I really should've found time to read Reliable Narrators. I have a feeling that, while it wouldn't've been a favorite of mine, I would probably have given it a pretty good review. Unfortunately, I was a bit preoccupied with the end of the semester at uni, as well as some personal projects. So now my streak of negative reviews continues, this time with Scar Crossed Lovers.
SpaG was bad. People have pointed out issues with tense, but there were a decent number of other mistakes as well. Nothing characteristic of any overarching issues (besides little to no proofreading), just a normal spread of generic errors. The real problem was everything else.
The plot was contrived and unbelievable, as I expected when I heard this was one of the good old 'American at Yamaku' stories. There's been plenty of conversation regarding those, but for the record, I don't think they're all doomed to failure - just that most of them are, especially when written like this. I won't jump directly to the conclusion that the main character was a self-insert with a few random traits added for believability, but I've got one hell of a hunch that that's the case. It's also not made entirely clear what role Hisao has in this story, but since the room given to the protagonist could canonically be next to Hisao's (119), I have a feeling they were supposed to meet up, sooner or later. (more interesting fan theory: the feeling "Like someone watching me" is actually alternate-reality Hisao, who has been erased from existence by our time-disobeying protagonist)
Speaking of characters, the characterization was, surprisingly, a bit of a mixed bag. Misha and Shizune didn't feel that out-of-place, in my opinion. Their characterizations weren't perfect (some of Misha's translations contradicted the style she uses in-game), but overall, they made sense. The few lines of Lilly we get, too, weren't that bad (although I would've liked some explanation as to who started that phone call, and why). Hanako, of course, was bad. There was a clear understanding of who her character is on the surface, followed by a complete and total misinterpretation of who that character is on the inside. Not much else to be said, really.
All in all, in my opinion, this was just a quick and dirty attempt at pairing Hanako with a poorly-designed, poorly-written, possibly-self-insert-but-who-knows OC. Given what happened in the 10-20 minutes of contact they got, we should probably just be glad that the author never wrote a third chapter - partly because they'd probably already be at third base, and partly because we'd have to read it, and I really wouldn't want to. So...
First and foremost, I'll make clear that I have an overwhelming preference for good stories. Sure, it can be fun to laugh about stories that went terribly wrong, but overall, I'd much prefer a "Greatest Hits" or "Hidden Gems" thread over "Japan's Funniest Home Videos". I won't blame others for wanting some lower-end content, but personally, I'd rather enjoy reading each week's story (I'm not really a proponent of "so bad it's funny").
If the story's good, though, then I don't have much of a preference on the other options. Short and long have equal merit. OCs can work, but I certainly don't mind the original cast. Unfinished stories can be a disappointment, but they also spark interesting theoretical discussion. And in terms of genre/theme, I've read great stories here belonging to many different categories, so I don't mind - personally, I tend to enjoy romance more, but I can appreciate everything else.