PDA

View Full Version : Instant-kickers when choosing a fic to read


ip82
06-01-2006, 12:32 AM
I presume that most of you look through several different information fields when deciding whether some fic is worth your time or not: story summary, parameters below the summary (genre, word count etc...), author’s profile, reviews, chapter contents before the story actually begins etc...

So, what do you need to see in these fields to instantly drop the fic without even trying to read it? What are your biggest peeves in a summary? What about author profiles? What kind of reviews tell you instantly that the fic is total crap (besides flames)?

Oh, and notice that this is not fanfic cliché bashing thread. This is just for the stuff surrounding the story, not the story contents itself.

Here are my peeves:

- Stating the pairing in the summary. Stating MULTIPLE pairings in the summary.

This is not an instant-kicker by itself, but definitely a big minus (even if it’s a rare pairing). I just know that the fic will be totally romance-oriented, indicating that it isn’t something I’d be overly interested in reading.

- Summary in which the author whines how he SUCKS at writing summaries.

Hey, if you can’t manage to piece together 200 characters worth of summary, what can I expect from a 10K+ words fic?

- ‘Mysterious’ summaries

Summaries that contain only an excerpt from the story, or some vague philosophical bullshit. This usually indicate emo crap-fests or slash. There are probably stories that are exception to this, but I can’t think of any ATM.

- Words like ‘Ginny’ or ‘Slash’ appearing anywhere in the summary.

Duh. :-)

- The authors that use their profile to give away personal information about them - height, eye colour, tan, taste in clothes, personal likes and dislikes in RL etc...

Sorry, but that’s just screams “teenage girl, in love with Draco!”. I hardly ever bother with stories written by these types.

LT2000
06-01-2006, 12:53 AM
Bad spelling and/or grammar in the title or summary. If there are typos in the summary, no way am I going to subject myself to the actual fic. Agreed with the 'I suck at summaries' statement. I rarely bother with an author's profile unless I like something within his or her work, so that's not really a factor for me. Ditto with the story's reviews. Really I don't read those in any circumstance. I care about MY reviews but couldn't give a a turd about somebody else's. I don't like when the writer begs for reviews in the summary. I'm a review whore myself, but all I do is nicely ask people to review at the end of a chapter in my A/N. I don't demand them in the summary before anybody even reads what I've written. I turn away when the author says that their work is a 'good story' in the summary, because it never is. Finally, either the title or the summary be written in capslock. Smacks of an unprofessional and crappy writer.

ip82
06-01-2006, 01:17 AM
Agreed with asking for reviews in the summary. Even simple R&R is a minus in my book.

Caps-locks and grammar errors I can get over, but I don't expect much from fics like this.

Few other things I just thought of:

- Summaries that begin with a character name other than 'Harry'

Indicating that the main character is not Harry, but this person they are referring to. I usually don't even read the rest of the summary, just move on to the next fic on the list.

- Snape being referred to as "Severus"

... or any usage of the word "Severus", unless it's followed by "Snape", "also known as Snivellus" or a random explicative (e.g. "Severus the slimy bastard"). This usually indicate Snarry, Severitus or nice!Snape story. Notice that I didn't say redemeed!Snape, because those stories are at times bearable.

- Malfoy being referred to as “Draco”

... or any usage of the word "Draco", unless it's followed by "Malfoy", "the bouncing ferret" or a random explicative (e.g. "Draco the spoiled brat"). Reasoning the same as for “Severus”.

- Any review mentioning something being beautiful and/or the reviewer bitch crying after reading some part.

Emo fests. Stay away unless the summary is really cool. A rare good angst story can be found in this bunch.

- Phrase “Don’t like it, don’t read it” appearing anywhere in the summary, profile or author notes

Hey, I’m just following the author’s own advice.

- Author speaking directly to the readers in the summary

Usually something like “I’m trying to write, I really am, but I’m just stupid”, or something like it. It’s usually a waste of perfectly good summary space. Not an instant kicker, but a definite minus.

- If the word count divided by the number of chapters is less than 1500.

Small chapters usually indicate fics not worth reading (unless it’s humor).

- When authors request that they receive no flames either in their profile, summary or author notes.

Err, I don't think flamners will care much about your whining. Not some grand peeve, just something I find both amusing and irritating at times.

Xiph0
06-01-2006, 01:20 AM
Sera and Ip's lists with the modification of:

- Words like ‘Ginny’ or ‘Slash’ appearing anywhere in the summary.

Duh. :-)

To include Ginny, Slash, Snape, or Draco.

ip82
06-01-2006, 01:35 AM
To include Ginny, Slash, Snape, or Draco.

Exception to this rule is if one of these characters are dying, getting tortured or turning out traitor.

Examples:

"Having tortured and executed Ginny for using a love potion on him, Harry turns to the brighter things in life... like starting a career as a male stripper."

"After realizing Ginny is a slash writer under a fake pseudononim, Ron decides to take her to a muggle therapy... muggle electroshock therapy."

"Professor Snape, watch out for that safe! No, don't look up! ... Never mind. Harry Potter/Loony Tunes crossover"

"Draco the bouncing ferret finally lives up to his name - he's turned into a real life ferret! A sad story of strife and struggle, ending with a tragic accident on a highway."

Dark Syaoran
06-01-2006, 01:38 AM
- Words like ‘Ginny’ or ‘Slash’ appearing anywhere in the summary.

Don't mind the second word if 'No' is put before 'Slash'. Actually, I like it when the word is used in the summary, that way I dont waste my time reading several chapters before it jumps out of no where and smacks me in the face. I think all stories that have slash should state so in the summary so as to not waste the time of readers that like straight couples.

- If the word count divided by the number of chapters is less than 1500.

This is the main one I look at when thinking about clicking on a stories link, along with spelling mistakes in summary/title and 'I suck at summary' comments. I like chapters to be atleast 1500 words long, but even then I'm still wary unless it's around the 2000 words mark.

- The authors that use their profile to give away personal information about them - height, eye colour, tan, taste in clothes, personal likes and dislikes in RL etc...

I really only look at the profile when the summary sounds okay, yet still has me doubting. Most of the time when this happens, the summary sounds alright but then I find in the profile that they only write slash, Harry/Ginny, ect.

Them putting their likes and dislikes is fine. Sure, it normally screams 13 year old fangirl and/or emo bitch, but that bio is there for a reason. Some people just fill it in because they are bored. Mine was empty for 3 years before I put anything at all in it and that was because I was bored shitless, couldnt find any decent stories, and didnt feel the need to search another site.

- Stating the pairing in the summary. Stating MULTIPLE pairings in the summary.

I actually like them stating the pairing, though only one. As soon as they state more than one then you can tell its focused on romance, even if the genre says otherwise. It's not such a big deal, they normally state the pairing in authors notes of the first chapter anyway.

- Phrase “Don’t like it, don’t read it” appearing anywhere in the summary, profile or author notes.

This is mainly used for slash stories anyway, meaning I aint touchin' that shit with a pole.

- Summaries that begin with a character name other than 'Harry'.

The only other name I accept other than Harry's is Voldemort/Tom Riddle. If it's Voldemort, then most of the time it's still focused on Harry, so it's all good. Tom Riddle normally means it's based on his early days and I dont mind his character. Any other name puts me off.

ip82
06-01-2006, 01:45 AM
I actually like them stating the pairing, though only one. As soon as they state more than one then you can tell its focused on romance, even if the genre says otherwise. It's not such a big deal, they normally state the pairing in authors notes of the first chapter anyway.

I'll grant that this is mostly getting on my nerves when the pairing is placed at the BEGINNING of the summary. That's twue low story in 99% of the cases. If it's at the end, that is usually much more bareable.

Amerision
06-01-2006, 01:48 AM
'oh my godz, I suckz at summarys but the story iz good XOXOXX plZ Review! will turn me away from a story before I even read it. If you can't write a summary, then you suck at writing anyways.

"...head over heels"... - Bullshit/cliche

"Head boy" - cliched Head/boy/girl dorm sharing story

Ginny - If Ginny is mentioned at all, then she plays a significant role.

Sevvie. - Gay to the highest degree

Slashy - Since when do cude and cuddly terms like this refer to hardcore fudgepacking?

FF.Net should have a Slash filter in there.

Good for everyone.

ip82
06-01-2006, 01:59 AM
Few more come to mind.

- When an Action/Adventure story is rated K or K+.

K is just gay. Any fic rated K is usually crap, unless it's humor or light drama. If it's action/adventure I immedietely know what I'll get - totally pussy-whipped duels using stunners or shit like that. Good fics were ruined by this (Sweet Apple Pie's stories come to mind). Stay away unless you know what are you doing.

- Polls with questions about future plot

Pairing polls aren't THAT bad, especially if there are multiple rare pairing to choose from. But plot pollls are a clear indicator that the author dosen't give a damn about their story, but only fishing for attention.

Thankfully, FFN forbid this option in its entirety. One semi-good decision they've made.

Half-arsed summaries

When the author doesn't use the full extent of the space given for a summary, but only write a few quick words, like a pairing, genre or a single line of plot description. Now, that's just lazy.

KeshinNoAkui
06-01-2006, 02:18 AM
I agree with 90% of what most of you guys said, so I'm not gonna both C/Ping all of your posts.

"Plot pollls are a clear indicator that the author dosen't give a damn about their story, but only fishing for attention."

The only exception I can give for this is if the author has 2 or more different directions they can go with the story, but can't decide on one for sure as they like them too much.

And I agree that most people are bored when they fill out their profile page, I was when I gave my fav/hated pairings and such.

ip82
06-01-2006, 02:26 AM
And I agree that most people are bored when they fill out their profile page, I was when I gave my fav/hated pairings and such.

I wasn't talking about things related to HP, but when preteens whine how they like to go out and hang out with their friends and how they hate homework and going to school etc... stuff like that.

Stating fiction-related likes and dislikes is perfectly fine. I actually like reading those, give me an insight about the author.

KeshinNoAkui
06-01-2006, 02:32 AM
Yeah, not to mention it helps you figure out if the story you want to read is gonna have Slash in it or not....

Master Slytherin
06-01-2006, 03:29 AM
Word Count = more than 100,000 words.

Don't have time to read it unfortuntely so I know I can't read it.

Chapter lengths are above 15,000 words

Once again, I'm not prepared to spend a ridiculous mount of time reading ONE chapter. People need breaks in between chapters sometimes.

Starting with Harry with the Dursleys in their car on the way from the station.

This is usually a sure fire way to tell if the story will take absolute years to finish with nothing happening and/or will be cliched. There are exceptions but these are few and far in between.

Harry/harem in the summary

Yes it will end up with no plot whatsoever and yes it will end up as a complete gang bang.

Lord Ravenclaw
06-01-2006, 04:58 AM
- Any review mentioning something being beautiful and/or the reviewer bitch crying after reading some part.

Emo fests. Stay away unless the summary is really cool. A rare good angst story can be found in this bunch.

The sad thing is, EoH had a review like that. Note past tense. :)

ghst.san
06-01-2006, 06:28 AM
Word Count = more than 100,000 words.

Don't have time to read it unfortuntely so I know I can't read it.

Chapter lengths are above 15,000 words

Once again, I'm not prepared to spend a ridiculous mount of time reading ONE chapter. People need breaks in between chapters sometimes.


Dont agree with that. Isn´t it equal to you if you spend your time reading one good story instead of ten? What bothers me with long chapters is that updates are often slow, but again you cant say that for all fics.


I thing I allways look for is the last update and release date. I got no interrest in reading a fic who is abondened for sure.

Amerision
06-01-2006, 12:25 PM
Any misspelled words in the summary.

If you can't bother to grammer/spellcheck 3 lines, then I'm not going to bother to read your fic.

Randeemy
06-01-2006, 12:44 PM
Anything under 50K words is dropped unless some recommends it from here

And anyone that writes "unless i get X reviews i wont post the next chapter..."

Antivash
06-01-2006, 02:08 PM
Harry/harem in the summary

Yes it will end up with no plot whatsoever and yes it will end up as a complete gang bang.

*pouts* BLuer has almost a harem! Do you dislike Bluer as well?

Fuegodefuerza
06-01-2006, 03:08 PM
aNyTiMe ThErE iS sPeLlInG lIkE tHiS, I ain't touchin' it no matter what.

All of the ones above apply also.

Master Slytherin
06-01-2006, 03:08 PM
*pouts* BLuer has almost a harem! Do you dislike Bluer as well?

I haven't read it yet tbh. I've just had very bad experiences with other Harry/harem stories (yes, I'm talking about the thirteen year olds who replace genital names with "flower" and "stick of love" - they taught me to look at author profiles before reading a fic.)

Yarrgh!
06-01-2006, 03:39 PM
Leet speak in the summary...i don't even want to know what's haunting this retard of an author.

Agreed...K+ stories are a waste of my time.

Long chapters...i like. I like reading them, and i like writing them...it shows some amount of dedication form the author, which is a plus even if the story sucks.

Authors actively review whoring in their summaries...waste of time. If the story is good, i might review, but if they're being idiots and overemphasizing their desparate need for reviews...i won't.

If the word 'Hiatus' or 'Abandoned' is present, then i don't bother reading it. Why spend the time when there are gonna be no updates?

Once again, i'll state my ardent wish for a slash-filter...it would make life so much easier.

LR: You can delete reviews that your story gets? Didn't know that.

The Dark Monarch
06-01-2006, 03:57 PM
Author's that trident other authors.

Amerision
06-01-2006, 03:58 PM
Only anonymous ones./

But yeah, a slash filter would rule.

I won't read abandoned fics, but I will hiatus ones, as it will be continued, and I may just read it, jusge it, and either put it on story alerts or ignore it.

That reminds me, all my stories go on hiatus June 13 -> Early September.

Yarrgh!
06-01-2006, 04:16 PM
AAAH!!! NO!

Don't do it, man, don't! I'll...err, i'll buy you somehting nice! Flowers! Toys! Strippers?

Keep writing, please...i actually look forward to your updates. There's only a handful of authors whose stories i actually care to read, and you're pretty prominent on taht list, boy.

You will write. I ahve decided. Buy a laptop, and at opportune times, tell people to fuck off and leave you in peace to write.

And with hiatus fics...hint, hint, wink wink, nudge...SHOVE!

They usually stay on hiatus for a few months, and then the updates don't come. THey get abandoned...if you can't think of somehting to write in a few months, then you give up...simple as that.

So, err, don't do whatever it is that you have to do.

Myst
06-02-2006, 12:07 AM
I usually avoid fics when the Genre is just Angst, Angst/General or Angst/Drama etc. I dont mind Angst/Action/Adventure though.

That just leads to a Emo fest usually.

I also avoid fics when they say "xover or crossover with XXXXX"

If you cant spell the summery, I aint going near it.

The story needs to be atleast 50,000 words for me to read, unless posted here.

Chapters need to be atleast 5,000 words long unless story was posted here.

and just about everything else you guys posted, Except what MS says, I love very long stories.

Aekiel
06-02-2006, 08:56 PM
I H8 l337 spk!!!!1! I fucking hate anyone who puts that sort of shit in their summary.
If it has slash, I don't read it (unless under threat of violence from my friend)
Pet peeve is where an author says they suck at summaries but the story is good. They normally spell it SUMARYS as well (caps lock included). Bastards

I apologise for the language but its nearly 1am and I'm tired and drunk so its not gonna change. Mmm delicious Carlsberg Export...

Cupspeaker
06-03-2006, 03:14 PM
What about long author notes? Aren\'t those annoying?

The Dark Monarch
06-03-2006, 03:38 PM
Only when the notes are longer than the chapter itself.

Cupspeaker
06-03-2006, 03:43 PM
No I mean when the author answers his reviewers in his notes so half the chapter is a big clusterfuck of authornotes.

Dark Syaoran
06-03-2006, 09:01 PM
Long authors notes arent an auto-kicker for me. Well, depends how long. A paragraph or two of four lines each isnt what I call long but I'm sure others would. It's when the authors notes are over 2000 words on there own that I get annoyed. I normally just jump them, not stop reading the story.

Leet speak at all and I leave. Unless the author is being a sarcastic twit and taking the micky out of some retard reviewer.

se7en
06-03-2006, 09:33 PM
I hate post-OotP where Harry cries himself to sleep everynight thinking of Sirius. Who cares if he died? He knew him for about 2 days...cool...

Cupspeaker
06-03-2006, 10:48 PM
So do I. I hate manipulative Dumbledore. Now I never read those fics. Its over done and an instant kicker. Don\'t get me wrong, I love a good Dumbles bashing once in a while but nowadays...

Amerision
06-04-2006, 12:37 AM
Yeah, I hate evil!Manipualtive!Dumbledore because its done bad.

The only person who has ever really got it right is Yargh!.

If I can write, I will. I'll be in a third world country...pray for me. I hope Iran doesn't deem me some sort of spy. Computers aren't uncommon, most houses have them, it's just that the place I will be staying doesn't and people there don't take kindly to leaving their computers in the hand of people for 7-8 hours. Plus, internet is almost completely firewalled and i'm not sure if ff.net is allowed.

My greatest fear is not updating, just that my state of mind will change once I get back and my fics will go in a misguided direction. Plus, since I'll be speaking farsi constantly for near 3 months, my writing style might change for the worst.

In that case, I'll have to go a month through 11 grade to get my mojo back.

I'll need to bring some good books to keep my phrases, word choice, and general thought process in line...

Athenia
06-04-2006, 03:35 AM
"So i know lots of other ppl have done this before, but, well, just read it"

What? Its bad enough that you are stating that your fic isn't original in the slightest, but you also don't even tell us what unoriginal idea you are using.


Anything that sounds like a bad intro to a movie:

'A past he never realized existed, a family he hever knew he had...'
or
'Torn through time, he rediscovers the love that he had missed.'

Really, without the flashy fading between scenes that trailers have, the words alone start to sound really lame. Not to mention you haven't really said what the story is about.


Drabble.

Ok, I know alot of people here might like these, but really, who wants to finish a story they just started reading 10 seconds earlier?


A/OC, B/OC, C/OC, D/OC

Not only does this mean that the author wants a really romantic based story, but that they can't pair ANYONE up with ANYONE else already written so they have to create hords of new characters. One new OC is ok, even a few, but when we need 4 new characters and they all pair off, you know they story isn't going to be worth it.


Ernie's Girl5, Draco'sHot59

Ok, so maybe it isn't fair to base the writing ability off of the author's name, but if 1)There are 58 other people with the same name or 2) your name shows you to be that obssessed, its likely your stories suck.


PostHBP

Ok, that's alittle mean, and really not true all the time, but I do tend to shy away from anything linked with that horrid book as much as I can unless given good reason.

Yarrgh!
06-04-2006, 11:34 AM
Amerision: You do me great honor. I try. I rather liked IP82's Dumbledore though...straight up twisted.

Farsi for 3 months? Wow...you sure you'll remember English?

And btw, i'm pretty sure Dark Lord Rostam is from Iran, and he doesn't seem to have a problem getting access to FFNet. Maybe he's related to someone important, if the situation is that dire...:P

Check out Internet Cafes...it'd probably cost you the equivalent of 3 bucks to rent a computer for a few hours.

nonjon
06-04-2006, 12:41 PM
Word Count = more than 100,000 words.


It's not an instant-kicker for me, but I'm with MS on this one. The longer a fic is, once you hit the 100K word mark, the less likely I am to read it.

It has more to do with having read a *lot* of Harry Potter fanfic. And so much of it is just twists or changes on the same general ideas. I don't want to spend a couple hours reading an epically long chapter with rehashes of plotlines I've seen countless times before. There's a number of authors that are exceptions to this rule for me, as they consistently make the long chapters highly entertaining. But for the most part, I'd much rather read a finished 60-80K word fic than a finished 250K word fic. Just for the time invested in reading the 250K one, I could've read 3 or 4 shorter ones.

The difference for me is in a good WIP though. If I'm reading it while it's being written, and it's sucking me in, I don't mind length. Think someone like Bobmin or Abraxan. It'd take a lot more glowing recommendations on those to interest me and read 400K words or whatever. But if I have read it all, then a weekly update of 10K words or whatever can be much more enjoyable.

There's just a point where you've read so much that you expect to not enjoy reading it, and longer fics look like a longer waste of time. (So says the hypocrite in the midst of his longest fic yet).

Back on topic. Usually, unless it's something obvious in the summary like listing out every dern pairing in the world, slash, abuse, cutting, severitus, Draco, etc... I'll give the first chapter a skim through. If it looks like a whiny angst fest, shows Harry abused by the Dursleys (not that it can't be done, just that you can't interest me in it), pining for love, or focusing on just about anythying other than Harry (this includes your super original Vampires named Vlad the Lestat Count Dracul Impaler or whatever your little goth guide to suck tells you, this also includes any super original elves with spiffy names that pretty much announce the author is a friendless loser, and you'll need a translator for all the elvish phrases they must use).

These are all sort of instant-kickers for a new fic from a new author. Most of them have other fics, or a good listing of favorites that I'll base an opinion on. And once you write something that interests me, you get lots of leeway.

Cupspeaker
06-04-2006, 03:45 PM
I tend to shy away from Post-HBP as well. I just dont think it can ever be done right because HBP = pussy!Harry.

A pet peeve of mine is flamers. Mainly because most people who flame stories havent ever written their own so they are hypocritical.

An instant kicker for me would be the genres. I only read Action/Adventure and humor. Horror stories arent that great. (They give me nightmares) Angst sucks, Romance sucks, (although sometimes it is bearable), and this has been mentioned but slash = quit reading story.

I used to like reading long fics, but now I want a short read with lots of dialogue and action. A 100 length fic would be bearable if it had dialogue and humor injected in it. Rosarchs blot and nonjon do this really well.

Amerision
06-04-2006, 03:48 PM
Instant Kicker?

Misspells and Grammer.

If you can't bother to check your work, then I deem you a bad writer.

Dark Lord Rostam
06-04-2006, 03:49 PM
Amerision: You do me great honor. I try. I rather liked IP82's Dumbledore though...straight up twisted.

Farsi for 3 months? Wow...you sure you'll remember English?

And btw, I’m pretty sure Dark Lord Rostam is from Iran, and he doesn't seem to have a problem getting access to FFNet. Maybe he's related to someone important, if the situation is that dire...:P

Check out Internet Cafes...it'd probably cost you the equivalent of 3 bucks to rent a computer for a few hours.

Actually, I'm from So Cal, I'm just Iranian. Anyways, if you are in need of access there try going to some of their main libraries, they usually grant access.

Cupspeaker
06-04-2006, 04:46 PM
grammar mistakes happen to even the best of authors so unless there are a lot of it I dont mind it. Spelling mistakes on the other hand...

With all the cliches going on in ff.net I think that the most redeeming quality of a fic is its uniqueness. If it isnt different from the rest of the fics out there it isnt worth reading.

Fuegodefuerza
06-05-2006, 12:06 PM
I disagree with that. Sure, if it is a carbon copy of another, better story, than there is no sense in reading it. However, there are many stories that are similar to each other, using the same cliches, but a few of them are gems that are worth reading many times.

Examples of people trying to be too original would be Miranda Flairgold's A Second Chance at Life, which mutated from a good post-HBP independent!Harry story into a fantasy novel featuring some guy named Rahkesh going to some school in Canada with Vampires, super-powerful elves, and a random South American tribe.

With all of the fics out there, it is almost impossible to come up with an original idea, but if you use cliche after cliche after cliche, then the story isn't worth reading.

Olfrik
06-10-2006, 06:37 AM
I dont touch anything that has some "mysterious" person in the summary or some phrases like "Harry and the gang". In those cases I dont even finish to read the summary.
And its a sure sign of a poor story if the summary is a list of terms like "quidditch, pranks and lots of fun".
I generally dont read fics that have romance as one of the categories. That usually means H "has the strength to fight because of her" or she always has to be the one to kick him in the butt if he's is lazy or whiny and in those cases I really dont care which girl it is.

razz
06-10-2006, 12:01 PM
...Thought I might add a few.

'Mom'. Don't hate me, Americans, but it just pisses me off - if I see that spelling, I can't stand to read further.

Anywhere that Harry is slated as a Sex God - or made out to be ridiculously, devastatingly handsome (in a non comical way).

And, strangely, hair cuts. I'd rather they were just not mentioned - especially longer hair on Harry (rare fics like 'The Happy Red Prince' being an exception to that).

I think the first paragraphs are incredibly important too - couldn't stress that enough. And it's amazing how many people screw up the grammar in dialogue! Agh. If people can't be fagged hitting the damn comma key ...