I have a hot and cold view of critiques. Yes, they are helpful when you have the right people. The issue that I think plagues us all is, who are those people?
I had someone actually ask if I meant a synonym of the word I used. My answer was “Yes I did mean that.” If you don’t know what a word means Google it! That sort of feedback isn’t useful. Taking and changing a word every other sentence because you personally feel it sounds better doesn’t help. After receiving my last round of critiques from an online group I am using only 1 of the 3.
So in my mind only 33% of critiques are useful unless you find a great group of people who have your best interests at hand. Finding awkward sentences, missing details that make you question what is going on, adding a word or using one that might make a stronger impact, and even telling someone their character isn’t likeable.
The key is, tell the author what they did right too. If you don’t like something, say why. Don’t re-write someone’s story purely because it wasn’t the way you would write it.
So my opinion is, if someone is going line by line and doing personal edits instead of subjective, perhaps you learn to thank them and move on. Don’t let someone ruin your story!
For now I still hope to find others that like romance of any kind to form a new critique group. Have you had any luck?