The group I belong to has 11 members and we all write YA. We are a by application only online crit group. This of course allows us to chat, crit, brainstorm, and share information from the comfort of our own homes. And the added bonus is that we all write for teens. So we are better suited to help one another on our journey. We “get” one another.
The importance of having other people crit your stories for you is that they bring a whole new perspective to your work. Because I, for one, know that I tend to miss things when I’m writing. Or sometimes I’m too close to the characters/plot that I’m not able to figure out what needs to be cut or added.
So having someone else come in with a fresh pair of eyes enables me to catch things I might have otherwise missed. Above that, there are times when maybe I know a scene isn’t working and I can have one of the girls read it through and they can make some suggestions.
But beyond the critiques we do, we’ve also forged some awesome friendships and we act as a support system for one another. Because let me tell you, when you start sending those queries out it’s good to have other writers to come back to and discuss things with. No matter how much your family and friends are “cool” with the writing thing, they never fully understand the time, energy, emotions, and hard work you put into the MS.
So if you don’t already have a crit group, find one. You won’t be sorry!