If you’re anything like me, your TBR (to be read) list is massive. I have over 500 downloaded copies of unread fics on my computer. And that doesn’t include the WIP (work in progress) links I have bookmarked. It can be very overwhelming when you’re trying to decide what to read next. I usually have around 5-10 completed fics that I am reading at one time, but I am quite easily distracted and tend to pick up more and more before I finish the ones I’m attempting to get through. I TRY to focus on one major one at a time and often restrict myself to refusing to touch anything else until it’s done, but I’m frequently unsuccessful. Sometimes you come across something (or it’s thrown at you) that you just HAVE to read. RIGHT NOW.
I was thinking about it and wondering what this factor is. I’m sure it’s different for everyone. I am constantly updating the priority ranking in my mental TBR list. (I do have an actual hard copy of this list, but nothing is ranked. Just listed.) There are several factors that push certain stories closer to the top. Subject matter, for one. (I will always pick up a new fic with a mentally unstable or damaged Edward, no matter what I’m in the middle of. That’s my weakness.) I think it goes without saying that well-written, attention grabbing summaries are important. They can make or break readership. There are even articles on how to write a good one – like this one. But what is even more important than that is the recommendations of other people. If a lot of people are reading and enjoying a particular story, odds are that it’s good and you should read it too. (Although, it’s not always the case. There have been a few “fandom favourites” that I’ve hated.) There are several Twilight fan fiction recommendation sites, including my new weekly column here, but in my opinion, the best recs come from your friends.
My friends and I will discuss fic for hours. We hash out the minutia of WHY we liked certain stories, what could be improved upon but is still worth a read, and what to avoid altogether. I find that my tastes are more in line with some friends over others, and I will put their recs at the top of my list. You learn to trust various people’s recs. If you consistently like what they like, you know you’re in for a treat when they pass something new your way. Consider yourself very lucky if you have friends like mine! 🙂
Even if you don’t have the never-ending TBR list issue, everyone has those particular points that draw them to new stories. I’m very curious – what is it for you that makes you rush to read something above all else?
(originally posted to Eat. Sleep. Breathe. Twilight.)