A few years back, before I found my own just-the-right-size critique group, I used to take part in a sprawling and inconsistent Meet-up group called KITSAP WRITERS. My first attempt to get any critique out of it was inauspicious: I sat in a rather claustrophobic meeting room in a Naval community facility for three hours ~ yes, you read that right: three hours ~ listening to to people maunder on about whatever personal concerns were suggested to them by elements of the story being critiqued: their vacations, their pets, things that happened to them the previous week, or year, or decade. By the time we got to my story, there were six people left of the original three dozen, two of whom had read my story.
I did eventually get some helpful critique, most of it from the group's founder (now founder emeritus), Randy Henderson.
Randy, who refers to himself as a relapsed sarcasm addict, writes, as you might guess, darkly humorous fiction. His novel Finn Fancy Necromancy, coming this year from the major fantasy publisher TOR, won the Writers of the Future 2014 Golden Pen Grand Prize.
He also writes incredibly useful articles about the profession of writing, such as this one on setting goals. Here is an excerpt from an article on why we need scientist heroes again, as pointed as it is entertaining: