A while back, someone asked me the following question:
"Do you think I'm ready for a critique partner?"
The answer is yes. The answer to that question is ALWAYS yes. And I've put together a PRESENTATION on Critiquing and Critique Partnerships to shed further light on what makes for an awesome critique partnership.
Whether you've just finished your first book during NaNoWriMo, or completed intense revisions on your eighteenth novel, there is never a time in your progression as a writer when an outside opinion doesn't have the potential to be life-changing.
That's not to say that every outside opinion WILL be. I once had someone do a line-by-line edit of my full manuscript in which they questioned every single simile. "You say she's like a duck here, but she's not REALLY a duck, so I found this confusing."
Yeah. That happened.
Trading material with potential critique partners is a lot like trying on shoes. Just because the info on the box looks good, doesn't mean the shoe inside is going to fit you perfectly. BUT, just because one pair doesn't fit, doesn't mean something super shiny and lovely isn't waiting in the next box.
You can't really KNOW if a critique partnership will work until you try it on.
As to the question that prompted this post . . . PLEASE. Please don't believe that nasty little voice in your head telling you that you don't deserve shoes. That voice is a moron. EVERYONE deserves shoes. And finding the right ones can take you and your story amazing places.
If you're like me, one of your very favorite parts of working with a critique partner will be those moments when you realize YOU are another writer's favorite pair of shoes. It's true. That happens. YOU can be the one who's comfortable and supportive enough to help someone keep going, no matter how rough the road gets.
Give some thought to what you're looking for in a critique partner, and what kind of critique partner you'd like to be in return. And if you have the time, take a peek at my PRESENTATION. It might help you with your "shoe shopping."