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Jimbocous PM
Biography
Joined Sep '05

'Any chapped-ass monkey can start a story; it's finishing one that's hard'

Pardon me whilst I munch my banana. Not much of a writer, but I'm a fanatic fanfic reader, at least in the HP universe. I've also recently discovered that I enjoy doing beta work for authors, so hopefully I can give back a bit to the community in that fashion.

THOUGHTS ON FINDING STUFF TO READ

I never cease to be amazed at the sheer talent of some of the writers I've discovered here. If you're one of them and are reading this, you have my gratitude and admiration!

Before starting a story, give the Reviews a quick peek. While opinions differ, you'll at least get a clue as to what you're in for. And if it's stolen, an all too common occurrence lately, you'll know not to feed the troll.

If the summary says the story is "better than it sounds", it isn't.

Don't start something that lacks a Completed flag unless the premise is too good to resist, or you know the author finishes what they start. An author with 70-80 stories that are not complete is sure to disappoint, and steals valuable reading time for little return.

If you find a really decent writer, in addition to checking their profile for what else they have written, check their Favorite Stories and Favorite Authors tabs. Chances are, if you like what they write, you'll like what they like. Do the same for anyone they "fave". If you do this, the "Just In" tab becomes redundant.

One thing I have tried to do is capture what I think are the best stories and writers in my favorites list. If you know of something I've missed and really must read, please PM me!

THOUGHTS ON WHAT MAKES A GREAT STORY

I can go about anywhere an author wants to take me, but please, remember you are starting from a point of canon when you write fanfic. The further from that you wish to diverge as an author, the more important it is that you set the foundation for that divergence. A couple sentences that create a new universe won't cut it. If you have to write a wildly different AU, show the reader how you got there. Especially true in character development. People can change radically, but that change comes as the result of something rather than out of the blue. It doesn't matter whether the change is of relationships, orientation, attitude, ability or something else. Change does not occur without a catalyst, and if you're not writing about change, you are not telling a story. That's what it's all about.
Spell checkers are great, but they'll get a careless writer into a ton of trouble. Can't tell you the number of stories I've read where canon terms, names and the like have been mangled by the checker. Too much of that, and the reader loses respect for the author as it becomes clear that the author doesn't care to deliver the best they can do. It's fanfic, so no one expects perfection, but past a certain point fatigue kicks in.

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