I had a partial request earlier this year. I take this as success on the query front, because the agent didn't reject the query. The problem is, the agent rejected the partial.
I did receive good feedback, though. The agent thought I was a talented writer, and that my premise is clever, but the narrative had too much exposition / backstory and not enough forward momentum. Some of the feedback paralleled comments from my critique group, but the agent had a better way of pointing it out. After receiving that feedback, I read through the manuscript again and I had to agree.
Truth of the matter is, this is my first novel, and by the time I finished draft 1 my storytelling improved, my plot thickened, and my writing style matured. That meant the whole first half of the book was sub-par, even though I revised it twice already.
But a revision, to me at least, is editing what was written. What I needed was a re-write. Completely new content for the first third of the book, at least. (Insert f-bomb here).
I took to the keyboard and started again from scratch, something I've dreaded for months, but in the back of my mind I knew it would be necessary.
Tell me: Are you sure your manuscript is ready for the next step, or is there a chance you are querying prematurely?
Where do you turn for manuscript critiques?