The critique group I've been with for over twenty years has balance. It operates on a quid pro quo system. Before you can upload your chapter, you are required to do so many critiques. You are required to do X amount of critiques for every uploaded chapter. Depending on how fast you critique or write, you set the pace.
Now, authors come and go both published and wanna-be published. They write and read a variety of material in the process. Sometimes the best teacher is seeing something wrong in someone else's work before you rethink your own. That's the way it was for me and boy, did it take some pounding on my head to change certain things from the way I was writing it.
Now, I might not know everything about English grammar although I do edit and/or critique other authors' work. When I first started writing my major stumbling block was comma splices. But when something is blatantly wrong with the sentence and I mention it, it should be noted. I have helped edit over 300 books to date and have been in the business for over thirty years. That counts for something. Some of these books are published and some hopefully will never see printed word on pages. Yes, some are that terrible. They should hire someone else to write it, which is why I do ghost writing.
What I lack in grammar skills, I make up for in consistency and redundancy. I'll catch it every time. If something isn't clear or physically impossible, I'll ask a rhetorical question about it. What I look for in a chapter or book I'm critiquing...
Redundancy is also the overuse of the same word over and over again in rapid succession. An example- I looked left and right and looked again to my right before I pulled forward. When I looked to my right, I saw a bicycle coming towards me. When I see something like the example I want to run from the room screaming, "My God! Someone get this person a thesaurus!"
It's easier to do than you think. I use a rule of thumb of one word per paragraph or even two. Never give your rough draft to someone to read. Nobody writes a perfect first draft. When I was learning English, I carried a thesaurus instead of a dictionary. I gained a better understanding of the word I heard or read. It's a good thing I kept English as my main language after my stroke instead of one my husband didn't know.
The physically impossible- Sometimes you get so caught up in the scene you are writing that you forget a step. Example- Cara's mother hugged her so tight she couldn't breathe. She was smothered between her mom's ample bosom. "It's okay, Mom," she said as she patted her hand. Can you see the error? How could Cara pat her mother's hand while in a bear hug? Fight scenes are usually where these type of errors occur, but not always. It will prompt a rhetorical question from me like, "How is this possible?" or "Something is missing." I don't want a long drawn out answer to me, but show me in your writing.
Think of the tension of the story as the rope pictured above. It slowly unravels getting thinner and thinner as it is pulled. Until finally, there is just one strand left holding the pieces of rope together. The same is true with writing. What is the undeniable force pulling the rope apart in your book? Tension builds excitement for your reader. What are the stakes? How does it build the anticipation of the reader? What will happen when the strand of thread finally breaks?
If you find a good critique partner or partners, stick with them. They are a rare commodity. Equally sharing the work load, deadlines, and ownership of the group is also scarce, but can be found.
Do you have a critique group or are you looking for a new one?I may have an answer for you.
Keep writing and loving the Lord.