One, that the plot can go in many different directions.
Two, that you can mix the believable with the fantastic.
Three, quirky's all right.
Four, explanations and descriptions are good.
All the above are predicated on it all being interesting. Interesting being things you didn't already know. Interesting being told in a skillful way -- a reassuring author's voice. Interesting just being good writing.
So, externally, I'm not sure what I learned that I can adopt.
Strangely, the more I analyze the more the actual answer seems to be -- trust your own instincts. Don't get sidetracked by doubts, because other people do it differently.
Take what you got and stretch it.
I wonder sometimes if all the advice about writing -- all the books and so on -- just don't bend people in unnatural directions, make them too self-conscious. Of course, you have to be willing to improve, and that often means trying to learn or take advice.
But at the same time, you really need to do it your way -- the way that works for you. Analyze what your doing, and try to improve on that.
I've got a basic model for that in my business. Yes, there are certain fundamentals. But more than that, you need to think for yourself, and if your analysis is different from the common wisdom, you need to follow your own instincts.
It comes back to trial and error -- seeing what works for you and what doesn't and then stretching the part that works, and shrinking the part that doesn't.