Author has written 1 story for Naruto.
I use fanfiction as both a distraction from the stress of real life and, well, for entertainment.
My interests in fiction tend towards the setting as a primary point of interest, then to the plot, then to the characters. I'm a huge fan of Sci-Fi, usually older works. I love Niven and Clarke, I adore Pohl and Asimov, and I worship Zelazny.
Fantasy-wise, it's a bit more complicated. Tolkien and Pratchett are the top, for the former's incredible worldbuilding and the latter's...well, everything. Seriously, go read his books. My personal favorites are Reaper Man, Thief of Time, Night Watch, and Thud!. Death's speech at the end of the first is easily up there for my favorite climactic moments in the entirety of literature, the plot and characters of the second make it my favorite of all of his books, Night Watch is like Les Miserables but better, and Thud! features another of the best moments in all of literature (The Guarding Dark. Anyone who has read the book knows immediately what I'm talking about.)
JK Rowling is up there on the one hand, but abysmal on the other. You see, the world she created is just a bit below Middle-Earth and the Discworld on the "oh wow, this is incredible" scale, but past book 5, she started trying to force her already developed characters into a different plot structure. She totally destroyed the characters of Harry and Hermione, depicted the former in a relationship with someone who didn't know enough about how he worked, and the latter in an outright abusive relationship, neither of these attractions being hinted at prior to book 6. I really don't like Ron/Hermione, it's an absolutely horrible relationship and would be extremely unhealthy in real life, much less unlikely to happen. Hell, even Rowling herself admitted it. (I have a lot of Harry/Hermione stories in my favorites list because that's the one pairing that: a) is relatively common, and b) does not involve pedophilia that can be assured to not have Ron/Hermione involved. My actual preference is probably Harry/Luna.)
"Rules" of fanfiction:
In my time on this site, I've read way too many stories. I've found a few things I think people should endeavor to follow. These are by no means exact, but still.
Rule 1: One "What if?" is enough.
So many stories say something like (and if some story actually has this, I absolutely do not apologize, because it's stupid as hell,) "What if Harry moved to Japan? What if he was raised by Sailor Moon? What if he became a Sailor Scout?" (I have no clue whether this is even possible, as my knowledge of Sailor Moon is limited, to say the least.) You know what you should do? Don't phrase everything as a question. Try for more pizzazz: "When Harry moved to Japan, he never expected to find a family. Much less become a magical girl." This was from less than a minute of my time, and it sounds so much better. You get the same info across, but it's very clearly presented, and sounds a hell of a lot less contrived. In fact, if you want, you can cut out the second part: the important thing is that there's only one big "What if?" involved. You have to make it seem like Harry moving to Japan will logically result in your crossover working, not that it's all completely contrived. That veneer of legitimacy is incredibly important, because it forces you to actually figure out how to get things to the point you want them to be at. You have to actually show why Harry moving to Japan will turn him into a Magical Girl. That's helpful for the audience and the author.
Rule 1.5: Variants of "What if?" also count:
"By a twist of fate" sounds stupid. "In a weird circumstance" sounds only marginally less so. I don't care how you word it, too many author interferences are dumb.
Rule 2: No gratuitous language quirks.
Sorry, but no one has their reading experience improved by you using random Japanese honorifics or *shudder* actual Japanese in your stories, especially when you translate the damn words at the bottom of the page. This practice is stupid, even if the first (honorifics) is one I'll grudgingly admit can be used as a shortcut to imply the relationship between characters. However, it's just that: a shortcut. Tone, body language, mannerisms: those are what good writers use when writing in English, not honorifics cribbed from Japanese. The second (random words translated) has absolutely no place in a story. It's like a Japanese writer transliterating random English words with Japanese equivalents, and using them instead of Japanese for no goddamn reason. If you're writing an anime fanfic, by all means use honorifics: however, much like actual professional translators, when you translate, you should translate everything.
Rule 3: Reveal any yaoi/slash beforehand.
A significant portion of this site only read yaoi stories, and a significant portion never read yaoi stories. Some don't because of religious reasons, some because it makes them uncomfortable and alienates them from the protagonist, yadda yadda. I don't because Yaoi is never actually depicted in a healthy manner on this site. And because it inevitably involves changes in sexual orientation/gender/etc. (Which I have personal issues with, independent of the fact that I have no love for stories about biological impossibilities such as male pregnancy). The point is, a lot of people want to know whether the story they're reading contains yaoi or not. It's not hard to do, just write an author's note at the start of the story noting the presence of yaoi, or, better yet, include it in the summary. It saves the author flames, the reader time, and everyone ends up happier. (Yuri, the female equivalent, is in the same boat.)
Rule 4: Ellipses are not your friend.
Stories like this...are completely unreadable...because...they...don't show...any grammatical mastery... No, seriously, fuck ellipses. They certainly have their place, but it's not in the middle of every conversation. It represents statements that trail off. There is no conceivable way that every single statement made can do that. It's also not a good way to indicate silences: just describe the silence itself. There is no good reason for people to abuse the ellipse when a period works better. It's like ending every sentence with an exclamation mark. Don't do this. Just don't.
Rule 5: Clothing deserves 1 sentence, Max.
The exact clothes that a character is wearing is almost always completely irrelevant to the story, and exists solely for the author to play mental dressup. No. One. Cares. It's a waste of time to write, and a waste of time to read. Each individual article of clothing doesn't need to be described: this goes double for mentioning jewelry in any context other than a formal occasion...in which case a maximum of five sentences is enough. An exception should be made for any special abilities or equipment involved with the clothing, but otherwise, it's really not important. (I guess it's okay if you're using it only as a way to flesh out a scene, rather than as the focus of a scene.) This may seem like an odd rule of sorts, but I have seen far too many people spend paragraph on paragraph on whatever clothing their dress-up doll of a main character has chosen to wear.
Rule 6: Never use an Original Character when an actual character can be used instead.
I would hope this is obvious. Canon characters come with a convenient variety of inbuilt traits, relationships, goals, and abilities. Introducing an OC into the mix is tempting, but ultimately self-defeating, since it means reworking the relationships and psyches of every other living being (or deceased, even!) who knows this person. And if you just go the "oh, they're a stranger" route, you have to work extremely hard to make it look like a non-deus ex machina. This all goes double for self-inserts or first person OC perspectives, by the way. And it goes triple for OC self-insert first person perspective stories. (Don't write those.)
Rule 7: Never change canon more than needed.
One of the hallmarks of terrible stories on this site is continual changes to canon to make up for "mistakes" created by earlier changes in canon, or, worse, changes for no reason at all. If a change isn't integral to a story, do without it. The best stories on this site change only a single thing (whether it's an event, a death, a set of deaths, etc.) and run with it. There's a point of divergence, and past that, things flow logically. This rule is often connected to rules 1, 3, and 6. Try plotting out a story beforehand, or at least outlining it. It helps you figure out what to change. An exception exists for crossovers or actual additions to the story. And, above all, do not introduce changes in the middle of the story without thoroughly giving a good reason for them. The Potters should not pop up in an intense care ward 20 chapters in. Kushina Uzumaki shouldn't be alive. If they are, you'd damn well have a good reason for it.
Rule 8: Make sure the plot and the characters progress towards their given goals.
This seems like a simple one, but it's honestly the most depressingly easy to fail of any of these rules. It's very easy to have your characters remain in a holding pattern for a while. If the goal of a character is to defeat Lord Voldemort, make sure the characters take steps towards that fairly often; also make sure Voldemort is taking steps towards his goal at the same time. If the goal is to depict a relationship, emphasize moments of bonding, and show the changing relationship. This doesn't mean that comic relief is meaningless or at all bad, or that side characters aren't important. On the contrary, a story with nothing but plot progression is a list, not a tale. But that said, it's vitally important to not halt progression. One of the major flaws with The Half-Blood Prince in the Harry Potter series was that nothing really happened over the course of the book. Sure, characters progressed, but Voldemort did absolutely nothing. When your story spans an entire year of a major war, featuring a major player in that war, you'd damn well progress the characters towards their goals as well as progressing their characterization.
I have a large, large set of ideas for potential stories, but neither the time nor patience to actually write them. The one I currently have up will be completed–it might take until 2050, but it'll happen. Some that may or may not exist in the future are as follows:
On Swift Wings - Harry Potter
Enigma - Harry Potter
Sic Transit Gloria Caeli - A Canticle for Leibowitz
And With Shining Eyes - Harry Potter
The Last Rift - Magic: the Gathering
Doing It With Gnusto - Zork & Harry Potter
Dirges and Demons - Harry Potter
I figure I should mention my absolute favorite fanfiction stories here. It seems about right.
A Black Comedy by nonjon. (If the one below isn't the best dimensional travel story out there, this one sure as hell is.)
The Stranger Trilogy by Serpant Sorceror (it's tragically incomplete, but it's pretty much the gold standard for alternate dimension stories.)
Awaken Sleeper by Water Mage (Do you like the Dresden Files? Do you like extremely cool magical battles, political intrigue, prophecy, and a pissed-off Harry Potter? You'll like this story.)
Harry Potter and the Boy Who Lived by The Santi (If the stranger trilogy is the pinnacle of dimension travel stories, this is the equivalent for AU stories.)
Where in the World is Harry Potter and its sequels, by nonjon. (For my money, the funniest damn Harry Potter stories out there.)