I happened to read a forum where people discussed their opinions of popular authors. I saw posts criticizing Jordan, hating on Rothfuss, absolutely excoriating Goodkind, and tearing Meyer to shreads. Wheel of Time is my favorite series ever. Yes, it drags in the middle, but I don't think I'll ever match the richness of the world he created. Name of the Wind is one of the best novels I've ever read. It impressed me completely. I couldn't put it down. I can emphasize with people getting turned off the Sword of Truth, but I've seen heavy criticism of Wizard's First Rule, which I found to be fantastic. Twilight isn't the best example of good writing, but it's a page turner that's incredibly fun to read. In my wildest dreams, I'm not sure I'll be able to produce anything approaching 75% as good as any of the works mentioned above. Should I feel discouraged that, if even these awesome writers get so heavily criticized, what hope do I have? Or, should I feel encouraged because, not matter how well or how badly I write, I'm going to find some people who love it and some people who hate it? As far as introductions go: I'm a professional mechanical engineer who has read fiction voraciously his entire life. I decided over a decade ago that I was going to write a novel. I set about reading as much as possible about how to write and wrote some short stories as practice. Finally, last year, my wife told me to either start writing my novel or stop talking to her about it. Right as I got started, we moved to Southern California, and I found a writers meetup group. After writing and rewriting, checking and editing, stressing over a piece for weeks, I thought it was pretty good. I went to my first meeting and got it bled all over. It wasn't the most fun experience, but I think my writing has improved greatly since that day. I'm now working on chapter 19 out of a planned 30.