If you're reading this, you probably came from one of my reviews of your story. If I've reviewed your story, it usually means one of a few things:
1. Your story is terrific. I love it like a bar of Magnum Gold on a hot day. It's got proper English language usage, pacing, setting, characterisation, an interesting premise, everything I love in a perfect story. Basically, I'm reviewing just to gush about my love for your writing.
2. You're a good author... but not one of the best... but you could be. And my review is simply to tell you about the things I feel you could improve on. It's just my opinion, though, and obviously I haven't written anything to prove I can do better or that I'm worth listening to.
3. You're an awesomely hilarious troll and I salute your efforts in providing cheap Internet laughs in the face of people who take proper writing way too seriously.
That's about it for now. Rest assured, whatever category you fall into, I don't review stories that I don't consider special or unique in some way. Nor will I ever flame, beg for updates, or complain about pairings, because none of that shit flies in my book. Some authors say that a single good reviewer can make up for 5 hours' worth of grueling work. I haven't written any story of note yet, so I'll be that good reviewer.
In my years spent lurking and devouring this site, I have developed a habit of trawling through the lists of stories, favourited by authors who have, in turn, written stories I love. One generally expects that a good author should be able to recognise good writing, which is indeed generally the case. I've found many of my favourite stories this way, and as such, I have finally bothered to keep an actual list of said favourite stories on this site, instead of in my highly-susceptible brain.
So for anyone who may be looking at my favourites list for the same reason I look at those of good authors, you may find that the stories I chose to favour come in a wide variety of flavours. Some are long, some are short. Some are hilarious, others are depressing. Some are serious, contemplative works of art, a meditative reflection of the realities of human nature, and others are the literary equivalent of that guy who painted the Virgin Mary using feces. Nonetheless, the one thing they all have in common, is that je ne sais quoi that makes a story unique, whether it be through their good writing, characterisation, or premise. As a long-time reader, I shall assure you this: No story on my favourites list will turn out to be a half-assed effort on the part of the author. Each and every single one of them earned my personal stamp of approval and I wholeheartedly recommend all of them to everyone, ever, and nothing except a first-rate story will earn that stamp. They may make you laugh, or cry, and some might even change your life, but they all certainly touched me in a completely innocent, metaphorical way, and that is why they are favourites.
Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy characterization be followed,
In fanfic, as it is in canon.
Give us this day our daily spellcheck,
And forgive us our plotholes,
As we forgive those who gloss over important details.
Lead us not into badfic,
But deliver us from OOC.
For thine is the kingdom, and the glory, and the fandom forever.
-- Credits to Snakes on a Sora, part of Organization VI.
Having spent several years on this site, and a fair few more on the Internet as a whole, I've read more than my fair share of fanfiction. Several million words' worth, as it were. In that time, I've encountered good authors, bad authors, so-so authors, and authors that did lots of things that truly annoyed me as a reader and reviewer who strives to maintain good reviewer etiquette and provide constructive criticism. Here is a handy list of things that I find are a mark of a sub-par author.
1. Announcing "This is my first fanfic, please no flames/criticism/hatred/blah blah" in the summary
Very good! You've finally summoned the conviction and courage to write your fanfiction and post it on the Internet for all and sundry to read! Now get this simple fact through your head: Nobody cares if it's your first fanfic. If you're new and your writing especially sucks ass, that's all the more reason for people to point out what you're doing wrong, so that you can improve. Trying to use your inexperience as an excuse to let your story suck ass just shows that you're not interested in improving as a writer.
2. Announcing "I suck at summaries/I suck at this" in the summary
Oh, I see. You suck at summaries. Is that supposed to fill me with confidence that the rest of your story won't also suck? If you cannot come up with a decent summary for your own writing, I don't even know what to say about that, except that I'll just move on to an author that can write a good summary for their good story.
3. Begging for reviews... everywhere
I get it, I do. You want reviews, you want feedback. You want people to talk about your story. Well, different people want reviews for different reasons. Some want constructive criticism, some want to pad their review count, and some just want people to suck their metaphorical dicks. It's the same with any kind of effort anyone puts into anything, but especially with an art form. Still, it's annoying and makes you look really desperate for attention if you keep on asking for reviews.
To be clear, saying something simple like "R&R" in every chapter isn't that bad. It's when you start adding in long author's notes bitching about people who don't review, or threatening to hold back chapters for more reviews, that I stop wanting to review. You're under no obligation to write what you write for free, and nor are readers to leave reviews. Also, review count is no indication of a story's quality. If you're getting lots of reviews, that does not necessarily mean that your writing is good.
4. Wanting constructive/meaningful reviews
To be fair, this isn't something I see publicly all too often. And sure, it's a good thing for an author to appreciate reviews that are well-thought out and provide constructive criticism. I do like it when an author takes the time to reply to my reviews and say how much they appreciate the constructive criticism I try to provide. It shows that they want to improve. Nothing wrong with improving.
But when you start actively complaining about the lack of constructive criticism you're getting, and complaining that most people just leave you mindless reviews that say meaningless crap like "Good job" or "Update soon", that's when you might want to look at your own writing. A good story does not need its author to keep on demanding reviews to get them. If you want reviews, and good reviews at that, write something worth reviewing. Quality stands on its own and it doesn't need advertisement.
5. Announcing "Vote on which pairing/plot twist/plot power/whatever you want in my story!"
You're really going to ask your readers to decide what happens in your own fanfiction? Is it some kind of choose-your-own-adventure story? Or are you simply incapable of writing your own bloody fanfiction? Letting your readers decide what happens next is not only ridiculously lazy, it shows that you're so indecisive and afraid of negative backlash that you probably shouldn't be writing fanfiction in the first place. Or writing at all.
This kind of writing is often seen with South Korean dramas, in which only the first few episodes are prepared before the show beings airing, and then the rest of the episodes are filmed during the show's run. Over the course of the run, South Korean drama writers often turn to public opinion and see what viewers think should happen in the story, or would like to happen in the story, and write that in... even if it necessitates a sudden and illogical change in established plot points and characterisation.
Now, not all South Korean dramas necessarily do this, of course. Some might do it, but they end up doing it well. Plenty of them, on the other hand, crash and burn when the writing takes a bad turn. It is exactly as stupid as it sounds. Don't do this with your own fanfiction.