I reviewed Marriage and Other Matters, by Acacia Carter.
When you read/review a story that was written for a challenge, do you keep that in mind as you go through the fic? Has that knowledge ever altered how you perceive a story?
As Soraya said, it rather depends on the challenge. For some, I find myself even more impressed by the fic because of the restrictions of the challenge, but for the most part, I'm like Maple. A challenge story should be just the same as any other, and I read it with the same expectations and standards. It's not something that would usually change my reading of a story.
Have you ever had a plot-bunny that seemed perfect for a challenge just until you noticed a restriction? Did you meander around the restriction, or did you just leave the plot-bunny for later?
Once, I came very close to the end of writing a challenge fic and then noticed I'd forgotten to include the words that made up part of the requirements. In that case, I went back through the fic and found ways of inserting them because it was really close to the challenge deadline and I didn't want to have wasted all of my last minute panic. I don't think that was a particularly hard restriction to work with, though. In other cases, I think I'd be more likely to just write the story at another time, not for the challenge.
In the Cotillion, we see a lot of really crazy pairings. Does the pairing affect how you review? For example, would you review a Romione different than you would, say, a Ron and McGonagall pairing?
If a pairing would initially seem impossible/improbable, then I tend to mention that in my review. It seems worth mentioning because, assuming I liked the pairing by the end of the story, it's testament to the author's skill that they've convinced me of it. An unusual pairing takes a lot more work to write than, say, James/Lily, because your readers don't have any prior canon knowledge that will make them accept the ship easily. If I've been convinced by your rare-pair, it's a lot more impressive than me being impressed by, say, your Romione. The same goes for OC ships.
New TQ: Do you find it easier to review stories based on canon ships or stories based on rarepairs? Which sort do you review more often?