I belong to two critique groups: "The Dabbling Muse" and "Silverweb." They're both quite different. Yet they're the same. They're the same because we read each other's works in progress and give comments. These are our individual opinions of what works in the story and what doesn't, of course. Many times, however, two or more readers will notice similar comments on one sentence, paragraph, or even a whole scene. When this happens to me, I study the suggesstions carefully and then it's clear where I went wrong.
Both groups are the same in that we try to help each other make our work the best that it can be. And you as writers know that you can miss important details because you're so close to the story. Others are able to pick up on what the writer overlooks. I take the suggesstions of my critique partners very seriously. No, I don't use all of their ideas, but at least they help me see the direction I should be going.
One of the neatest things about my critique groups, both of them, is the fact that when I'm reading their stories, I find some of the same mistakes they've made I've also made in my work. Eye opener there. So by critiquing others, I'm also critiquing myself in a way, when I realize I use the word "and" five times in one paragraph, or when I "tell" the story rather than "show" it like I'm reminding my crit partners to do.
They're different in the way we post our work. One group has a set schedule; the other is whenever you have something you need help with.
I love you, great writers: Linda, Kai, Nancy, Norma, Cheryl, Beth, and Terre. Without you I'd be hopeless. Write on, ladies.
Have a super weekend, all.