IT'S A TRAP!

Okay, first thing's first: what in the name of France's crotch-rose were you thinking when you clicked on this fanfiction? The summary was absolute crap, the title is even worse, and the grammar- don't even START on the grammar! If you clicked here to troll, then- and I say this with all due respect and sincerity- you need to get a life, a hobby, or a decent fanfiction to troll. If you followed the link out of morbid curiosity to have a lulz-fest, don't feel too bad- everybody does the same once in a while. How do you think My Immortal became so popular? If you came here because you really, truly believed me when I said the story was better than the summary, then you, my friend, are obviously new to the world of fanfiction. Welcome aboard!

If you haven't already guessed it, this is a guide to help you become a better reader (and writer!) on fanfiction(dot)net. Hundreds of folks just like you (yes you, in front of the computer with the dull, glazed eyes of an internet junkie) have written fabulous, moving, exquisite stories, so why can't you? (That was a rhetorical question, I don't give a shit about your writer's block of whatever's really keeping you from writing.) As we go through these chapters, we'll go through different genres, ratings (yes, folks, that means lemons. Don't get too excited yet, we still have a few chapters to go.) and even writing styles. But first, we'll go over how to read a fanfiction. That includes summaries, just so you won't make the mistake which brought you here again. So, without further ado, onwards!

HOW TO READ A FANFICTION

Section One: Summaries

Okay, so you're scrolling through fanfiction(dot)net, when you suddenly get a craving for USUK (just an example, bear with me if you don't like this pairing), a nice T-rated high school AU fic with some angst (again, just an example). You set the filter to what you want and click go. Two stories come up, looking something like this:

Story 1 summary: Arthur is an exchange student from London with a bad break-up still haunting him. Alfred is a happy-go-lucky football star without a care in the world. What will happen when their paths collide? R&R Please!

Story 2 summary: alfred i don't think we can be together anymore alfred gasped i suck at summaries better than it sound r&r plz!

Which one are you more likely to choose? If you guessed #1, ding! Your answer is correct! How did you even get to this page anyway? If you guessed #2, then you really do need this lesson.

First off: Never trust a fanfiction with horrendous grammar. Even if you don't mind wading through "your welcome"s and "alfreds sock"s, if you read stuff like this enough, it will cause some damage to your brain. Trust the girl who's read most of the fanfictions listed on Encyclopedia Dramatica. Second: If it says it's better than it sounds, don't trust it. This could just be me spouting nonsense like a smokestack, but that method has always worked for me in the past. I am now bored with the summaries. Onto the good stuff: the stories!

Section Two: Stories

One thing I've learned during my many years of reading is this: SLOW DOWN. I'm a compulsive speed-reader, and trust me, it's not good for appreciating good writing. You'll end up reading reviews that mention a particular joke or plot detail and think to yourself, "Whoa, when did that happen?" Pay attention and you won't get lost.

Another thing is to watch for grammar. I once read a very good multi-chapter fanfic with mediocre grammar and Odd capitalization, Sometimes in The middle of a Sentence. I tried to ignore it, but no such luck. It had really good potential, but sorry, no dice.

That's really all I can think of for this chapter, so bye for now. Our next topic will introduce you to the terrifying world of writing your own stories, starting with plot development. Class dismissed!