One of the things about writing is that you need someone to read your work. I don't mean you want it published and read, although you do. I mean you need someone to read it and tell you what's good, what's bad, what's close but not quite there. That's a critique.
Yesterday I got a four page critique on my book. I was expecting one from my brother, who reads scifi and fantasy all the time. However, it is from my dad, who never reads those things. Some of the suggestions he made don't work because he doesn't know the outline of the second book, but some of them were good. I am in the process of incorporating them now.
Today and tomorrow I am reading six pieces of works or whole works, if they are short stories, and writing critiques on them myself. I am going to ArmadilloCon25 on Friday for their writer's workshop. Most people would have read these much earlier, but I am a procrastinator. I am always afraid they are going to be horrible and I am not going to know how to suggest improvements. They've never been that bad, so I don't know why I think that.
I just read one that I would love to read the rest of the novel. I hope she has it finished and isn't on the first chapter like I was last year.