Critique partner? I’ve never had one. I have a few beta readers that I rely on to keep me from making too big a fool of myself, but it is a one way street. Sure, I’ve helped a few friends from time to time, but it is most always for a chapter, two at most. I must admit, those requests are few and far between.
So, am I missing out? Probably. Will I lose sleep over it? Not a chance. My beta readers are a Godsend and I trust them to a fault, but just to make sure I don’t get to complacent, I usually pick a person to read my near-complete works for a different point of view. Nine times out of ten, they don’t come up with anything my two favorite betas don’t offer up as well.
They do a bang up job and pull no punches. I usually get the MS back within a few days and it often looks like it is bleeding to death. I’ve had them catch everything from simple typos to lackadaisical character development. In short, when I right shit, they have no qualms about telling me how bad it stinks. Having said that, they also let me know when a passage really moves them. I really feel that if I’m going to grow as a writer, I need both and me betas seem to realize this as well.
Someday, I may take the plunge and at the very least, join a crit group, but for now, this is the system that works for me.