I'm still in mourning over my laptop. Sigh. I sure hope it can be fixed. I'm supposed to go on a writing retreat at the end of this month and there wouldn't be much point without my computer. Though lazing around at a beach house with my writing friends and taking long walks on a secluded Oregon beach wouldn't be such a bad thing. I could read a book. Wow, what a concept! I haven't read a book in months! And my TBR pile is teetering.
Speaking of writing friends, my online critique group "meets" the first and fifteenth of every month. We meet via email, and the meeting consists of submitting chapters of our WIPs to each other. Most of us have been in this group for a long time, like over ten years, though we just brought a couple of excellent writers onboard to freshen things up. It's been great. Their stuff is fantastic!
One of the ongoing problems I have with my group is when someone says "...you need to remind us about thus and so. And you need to explain XYZ." These criticisms have caused me to take on the bad habit of repeating myself more often than necessary, and over-explaining. My crit partners mean well, but what happens when you're submitting a novel chapter by chapter is that they forget information from something they haven't read for a while. Crit partners go on vacation, take a break from the group, or simply have swiss cheese memories. Sometimes they skip reading your stuff for months, then come back with suggestions for reminders and explanations. Ugh.
This means it's up to me to determine whether or not I should follow those suggestions. In my early writing days, I'd always follow this advice, only to be told later by someone reading the book for the first time that I'm repeating myself and over explaining things. I'm trying to break myself of the habit, but after ten years of beating it into me, it hasn't been easy.
So what I've learned to do is flag those areas remarked upon by two of my crit buddies (it's always these same two writers, the others never mention reminders or the need for repeating details) and then when I'm done with the manuscript, I can determine if repetition and extra explanation is a warranted. Fresh beta readers help with this, too.
Are you in a critique group? What do you see as the pros and cons of critique? What's the worst advice you've ever received from a critique partner?