5) YOUR FIRST LANGUAGE ISN'T ENGLISH, YET YOU PUBLISH IN ENGLISH
A lot of times when a story on DA is especially awful, I'll click on the author's avatar and find out they are from Poland, the Phillippines, or Chile. That is - their story is written in english, but english isn't their native language.
If a writer has a good grasp of english, that's not a problem. However, that is rarely the case - far from having an understanding of english, it's clear they've used google-translator to convert the text.
That would be like me writing a story in my native english, then google-translating it into japanese, then posting it on an asian fiction site - for ACTUAL Japanese people to read. Does that sound like a good idea? Do you think a japanese reader would like to be subjected to the terrible, unreadable grammar this would produce?
Here's a recent example I found from a dA author (I've changed the character/s names):
"David has accepted Mrs. Harts offer and moved back to town with small Penny. He took my old apartment on downstairs. As soon as, I finish my work so I help David with their daughter. David is getting very hard over her death."
That's right. 'David is getting very hard over her death.' When I suggested to the author in his comments section that he might want to change that sentence, he changed it to, "David has got very hard over with her death," which still isn't an english sentence quite yet, but at least David sounds like slightly less of a necrophile now.
I'm not saying NEVER publish in English if it's your second or third language. But at least ask an english-speaking friend if it's understandable first. Unless of course you're comfortable with your submissions being embarrassingly terrible.
4) YOU TELL A STORY LIKE YOU'RE WRITING A GROCERY LIST
If your story starts with something like this:
(authors note: Leonardos POV)
...you're doing it wrong. You don't have to TELL me whose POV I'm reading in. It will be readily apparent as soon as I begin reading, or even before that, from the chapter title, or even before that, from the book title. And if it's NOT immediately apparent who the viewpoint character is, well that's a nice little mystery for the reader to finally solve as they're drawn into reading your story, isnt it?
Second, a story isn't just "this happened, and then this happened, and then this next thing happened." There's a little thing called 'cadence' and 'voice' that stories have used since there WERE stories. Cadence, or 'speaking-flow', is like the way you take the readers hand and guide them through the information you're delivering in the story. If there isnt a nice balance of punctuation and grammar, a story feels like a list of information, not a journey or adventure. It's just short, sharp sentences jabbing information into the readers head.
The 'voice' you write in should literally feel to the reader as if a new person has entered their life and is telling a REAL story that REALLY happened. You should probably think about using it. People do. For a good reason.
3) YOU NEVER EVEN READ - LET ALONE EDIT - YOUR STORY BEFORE PRESSING 'SUBMIT'
This one speaks for itself. COME ON GUYS! (and girls) At least re-read your story ONCE before you press submit. I bet you'll find at least ten mistakes. And trust me, readers don't wanna deal with working out what you're TRYING to say. You should have worked that out clearly for them.
I've seen authors on dA who have written a series of works, over years, and the last sentence in the last chapter of the story has a spelling or grammar mistake! Do you know how BAD that looks? It looks like even YOU don't care about your story. How do you expect anyone else to?
RE-READ and EDIT. PLEASE!!! (my eyes...argh myeuyes!@!)
2) THERE'S NO ACTUAL PLOT, JUST EMOTIONS
A story without a story. Well done. You did it man, you REALLY did it. Oh well, as long as some commenters leave some poorly-spelled comments about 'major feelz', I guess its all worthwhile, huh?
1) YOU THINK AN 'X-READER' IS A LEGITIMATE STORY DEVICE
I realise this is not a popular view on dA, but honestly, I feel that X-Readers are an embarrassment to the definition of the word 'story.' When I was growing up, Choose Your Own Adventure books were popular. They were never really considered serious novels, but they were a fun diversion when you couldn't play real D&D. X-READERS are like Choose Your Own Adventures... minus the choice, style and fun. You are TOLD what to think and feel; and you have NO choice in the outcome.
For some reason X-Readers are also very homoereotic and emotional (see 2). The emotional range seems to be hugs/near kisses = warm feeling, and screaming/shivering = bad feeling. THAT'S the entire emotional range a typical X-Reader TELLS you to feel. As if I were a kitten or something.
I have not read a SINGLE X-Reader that made me respond with: "Hey, this is good! Well-written! Challenging!" And every 'love scene' I've read in one made me shiver in repulsion and disbelief. Yet they CLOG-UP DeviantArt by the millions, making my DeviantArt experience go something like this:
Author logs-on to dA - "Hmm, let's see what stories have been submitted while I was away."
BuckyXSteveRodgersxApplejack - terribly written garbage. Next...
LeonardoXQueenElsa - stupid premise and the writer has produced unreadable, emotional crap. Next...
SherlockXHetaliaXTeenTitans - offensively terrible and impossible to read. Next...
ZeldaXGanondorfXReader - Awesome! I get to have gay, PG-sex with Ganondorf? Just what I always NEVER wanted! Next...
(and this continues into eternity)