Often times new writers will think they don't want to find a critique partner or group ... but it is essential to improve our stories!
As a writer, it is EASY to picture what my main character looks like, acts like, and talks like ... but have I portrayed that image accurately to my reader? How will I know if I don't let a critique partner rip it open? A "nice" reader (like your mom or BFF) may not have the will or desire to tell you what's wrong with your story, but another writer who wants to help you improve will (should) tell you.
One of my brutal critique partners is my 16-yr-old daughter. Seriously. She rips my stuff apart! But I just love her more for it.
I recently gave her the first ten pages of my newest work-in-progress. I waited for her to come to me and say: Give me more pages!
But ... she didn't! ACK!
I asked her what she thought of the pages, and she grimaced. She hated the main character. Why? I asked (shocked, of course, because I love the main character). My daughter said the m.c. complains too much, and it annoyed her as a reader.
What? My main character is not a complainer! She's strong and goal oriented and confident and happy ... isn't she?
I asked my daugher if she liked anything about the m.c. ... My daughter thought TOO LONG and finally answered: I like her name.
So ... I'm reading chapter one again of THE FIRE IN FICTION by Maass, and I'm reconsidering the concept of SAVING THE CAT by Snyder.
Clearly ... the image in my head did not carry through to the page and then to the reader.
How about you? Do you have critique partners that you trust to tell you the brutal truth about your writing?