This profile just keeps getting longer as I join more and more fandoms. To think that, at one point, I didn't have anything here at all, just my screen name. (Actually, I just deleted a lot of it because it was way, way too long, and you probably think I'm way too self-involved. You can surmise what fandoms I'm into by seeing which ones I've listed in my Favorite Stories, or you could PM me if we have interests in common, though I warn you that I'm an iffy correspondent. Nothing personal, of course; just very busy.)
How I got into fan-fiction
I started reading the Harry Potter series back when Prisoner of Azkaban was the newest JKR book available, but I didn't discover HP fan-fiction until shortly after Deathly Hallows was published. At the time, I was going through a minor mourning period because the realization had set in that we wouldn't be given any more books to read about these wonderful characters. Then (drumroll, please), I discovered fan-fiction and found that I could still read new adventures of the Trio and Ginny, even if JKR didn't write them herself. Thus developed a new way of spending most of my free time. ;-) I love humor, romance, and happy endings; action/adventure is fine if there is enough happy, supportive "friend" stuff going on. Also, fics about time spent at the Burrow rate high with me. Angst is very hard on me because I feel so much a part of what's going on in the story. I can only read angst if I have plenty of assurance from someone who knows that it will have a happy ending, one way or another. My favorite fics revolve around Harry, the Weasleys, and Hermione. AU is fine with me, but I prefer when it sticks to canon pairings. After I'd read quite a bit of HP fan-fiction, I decided to start checking out what fics were out there for the other books, TV series, and movies that I especially enjoy. This led me to...
I started reading the first Twilight book on May 26, 2009, so that tells you how new I am to this fandom in the grand scheme of things (considering the first book was first published in 2005). I'd heard about this series a couple years beforehand from bookseller friends, but I didn't think that I had the stomach to read anything involving vampires. Then, on May 24, 2009, I watched the Twilight movie for the first time and decided that if I enjoyed the movie that much, then I'd probably adore the book series (and I did). New Moon was very hard for me to take (being afraid that Stephenie Meyer wouldn't give us the happy ending that I was desperate for), but I made it through the book. This fandom was where I spend most of my fan-fic time (that is, before I discovered The Host, Firefly, Castle, Bones, Covert Affairs, The Mentalist, The Hunger Games, NCIS, and now NCIS: LA). As in HP, I am pro-canon pairings here, too. I love humor and Cullen family moments. I also love it when authors show each character's unique personality and their place in the Cullen family unit. Jacob is my least favorite character, but Breaking Dawn redeemed him for me. (Before that, I kept wanting to smack him and tell him to just shut up and back the heck off. Once he got his own "object of his affection" and stopped torturing Bella, I was able to like him a whole lot more.) Rosalie is my second-least-favorite, but I don't hate her when a compassionate fan-fic author explains her mean side in a logical way. When they are written well, Bella, Edward, Alice, Esme, Carlisle, and Emmett are my favorite characters (pretty much in that order). (One exception to this ranking of my character preferences is that Emmett can make a good story absolutely hilarious and also touching when he's written well, which doesn't always happen, of course. When it does, though...) I don't really have strong feelings for Jasper because I haven't really had a chance to get to know him as a character too much, because of Bella's limited interaction with him during most of the Saga. Again, with fan-fiction, he can be written well and in an interesting manner, or he can be flat or completely unrecognizable from canon, just like any character might be. I'm just not as invested in him as a character; he isn't a vital component of a fic for me (although he can seriously detract from an otherwise good fic if he's written in a glaringly awful way, of course). Again, AU is fine, as long as the fics stick to canon pairings. I don't mind All-Human fics on occasion when they're written well and focus on my favorite characters (i.e., Bella and the Cullens, rather than the wolves, for example). Again, canon pairings are a necessity for me here. I can't fathom Bella being romantically involved with Carlisle nor Jasper nor Emmett. Same goes for Bella (or Edward, for that matter) being involved with Alice, etc. You see where I'm going here. Strictly canon pairings for me in this fandom; no discussion. Sorry if that makes me seem intolerant, but with the family themes involving the Cullens, it makes it seem almost incestuous to start going other ways with these characters. But, enough about that topic. :-)
I try to read mostly just completed fics for a number of reasons. The primary one is probably that I'm impatient and have trouble waiting for new chapters to be posted. Going hand-in-hand with that, my short-term memory isn't the best for details, though that's what I love about reading, being immersed in a character's unique thoughts, feelings, and environment. It follows that I enjoy reading most when I can read in as uninterrupted of a fashion as possible because I'm not leaving that universe any more than necessary and don't have to try to re-group with what's going on in the fic with each new chapter posted. In the past, I've sometimes re-read all of the preceding chapters in a fic in order to get back into that fic's universe, but that can be extremely time-consuming and sometimes starts to make the fic seem not so new and fresh to me anymore, depending on how many times I've done so. So, being able to read as many chapters in a row as I have time for is one of the great things about trying to stick to completed fics and eliminates my feeling compelled to re-read the earlier chapters (unless I just want to). Finally, an important reason behind my preference for completed fics is that I know that they won't be abandoned once I'm sucked into the story-lines and eager to know how they will end. I know that Real Life is more important than fan-fiction and that priorities over how one's time is spent change, too. Also, sometimes an author's muse goes on a permanent vacation or the plot or characters can hit major snags that the author doesn't know how to fix. That being said, it does give a reader a secure feeling to know that the whole fic is right there, ready and waiting, when I have the time to get lost in it, like a book sitting on my shelves, waiting for me to pick it up and read it. (That is assuming that internet connections don't drop and website servers don't have issues that interfere with my fic reading, of course...)
Regarding fandoms in which I'm not actively involved on a regular basis but occasionally dabble in: I sometimes read fan-fiction involving NCIS, The Host, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Firefly, Castle, Big Bang Theory, New Girl, and the Thursday Next series. (I especially enjoy Thursday Next/Harry Potter crossovers, when I've happened to run across some.)
However, I spend most of my time in the NCIS: LA, Hunger Games, Mentalist, Covert Affairs, Bones, and (occasionally) Twilight universes, though I still dabble in HP fics, very occasionally. If a fic has a compelling premise and is well-written, how can you KEEP from reading it (even if you don't usually keep up with that fandom anymore)? ;-) Another thing you're probably thinking: that's a lot of different (and diverse) fandoms. I'm quirky, and I love interesting characters. What can I say? :-) Now that I've bored your pants off about myself (and overused the smiley-faces)... :-)
(Avatar is the work of larmay at dreamwidth.org.)