Hi Lou! Welcome to FW! I'm so glad that God directed you here. How awesome that you have taken the plunge and already submitted a story. I know how scary that can be. You may want to leave a link to your articles (unless the challenge article is still being judged) It makes it easier for people to find your stories. There are so many that it can be a bit difficult to find them. Another thing that you can do is add your profile to your signature. That way anytime you post, people can click on it and will be taken to your profile page like I've done in my signature.
FW is a great place to meet other Christians and writers. People here are great encouragers and willing to share their knowledge with others. The Open Forum
is a great place to ask questions about writing and publishing.
The weekly challenge is one of the most popular spots here for sure. I'm excited that you took the plunge and entered. I just checked and the judges are done with the judging for exam. If you go to Brick Throwing
you can leave a link to your story. That way you will receive more feedback. Most people here are really genuine and want to help you become the best writer possible. Sometimes red ink can sting at first. After all a writer pours his heart into these stories and it can feel like someone called your baby ugly. If that happens, I try to let it settle a few days, then almost always I can see the validity of the comment. Sometimes it's just one person's opinion, it doesn't mean you have to take it. The cool thing is people want to build you up here, not tear you down like other places might. If you can afford the few dollars a month to upgrade to Gold or Platinum membership, being able to enter the weekly challenge each week is so totally worth the money. There is a word count limit which has helped me learn to tighten my writing up quite a bit. The deadline has also helped me on my procrastination. I still wait to the last minute, but am writing on a more regular basis.There is also some excellent reading material there.
You also can find a wealth of info and a variety of people on the boards. It's also a great way to make friends. I've become close to people from all over the world. Because of health problems, I'm stuck at home often. FW opened a whole new world for me. Not only have I met people from all over the world, but I've become great friends with many of them.
A great place for writing tips can be found at Jan's Writing Basics.
Also The Water Cooler
is a great place to meet people. They have topics that range from regional areas to just popping in to say hi. Another great place to go is Prayer Requests.
It's wonderful to be able to request prayer and to lift others up in need. You also might enjoy The Men's Den.
It hasn't been active for a few months, but don't let that stop you from popping in and enjoying the threads there. Now that summer is ending, the boards may pick up a bit more.
Fw is much like a family. There is something for everyone. The people encourage, support, and love each other. Welcome to the family!
The Critique Circle is a great place for paid members to receive a detailed critique on their work. Just recently, they have allowed members to pay so much a page for detailed feedback. This is for silver members or members who want a critique but don't have the time to critique someone else's work. That's how the circle works. Each time you leave feedback, you receive a credit to allow you to post a piece and to get a constructive critique.
I hope I gave you some places to start. The site is huge and there are so many wonderful things here. You may want to check out the FAQ
thread as that may answer many of your questions.
Have fun exploring, jump into conversations and don't be afraid to ask any questions.