I couldn't agree more about her thoughts on great crit partners, and with some of her insights on believing in yourself first and foremost. I'm going to share something I learned about critiques when I first put my work out there for
You can't please all of the people all of the time.
Good crit partners are priceless. They will destroy your cliches, point out the passive crapola, slay the modifiers and dialogue tags, and have some serious-awesome suggestions for overall improvement.
When you get a critted piece back, read it over. Then read it over again, correcting all the inevitable typos and silly mistakes they found. Then put it away and pout, cry, curse, be pissed - whatever you need - for a few days. Forget all about it. Have some beer. Play Rock Band with the kids. Then read it again. This time, looking for all the personal opinions.
There are some things only you can decide for your plot, and MC's.
When I was a newbie, I'd get that first painful crit back and...really?...Critter A hates that part where X plays the trick on Y?
Obviously the trick needs to go. Seek and destroy.
Then Critters B & C would weigh in, and my reaction would go something like:
Wait, what? You both love X playing the trick on Y? But, but...Critter A hated that part. And, and...I already changed it. Crap. Back to the writing board.
People have different reactions to critiques, and plenty probably react similarly to the way I used to. Some may already have figured out to wait on changing things, and there are surely those out there who get their future bestselling masterpieces back and choose to ignore everything, because, well, their critters are obviously stupid and have no eye for good writing.
Side Note: Those of you in the last category may want to read over Claire's bit about humility again. You can be good, you can even be great, but you can always learn something from others.
Now, I'm not saying personal opinions can't also become good crits. For instance if 2 of 3 separately comment that X tricking Y isn't doing it for them, you need to take a hard look. If it's 1-1 and the third doesn't even mention it, chances are you need to do a thorough reading of that area and make your own decision.
Okay, you can resume singing Billy Joel now...*don't go changing to try and please me...*