Francis asked Brent Weeks:

I am attempting to write my first Novel.I joined a writers forum looking for feedback but it seems everyone thinks their way is better. What are your thoughts on using Forums as a writers tool?? Thanks :)

Brent Weeks Depends on your personality, and your community. Some writers absolutely write best as a part of a community, and some writers need encouragement to even be brave enough to pick up a pen (even if they're incredibly gifted). Given the right group, I think a writers' group would almost always be helpful. The group I'd want to be part of would be the Inklings: Hey, T, what do you think about this fight scene? Too Balrog-y? Did I get the vocative case of this right? Hey, Dorothy Sayers, what do you think about this mystery subplot? Clive, buddy! Is this metaphor too obvious--oh, never mind.
The problem is, most writing groups aren't made up of geniuses. They're not even made up of your ideal audience. (Imagine if Stephenie Meyer had gone to a forum for lit fic. You can argue that may have been good for some other people, but it would have been a disaster for Stephenie Meyer.) A problem with getting advice from non-pros is that you get semi-pro advice.
"Oh, we love the mysterious doctor, you have to tell us in the next chapter about this time war he was in! That's what I'm most interested in!" Well. Yes. And no. No no no no no.
I think if a writing forum/group helps you get the work done, do it. If you have the right group, and you feel inspired, and you feel that you're doing better and better work, do it. If it's not working for you, that's fine.
I always wanted to be part of a writers' group. It seemed so romantic, right? And maybe that was the missing piece that would finally put me over the top and get me published.
And I never found one that was right for me. That hurt. It sucked.
Yet... here I am, living the dream.
Brent Weeks

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