Critique groups and partners

Do you have a critique group or partner? Why or why not? 

My stories always sound good in my head. I just don't always have the patience to make it sound good on paper. I gave my first story to a friend to read. She was kind and helpful. She pointed out that the dog in the story, a very important dog, didn't have a name or breed. 
"Can't you read my mind?" I asked.
"Nope. And neither can your readers."

I'm totally embarrassed by that no name dog now BUT my friends critique made me realize my story baby isn't as cute as I thought. I needed other writers to see the problems and help me fix them. I needed a critique group. 

At a local writing conference, Josi Kilpack presented on critique groups and how they work. This had to be a sign! I was pumped up and ready for a group after her talk. But I was still a newbie to the writing community. How do I find a group?
The answer was: another writing conference. 

I can't remember how our group started. From LDStorymakers? Yamile Mendez got us all together. Jaime Theler was the only published author at the time. Now we have three published books (thanks to Julie Daines) between the five of us, with many more to come, I'm sure. 

We are a support group for everything from writing to rejections. Each person in the group has a critiquing strength. And a writing strength. I love reading all their stories. I am lucky to be in such a good group.

We have five in our group. We try to upload and meet in person every month. One week, we upload, two weeks later, we meet. We get about forty or more pages done in a month. We have tweaked things over the five years we've been together. 

This is my critique group (minus the token guy, Scott Rhoades), Sharks & Pebbles.
Jaime, Yamile, Taffy, Julie at LDStorymakers

 I'll post the video soon that inspired our name, Sharks&Pebbles, sometimes shortened to, S&P.


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