By Fallon Sunstar
Though reading fanfic is fun, there are quite a few really bad ones out there. Here's an easy guide on how to avoid reading really badly written or inappropriate fanfics.
*Check the Rating. Ratings are as follows.
K = Kids
K+ = Older kids, minor violence and/or romance, etc.
T = Teen, violence and more mature romance present.
M = Adult, mostly mature content.
M+ = Mature Adult.
Watch the rating for what type of fanfic you'd like to read. From my experience, depending on what you search, certain characters with a higher rating is just NOT good.
*Read the Reviews first. Sometimes they contain spoilers, but most of the time, the reviewers will let you know whether or not it's worth the read. Like, if it says, "Your grammar and spelling are terrible, you need to go back to kindergarten," you know you shouldn't even try. If it says, "That was amazing, well written and exciting, can't wait for the update," you might want to try it. The reviewers are people like you, looking into the fanfics for enjoyment or inspiration! So trust their judgement.
*Watch for Flamers. Flamers are people who come and practically rip apart the story and the writer, just for fun. They often will use language and degrade people, so just ignore those. Look for positive reviewers.
*Narrow Your Search. Sometimes the Archive has just too much, or not enough of what your looking for. Narrow your search by character, length, genre, or status. Right now, I'm in the Han/Leia Family Complete Archive, and I found a few good stories. See how easy that is? You can also narrow it by rating. It's the easiest way to find stories!
*Read the Summaries. Most of the people just say: "I suck at summaries" or "just read it, it's better than it sounds". Read what the characters and genre are. If it says, "Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano," and the genre is "Romance" Beware! If it says, "Han Solo and Luke Skywalker" and the genre is "Friendship" read the summary and reviews to see if it's going to be disturbing or not. Be careful when the genre is romance, because you can get some VERY BAD romance fanfics that way. Like I said before, ratings, reviews and summaries. RRS.
*Leave Reviews! Some authors let anonymous reviewers leave responses. Give them feedback, and sometimes you might get a surprise! Once I got a gift fic, because I reviewed someone's chapter. And as a fanfic author myself, I love it when people give me feedback on my stories. It's helpful and it's exciting to hear what others have to say about your writing!
*Read from the mobile version. If you have an iPod touch, iPad, iPhone or other type of smartphone, it's a GREAT Fanfic friend. I read almost ALL my fanfics on my iTouch, because it's fast, and easy! I flip through the pages, and am able to browse the different archives without any problem. I'd highly recommend the mobile version of fanfic, but the normal works just as well.