Positive feedback from someone who knows something about the situations you are creating in a story - such as the complexity of a major "fleet" engagement, is always a boost to the confidence. I use a group of readers and writers to get feedback on my writing and suggestions for improvement. They have a fairly diverse background, some are grammarians, some editors and all are writers. One way or another, we all help each other to get our structures, our stories and our manuscripts as polished as we can make them. Sometimes you get a critique that makes you take the work apart and rewrite it, and sometimes its just a list of corrections to deal with. Occasionally you get some really moral boosting feedback and comments.
Today I got one of the latter from someone with a military background. The chapter he was reading on this occasion is a first draft of my latest Harry Heron, and it is near the end of the book with a climactic battle in progress. His response was very flattering -
Incredibly complicated battle, you must have spent considerable time just coordinating every vessel and the attack plan. As I re-read this, all of the pieces moved as if they were on a giant chess board, and I was able to understand what was taking place. Good twist about the gravitational pull of the huge mother ship under attack, and the effect of the atmosphere causing frictional heat on the attacking ship's hulls.
The reasoning and interpretation by Harry, and his calm orders are a good example of "Courage = Grace under Fire."
Now I'd call that a compliment and then some. He is right, I do spend some time working out the move and counter move in any battle scene. I draw on my own service background for Fire Command, where one is constantly assessing, juggling and trying to second guess the "enemy" - the fire. I have also had the benefit of taking part in some military strategic "war games" played out in real time on a large expanse of floor using scale models and a set of values and rules known as the "Fletcher-Pratt Rules" which actually do give very realistic outcomes.
Obviously, on this occasion, I got the descriptions and the moves exactly right!