I thought my profile might be a good place to mention a few thoughts that have gone through my mind while reading fanfiction stories & the reviews attached to them.
xxx While a part of me believes authors owe me little more than basic common courtesy & they have the right to do whatever they want with their stories, they need to remember they've posted those stories on a public site & expect/hope others will read & review their product. Authors use the readers & readers use the authors. We are all in this together.
xxx In my opinion there is only one completely unforgivable act an author can do. Marking an obviously abandoned story as complete without mentioning its incompleteness in the summary or anywhere in the story. This shows complete disregard for readers. One simple word in caps (ABANDONED) in the summary is all it would take. Nothing worse than spending hours reading & reviewing the sucker only to be blindsided & left hanging in the middle of nowhere. Readers should have a choice whether or not they read an abandoned story, not tricked into it.
xxx I tend to lose all my warm fuzzies when an author takes either a completed story or an incomplete but well established story, removes all but one chapter then uploads new chapters in the old story's slot but with a different story-line. These stories, more often than not, end up abandoned then we are left with nothing:( Please don't do this. If you want to do major rearranging of a story or change the story-line, start a new story. Don't wipe out a perfectly good story.
xxx Removing stories to publish for profit. There have been many unbelievably incredible fanfiction stories on this & other websites. True masters of their craft! It's kind of a no brainer why someone would jump at the chance to sell their product instead of giving it away for free.
But...I don't like feeling used. I've spent hours reading & reviewing, many times re-reading because of rewrites. Then there comes a big announcement that the story will be removed and published. Several times I've suspected the writer planned to publish from day one & used the readers to fine tune parts of the story before publication. One author, in an AN, told their readers they just knew we were all excited for them. Ah, no not really. While a part of me is happy for you & wish you well, don't expect me to smile after being kicked in the teeth.
xxx I read stories from every level. From perfectly written, 5 star level stories with thousands of reviews all the way down to silly stories with bad spelling & few reviews. Generally speaking, bad spelling, punctuation & grammar doesn’t bother me much. As long as their story-line is creative, I can usually read around the rest of it. I do have my limits.
Misspelled titles - I always shake my head when I see this. For me it's unbelievable. As mentioned before, bad spelling in a story generally doesn't bother me much but when it's in the title that's an instant red flag that the story isn't worth my time.
The author's personally created story-facts change with no explanation - This is the fastest way to get me to stop reading a fanfiction story. I’ve seen changes in physical descriptions, location names, character names, number of babies born, etc. Poof, it happens for no reason, no explanation, sometimes changing multiple times from chapter to chapter. I've also seen the story-line completely change by half way through the story.
Author shows lack of knowledge of 'real world' situations - I've started reading stories only to stop when the author had the Cullens move back to Forks 10, 20, 30 years after they left. Everyone has the same names, Carlisle goes back to work at the same hospital, the 'kids' enroll in the same high school. Then there was the time Child Protective Services in Arizonia put Bella into permanent Foster Care. They wouldn't allow her to go with her dad since he has a dangerous job as Chief of Police. Just two examples of oh so many. The key is 'Critical Thinking'.
xxx In your story’s summary, don’t point out how bad your summary is - “I know this summary is crap. I promise the story is better” or something similar. Public declarations of low self esteem makes me think reading the story may be more trouble than it's worth. Will they end up abandoning the story because a review made them feel bad. Will they constantly ask the readers what they would like in the story since they want to make everyone happy. If they eventually get brave will they start holding chapters hostage for reviews. Life is short. Do I really want to waste it on any number of scenarios?
xxx Just because a story isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it’s not great entertainment.
The number of reviews a story has often means absolutely nothing.
xxx I’m both a reviewer & a review reader. While I may attack characters at times, I don’t attack authors. I don’t make suggestions. What would be the point of reading the story if there’s no mystery? I sometimes speculate in my reviews. It’s more a form of note taking for me & maybe a good laugh for the author.
I don’t leave critical reviews. I refuse to be the person to suck all the fun out of the air. The author is hopefully having fun and I’m being entertained. I see no good reason to change that. If the story stops being entertaining, I stop reading. Simple. Have I read some critical reviews that are nice, informative and helpful because they keep it simple and give the author good information as to how to attain what is needed? Definitely!
I may not purposely give critical reviews but several times authors saw it that way. Before hitting the button, I look over my review to make sure it says what I’m trying to say. I try really hard. Sometimes I fail. Without the benefit of seeing body language and hearing tone of voice, the written word can easily be misunderstood.
A few of my reviews have made me look stupid. As much as I pride myself as being a 'smart reader', a few times I've been outed in my review as a complete idiot:) If you've ever looked back on a review you've posted & wondered 'WTH?', don't feel too bad. You aren't alone!
xxx “Update! Update! Update!” What’s up with these types of reviews? They drive me nuts. I’d be willing to bet they irritate and stress out many of the authors receiving them. Irritated and stressed authors rarely update. I will admit that recently I've seen several 'Update!' type reviews that were hysterical & nicely done.
News Flash...there’s less than a 41% chance of an English language ‘Twilight Saga’ fanfiction story ever being marked complete. ‘Harry Potter’ is slightly better at less than 48%. If you can’t deal with waiting for chapters that may never come, maybe it's best if you only read completed stories.
Exit Reviews. Do readers really need to leave what I call an ‘exit review’? Do they think it’s rude if they don’t announce their departure when they stop reading a story they don’t like or do they want to leave one last jab? Hit the back button and walk away. I highly doubt the author will hunt you down for disappearing on them without saying goodbye!
Be very careful when publically accusing an author of plagiarism - Unless their story is a carbon copy, word for word of another's, there's room for doubt. Even if it's word for word, they may have permission, adopted the story, changed their profile name. While I've run into word for word 'stolen' copies a bunch of times over the years, I've also seen jerk reviewers going stupid for no good reason and causing a lot of problems for everyone that's on this site for enjoyment.
95% of all authors and readers are great people. The other 5% could use a good dose of therapy.
Done for now,