1.) In many cases, I stop accepting a characterization and situation due to fannish glut.
Okay, example. John the Sex Slave, which at the beginning was the hottest thing ever. Then I hit my limit up hard and fast and then I backdated to stop being able to read *all* of them, even the ones I used to love. And yes, while it does have something to do with some writers' handling of it, it's also just--hmm. You know, part of it has to be the early ones were either short and to the point and didn't give me time to think beyond 'oh god hot', or they had enough background and story to make me get *why* the guy who, you know, *kills people that piss him off* would submit to sexual servitude. At this point, I would need the entirety of Atlatnis held hostage, Rodney being tortured in front of him, and probably a serious dose of drugs to go with it. And John to be unarmed and possibly tied up. A lot.
Just in case this isn't clear--I'm not saying brilliant ones aren't being written. I'm just saying, I can't suspend disbelief for it anymore.
2.) I tend to really dislike Rodney in about a third of McKay/Sheppard fic.
This is also a product of fannish glut, but also a product of second season canon. I was far more willing to buy totally oblivious and terminally socially stupid Rodney right up before Duet. Then there was Trinity where I totally fell in love with him, and I got protective of his social issues, because oh God, he *tries* and sometimes characters on the show totally do not see that he's trying and I kind of want to slap them for not being up on Rodney-speak. Because I just don't see him being able to maintain a relationship with *anyone* when his default setting at all times is vicious and cruel and just--no. That, too, is backdated, which is depressing, because some of the earlier high-sarcasm Rodneys made me happy and now I can't enjoy them.
3.) I tend to enjoy John most through another character's pov.
I am shocked I did not realize this about myself earlier. I love him through Rodney's--Rodney is not a social genius, but he *is* fairly good at knowing who he is working with--again, see flawlessly beautiful and deeply fucking *fantastic* manipulation of John in Trinity, for which he wins at *life*--and it just--well, works. Also high on the scale is Lorne from miss_porcupine, who also gives fantastic Sheppard. They see the good parts, the flawed parts, the weaker parts, the breathtaking parts, and how those things make John the man they like/love/care about, and God, why isn't there more Sheppard/Lorne fic? Screw the chain of command--that would be so *good*. Also a close runner up is Ronon--he tends toward a slightly idealized John, but as a reader, I know his perception is flawed as well, and it's nice to have one character that thinks John is as wonderful as I think he is.
Obvious example: Exigencies by rivier. That one still blows me out of the water, every time. Outside pov, limited experience, seeing John through an outsider's eyes was both chilling and illuminating and painfully *real*.
4.) Semi-reliable narrators work for me.
This joins back with three, actually.
By the nature of viewing one character through another's eyes, there's a margin of error. It works for me best when the author knows it and *uses* it to show both how the character as the pov character sees him and how the situation *isn't* as perceived. Honestly, nothing makes me happier when there is that subtle difference that lets the reader, while still seeing throught pov character, *know* that teh situation isnt' quite as they think it is--and better--that there is *no way* the pov character could know otherwise.
Okay, example, because that's a terrible explanation--Pru's Stitch and Bitch, in which practically everyone knows John totally wants Rodney and Rodney does not know. The thing is, Rodney isn't actually being particularly dense--everyone knows because they're reading too much into things, and John is being almost painfully subtle. Without a serious leap of faith, there's no way Rodney *could* know, so how he sees the situation makes sense. And how he reacts to it makes sense. MVP is another excellent example of how the situation isn't quite how Rodney perceives it, but only the reader really knows this for sure. In the confines of the story, there is no way that Rodney could know.
helenish's Your Inevitable Unhappy Ending, oh, that one hits me *everywhere*. John's painfully unreliable as a narrator, you can *see* Rodney not making the right connections with limited information at his disposal--he earns his genius title with working out what is actually going *on* with John through a process of trial and error--the *situation* is unreliable and pretty much works against them figuring anything out. That they muddle through and figure out how to be together is amazing and almost an accident and *so good* that it's one of my absolute favorites in the fucked up John category.
Speaking of that, a story that I would kill to get a Rodney POV on is Shalott's Proof by Contradiction.
I'm going to reinterate my original thing here--this has nothing to do with teh quality of the story or the author in question. Christ, this is astolat. Her grocery list would fascinate me.
Most of the story I absolutely hated Rodney enough to kill him in his sleep and maybe admit to it in a spate of pride. Being a John pov story, and very strictly in it, we only got his perception of Rodney, who spent the entire story in a fit of assholery unseen before in history, then begins to lighten up near the end and gets back in my good graces by the time he tumbles John on his back and they have non-drugged gay sex. Because John's perception of Rodney in this case is a Rodney that treats John's upset at public drugged sex kind of cruelly, and that bothered me. But again, the John pov limited exactly how much he saw of Rodney, and later, I read it wondering, okay, so John sees this, but actually, where is Rodney coming from *here*? A similar thing with Tango, but in this case, amireal gave me an intriguing explanation of the last third that completely changed how I viewed the story.
5.) Gen John works better for me than slash or het John. I mean, *much* better than het John.
I am thinking this has a lot to do with three and four and again, fannish glut. But I need to think more before I make a pronouncement.
Short version: All things ltlj and miss_porcupine are default on how I view John Sheppard. They're kind of where I hope to *get* eventually when writing John. For slash only, cesperanza and rageprufrock are the closest to perfect. dvswraatins is also there, especially with Under the Skin, which still is my favorite of the first season stories and fairly high up overall.
Okay, now I go back to lazy.
*edited to correct title of story attributed to dvswraatins