One day, while wondering how I would ever get traction on getting my novel completed and then published, I happened upon a grand idea one day and looked through Facebook's various groups for those with a writing bent. I promptly joined four, including Fantasy Faction's.
I wanted to begin nudging my nose into the industry and thought connecting with writers and readers would be helpful. I also wanted to get a feel for the genre's health - what's in vogue, what's hot, what's not, etc. I love fantasy and have loved it for 45 years (since I read the Hobbit at age 5), but I am behind the times. Yes, I turn 50 in March.
My Facebook experiences were mixed - I departed two groups almost immediately. They were just various authors randomly screeching advertisements for their work. Worse, their work was terrible. I immediately liked the Fantasy Faction FB group. Almost right away I got some great ideas, which was what I was after in the first place. In particular, feedback from my question "What tropes/conventions do you hate the most?" was extraordinarily good for me - tipping me to expand X, reduce or change Y, and eliminate Z altogether.
For example, I knew I wanted to craft a book with good, rounded female characters who did more than give the hero someone to pursue, rescue, etc.. I wanted to model a character from a good female friend, whose friendship and advice were tremendously important to me in the military. Importantly, I wanted to present what a male-female friendship looks like, without neither romance nor its cousins (un-pursued longing, etc.). What I didn't know until Fantasy-Faction, was that readers want to read that. I literally worried people might not be interested in a m-f friendship with neither sex nor dreamy-eyed staring, and the feedback indicated that, surprisingly to me, people are interested in that, very much. Like most good advice, much of it I knew all along - I just needed an outside voice to point it out. And I got it.
So, I found the forum, and here I sit. My time here has helped me on several levels, within and beyond my novel. I just discovered the main website by clicking on the dragon today and was blown away. I didn't realize how many of my favorite authors are affiliated with this clan of fantasy writer-reader-warrior-poets. If I had, well, perhaps I'd have put on a tie
Anyway, that's how I ended up here.