I can tell that my writers' group is working. All the things taught are finally sinking in.
How, you ask, can I tell? Is it because my writing is getting better? No. Is it because I am able to outline a better story? No. Are my characters more real or dimensional? No.
It is because last night my dream had a full story arc. It had a begining, middle, and end. It had antagonists, protagonist, cool side characters, unexpected dialogue, and a great ending. The characters all grew and changed. It could have been a movie. It even had a begining-of-act-three montage. I was totally blown away that I had such a complete dream. All the Inkers' efforts must be paying off.