENDEL RISING (https://amzn.to/2x1ceCO), published under my sci-fi pen name, L.A. WARREN.
Pam's critiques were always spot on, she gave it to me straight, always delivered constructively, but never sugar-coated. I grew as a writer because of her.
She went on to publish years before I took the plunge and I've devoured all of her books. I'm still privileged to Beta read but her skill honestly has surpassed my critique skills.
That was four years ago. It's hard to believe, but it's true. If you're into dark books, a little PNR romance, love reading RH done right, I encourage you to read her Dead of Eve series. Pam Godwin ripped my heart out with the second book, and I still haven't forgiven her for that, but it was one of those hurt so good moments…GAH, thinking about it still brings tears to my eyes.
Anyway, she's writing this dirty dark Pirate book called SEA OF RUIN, a dark historical pirate romance (https://amzn.to/39pR0fW) and you really should consider reading it. It's going to be phenomenal!