A few weeks ago I reached a point with my current work in progress--WARDENS--where I couldn't pull myself out of the story enough to see how to improve it. So, like many writers, I sent it off to my critique partner. Although she's been busy, she gave me two small critiques on Thursday based on her initial read of the first three chapters: my character believes in dragons too easily, and my setting isn't entirely believable (there's a secret society hidden in an isolated town).
While the first can be an easy fix, changing the setting would mean some heavy revisions throughout. But because I trust my partner, and because I already knew that something in my manuscript felt hollow, I thought through those revisions. I didn't dig in my feet and defend my work.
And you know what happened? I spent the weekend in front of a computer screen.
I wrote out some initial thoughts on how to revise. Then I rewrote the first chapter. My partner never told me to rewrite the first chapter, but a good critique partner doesn't have to. They point out a few flaws, and it's like some sort of veil gets lifted from your eyes. It gives you a completely new perspective to see other holes or loose ends that need tying.
So if you don't have a critique partner, find one. My partner is actually a friend/family member (which in most cases, I would say don't do), but she's also a fellow writer. Once you find a critique partner, trust them. Don't fight. It will be better for your story. And that's what we're after anyway, isn't it? Telling stories that ring true.
For other writers: how did you find your critique partners? What are your thoughts? Do you have any stories where your partner was right on, or maybe some where he/she was way off?