It's been a while since I posted, but I've been busy! As you can see from the NaNoWriMo icon, I'm a WINNER with my NaNo novel coming in at 55,506 by the 28th of November, when I had to quit writing for a while due to real life pressures. That novel is the second in the "Star Sons" series and now stands at over 82,000 words. It's light on descriptive passages right now because I used the impetus of NaNo to push the plot forward, which is a different way of writing for me.
A couple of days ago, I posted some questions about fantasy battles on three different websites--my Yahoo group (HPRefiners Fire, the Hatrack River Writers Group, and Critters Newsgroups. I've gotten an amazing array of answers to my questions at these three sites. The first one, my Yahoo group, is made up of readers of my Harry Potter fanfiction, many of whom are eager to read my original work as well. Many of my readers are also writers of fanfiction, some more serious than others. They come from a wide variety of backgrounds, so they have lots of interesting expertise to share in many fields. The second and third groups are writers message boards. The people posting there are either published or hoping-to-be-published authors. Their suggestions and opinions are interesting, valuable and much appreciated by me.
The trick, when asking for opinions or suggestions for your writing, is to remember that everything any of these folks say is their own opinion. They haven't read my stories. They only know what I've told them in a post, which may or may not be a good representation of the story itself.
Sometimes it's hard to trust yourself, to trust that what you've written is actually of interest to other people. That's why I'm so glad I started out writing fanfiction, where I could upload completed stories and get instant feedback. Doing those fanfiction stories helped me gain confidence in my writing so that when someone does make a comment that leaves me wondering why I'm bothering, or if I get stuck and make my OWN comments about "why am I bothering???" I know I actually am a decent writer. So kudos to my fanfiction readers! And thanks to those on the various message boards who offered suggestions to help me out.