Now, I've written for request fests and I've pinch-hit for exchanges, but this is the first time I've requested anything, and I'm pretty darn excited. I've seen some folks spell out what they like and don't like when it comes to fic, and I thought what a perfect opportunity to blather on about myself and my preferences for a while.
So, let's talk about ships.
My preferences and likes and reading habits generally go one of two directions: first, I like Snape; and second, I like just about everything else.
1. Snape - Pair him with Lupin, or Regulus, or Harry or Lucius or Neville or Sirius or anyone, but keep him Snapely, please, from his lanky greasy hair to his temper and his sharp tongue. Pair him with a female if you like, but I must say I've never read a Snape/Hermione fic that I liked. So I've tended to avoid those, as well as Snape/OFCs, because it's a low-percentage fic for me. (Like in basketball, where shots from certain areas of the court are called "low-percentage shots" because they have a much lower chance of succeeding.) Life is short, so I tend to stick to high-percentage fics. Plus I have an anti-OC vibe in general; I think I picked that up from reading deleterius. If we're talking het Snape pairings, my favorite would probably be Lily, closely followed by Narcissa. Anyway, key ingredient number one in a good fic for Summer is a good Snape.
2. Everything else - I like the rare pairs, especially if they can be something close to canon - for instance, Zacharias Smith being his officious self, or Luna doing her thing. I also like lots of the more mainstream pairings - it was Remus/Sirius that got me to read the books, after all (that's a good story for another day). Some of the best stories I've ever read were Harry/Draco, or Snape/Harry - I guess because some really damn good authors like them. What does this mean for someone writing for me in an exchange? Mostly, write what you like. I want to see in-character characters, so if you have a fantastic Bellatrix, trot her out and let's see what she does :D.
3. Exceptions - For some reason a few ships have struck me the wrong way. The main one is Remus/Tonks. Yes, it gets in the way of Remus/Severus, but that's not why I don't like it (honest!). My problem is how it's presented in the books. This is probably a topic for another day, but what the heck. I've got a bit of time. Apparently there's a good deal of strong feelings on either "side" of the R/T "debate" - so let me be clear. My main take on the issue is: Wait and see. I have to read book 7 before I can make any real judgment on it; that's just the kind of Ravenclaw INTJ I am. With that said, there isn't really anything in HBP that *explicitly* tells us how Remus feels about Tonks. No, I don't think JKR would write what she did if they're not going to end up together; yes, I can see Molly pushing Remus into it whether he was ready or not, but I cannot see Arthur doing it too. Arthur encourages Remus, there in the hospital, and I have to believe he's got a pretty clear picture of the situation or he would have stayed out of it. But Remus' feelings are not made explicit. This isn't really surprising, given that Remus seems to be a rather private and introverted man (not to mention the clueless!Harry filter), but the result is we don't yet know how he feels. I'm not saying Remus *doesn't* love her - just that you can't tell from a strict reading of the text as written.
Anyway, enough about R/T. I *love* Tonks, I *love* Remus, I just haven't been shown them together yet - not really. I'll wait for canon on that ship. And fanfic =/= canon anyway, so I see no problem whatsoever in R/T in book 7 at the same time that I'm writing Snape and Lupin post-war. ;D
Part of this is influenced by my last read-through of HBP. I found myself really, really liking it (HBP, not R/T), even if it was kinda shippy.
4. Miscellaneous - What else do I like in fic outside of the pairing question? Just about everything. I love fics that are fun, that make me laugh, that turn me on, that surprise me, that shock me, or that make me cry - though in general I prefer a happy or at least hopeful ending. I have on occasion re-imagined in my own head a new ending for a particularly lovely fic with a terribly depressing ending, because I want to think it can work out, dammit. So what does all this mean? I'm well aware that this doesn't really narrow things down. I like so many things, though, honest. Hm, I could write a whole post about favorite kinks and squicks and the like, but until then I'll just say I'm relatively squick-free. I think the bottom line is that the genre should fit the characters - for example, a fic with Lockhart is going to be slightly like crack no matter what (and so yummy that way!). And H/D immediately post-HBP is going to have some issues to deal with - that's good.
In summary, Summer likes Snape and other things too. *waves* I like being easy to please :D
I'm now contemplating writing a post about my personal squicks and kinks, but it seems like pretty intimate information. If I were you guys, I wouldn't want to know this sort of thing about me. *edit* I has done so.