Dramione fans - I'm sorry to disappoint you, but Draco is NOT a bad boy. In fact, he's the exact OPPOSITE of a bad boy. He's a pansy-assed mama's boy who didn't have the courage to stand up to anyone or for anything. I'd also like to add that while Ron screamed and clawed and fought with everything he had to get to Hermione while she was being TORTURED, Draco merely stood around & watched on. While he probably didn't take any pleasure from it, he didn't say a word to interfere, either. I'm not saying that he's incapable of redemption, because he is, but my point is that condemning Ron for his behavior in favor of Draco is just plain ludicrous. Not to mention, the idea that our morally pristine, brave heroine would end up with such a coward is just insulting to said heroine.
Harmony fans - Although there's a part of me that understands the appeal of wanting the hero & heroine to get together, I'm afraid it's canon: They're like brother and sister, in the words of The Boy Who Lived himself. No getting around that. Sorry.
Ron/Lavender - Opponents of the Ron/Hermione pairing are going to have to get over this one, because Lavender was never more than a tool to get Ron to realize that he needs more than just a physical relationship. Yeah, he probably banged her in his foolishness and youth, because Lavender was there for him in a time where he needed an ego boost and to feel attractive, but it doesn't mean he loved her. In fact, he DIDN'T, which is obvious. (In the end, she was nothing more than a burden and an annoyance to him.) Not that that makes him a bad person - it just makes him human.
Snape/Hermione - I've read Snape/Hermione fics simply because Snape happens to be my favorite character, but most of these stories are grossly OOC. In these stories, Snape usually rapes Hermione because he's ordered to do so by Voldemort (and he has to keep his cover, of course), and during the course of his trying to make amends, Hermione falls in love with him. Or there's a potion accident that makes Snape irresistible to Hermione. Or there's a Marriage Law that forces Hermione to choose a pureblood or halfblood husband, and of course Snape is the logical choice, what with his charming personality. Or after Hermione catches Ron banging Lavender Brown in a hidden alcove during her rounds as Head Girl, she suddenly realizes that she has so much in common with Snape, such as their intelligence and love of potions. (And for some odd, unknown reason, Draco Malfoy is Head Boy, and he and Hermione become BFFs.)
While I found SOME of these scenarios to be enjoyable because of my love of the character, these stories are largely predictable and Hermione is usually unrecognizable. And then there's the fact that he's, well...Snape. He's greasy, sallow-skinned, and exceedingly unpleasant. Not to mention that he often antagonized Hermione in the classroom, even making fun of her teeth. I can see how this would be the basis of a profound, long-term relationship. (I actually read a story where Hermione fell in love with Snape for no apparent reason at all. They had absolutely no shared history, nada. When I questioned the author about this phenomenon, her response was along the lines of "Well, simply because I wanted her to be in love with him." Um...Okie-dokie, then. From a reader's perspective, her baseless love of Snape just made her look pathetic. Yeah, when I was fourteen if my teacher had joined in with my classmates to laugh at my teeth, I DEFINITELY would have fallen head over heels for him!) *9/9 - British lingo/terminologies: While I certainly don't expect American writers to become fluent in British slang (I'm no expert myself), there's no reason why you can't at least TRY. For example, in Britain it's "mum," not "mom," they eat "biscuits," not "cookies," they don't "line up," they "queue up," some women might have "fringe," not "bangs," what we know as "French fries" are "chips," and our "chips" are "crisps." I could go on and on like this, but if you'd like a more extensive list, all you've got to do is Google "British terminology." I've found some very useful sites by doing that.
Side note: Try not to overdo it, though. I read a fic recently where everything was just "smashing!" While I appreciated the effort, I couldn't ever recall the Harry Potter characters going around calling everything "smashing."
Run-on sentences & sentence fragments: Come on. People, this is. Basic stuff. If your sentences. Look like this then you should seriously consider re-taking seventh-grade English I'm not even kidding.
Tenses/first person/second person/third person: I don't care WHAT person or tense you use as long as you keep it consistent. Although, first person, particularly in Twilight fanfiction, can be annoying, especially if you're switching POVs every few freaking paragraphs. For the love of all things holy, people, if you wanna write more than one POV, just write the bloody thing in the third person! Here's a little known fact: Very few writers can pull off multiple POVs convincingly, but you at least have a bit more leeway if you write in the third rather than the first.
And the whole repeating ENTIRE events/chapters/segments from a second character's POV? This should only be reserved for those rare occasions when it's absolutely essential and not something that you should practice every friggin' chapter.
*8/27 - Third Person Omniscient: I've come to the conclusion that very few writers can pull off the "head-jumping" involved in the third person omniscient convincingly. I've read SOME stories where writers have pulled off being in one character's head one moment and another's in the next, but generally it's a bit disconcerting. I'd recommend playing it safe by sticking to the third person limited and adding a scene-switch if you wish to get inside another character's head.
Beta readers that have no business doing any sort of editing work: If your beta doesn't know how to punctuate dialogue (see the above example), then find a new one. Pronto.
In recent months, I was reading a Snape/Hermione fic that I was on the fence about to begin with, but the author CONSISTENTLY punctuated her dialogue incorrectly, despite the fact that she credited her "awesome beta" with every update. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer, so I politely wrote an example of how to properly punctuate dialogue in a review. Her response was something along the lines of, "Oh, well, my beta doesn't always catch everything." I wanted to reply that apparently her beta catches NOTHING. (There were also quite a few sentence fragments.) Instead, I dropped the fic.
Again, I'm not perfect, but I'm not offering myself up as a beta, either.
Summaries: If you're too lazy to use capitalization and punctuation in your summaries, then as a potential reader I'm going to automatically bypass your story. Same thing goes for spelling the characters' names incorrectly; I'm going to assume you're either lazy, stupid, or young. Or all three. Oh, & putting "R&R" in your summary isn't going to propel readers to do just that. It's a given that we ALL want people to read & review our fics, otherwise we wouldn't be posting publicly. The fact of the matter is that people are either going to read and review or they aren't, & adding that makes me think you're too dense to realize it won't make a difference, & if I think you're dense I'm certainly not going to give your fic a chance.
If you REALLY want to encourage people to review, try offering a review for a review, since to get a little sometimes you've gotta give a little. ;)
Also, I'm sorry, but if you announce that you're a first-time writer, I'm not going to read your story. As a reader & writer, I'm looking for fics that have an "experienced" feel to them.AU's without magic and blatant OOC-ness:
If you want to write original fiction (and make no mistake - if your characters are living in an AU universe where there is no magic & they resemble the original characters in nothing more than physical attributes, then it IS original fiction), I think that's great and I completely encourage it, but for the love of all things don't attach the Harry Potter characters' names to your original fiction stories & try to pass it off as fanfiction. FFn actually has a sister site called FictionPress, intended specifically for the purpose of posting & reading original fiction. (I'm particularly flabbergasted by all the Twilight all-human fics that have THOUSANDS of reviews. "Bella is a popular cheerleader & Edward is the bad boy," or anything similarly ridiculous and vomit-inducing...Maybe I'm weird, but I don't understand the appeal.)
Unwarranted villainization/angelification of characters/perfect marriages (This goes hand-in-hand with "blatant OOC-ness"):
In the Twilight fandom I saw the villainization of Jacob quite a bit (from Edward fans) and of Edward (from Jacob fans), where authors took the worst qualities from the male they didn't like & exaggerated/twisted those qualities into downright abusive behavior. Likewise, since, as I stated above, I've been known to delve into the world of Snape/Hermione, I see authors in this category villainizing Ron simply because they're an opponent of the canon Ron/Hermione pairing. (Actually, I pretty much stopped fic-diving for Snape/Hermione fics because I got so sick of the authors inevitably writing Ron as a cheating and/or abusive bastard or simply a moron that learned NOTHING from his experiences during the war.)
There IS a flip side to this, however. During my quest to find some good Ron/Hermione fics, I've come across many overly-romanticized, perfect Rons - Rons who always say the right things and make the bed without having to be nagged. I love him as much as the next girl, but I want to read about the Ron that I fell in love with in the novels. I mean, sure, it's safe to say he matured after the war, but I still want him to curse & to not always know the right thing to say & to not always volunteer to change poopie diapers.
In short, let's try to keep it realistic, people. Coming from someone who's been married for almost six years, I can tell you that marriage isn't always sunshine & dandelions & rainbow-crapping unicorns, & if you write it as such, I'm going to assume you've never even been in a long-term relationship, much less a marriage.
*8/20 - Rape used as a plot device: Unlike a lot of people, I'm not personally opposed to it. The fact is that rape occurs in real life & published authors write about it. Therefore, as long as the rape isn't glamorized and the appropriate warnings are posted (although I could argue that in published fiction there are no such warnings) then I personally don't have a problem with it & think that it makes for intense angst/drama - IF it's dealt with correctly.
That being said, all of the Snape/Hermione fics I've read where Hermione falls in love with her attacker: You've gotta be kidding me. While disorders like Stockholm's exist, let's please not romanticize/glorify the most degrading, heinous act imaginable.