I have recently joined the Hatrack writers group on the Orson Scott Card website, and I must say it was probably one of the better decisions that I've made for my writing.
The basic set up for Hatrack is this: it's a forum where authors (published or not) come together and talk about writing. They post the first 13 lines of the story they are working on and ask for a critique. The reason it's 13 lines is because that is the amount typically sent in a query letter. They also have sections where you can post something about a character and then (this is the best part) people respond to your character as if they were characters themselves. It gives you a chance to respond like your character does. The questions asked are insightful and can make you go "I never thought of that" or "Oops, that doesn't work".
Well about a week after I joined I decided to post my first 13, with a request for someone to edit my whole story. A wonderful gal (who I will call Jane) offered to read it and I've just completed my second editing session with her. She pointed out several things in the first draft (my third) that hadn't made a lot of sense. I made some corrections and made a couple tough calls, so luckily on the second draft she had more technical things to cover than plot gaps. I'm still fixing it, and will probably add more to make the story line more detailed.
Jane has given me a ton of insights, and through her I've learned what to look for in editing. Since I want to edit teen novels, this has been a great experience for me!
The Hatrack community is huge, and pretty awesome! If anyone is interested they can go the Writers Workshop on hatrack.com. Just a note, you do have to be 18 to join!
If there was anything that I learned from this?
One thing that I've learned is that no matter where you are, keep righting! If you have a story being sent to an editor put it aside and write something else. We don't write as an occupation, we write because we love it!
An example of a unicorn discussion: have you ever seen any other places where a unicorn was hatched? I think I've read of the idea, but I'm not sure.
How about you? Are there any fantasy quirks that you've run into?