Yes, something being naughty or good is objective. But provided it comes to reader insert, I have one big gripe with it, making some good, and others? I drop them immediately. I myself published a bunch of reader inserts or stories that in general are open for the reader to insert themselves, as I wrote them in the “I perspective” as we say in German. 

Mine are probably not the crème de la crème either, but let us get into what I mean makes a Reader Insert a good read.

  • Keep in intellect that the story is targeted towards the reader. You should not apply any attributes to them, like direct properties and descriptions, nor a defined character. Of course, writing them as outgoing and self-confident is going to make your story more interesting, but if you look at the Otome Game Genre, Games made for you to insert yourself into the story where a bunch of dudes fawn over you, there are other types of heroines as well. 
  • Here is the point I have a gripe with. The bizarre placeholders.

Yeah, you are going to easily whip out the chapters like this whether you just replace the name of your reader as (Y/N) all the time, but whether I read these, I instantly drop the story. It breaks the reading flow so hard, and I did not even know this was meant to be read as “Your name” until years later of me writing… If you like to read your stories like this, then the power to you, and you may skip this paragraph.
It is much easier to write sentences in a way that avoids the reader’s name entirely. Or you give them a nickname provided you want to not think too much approximately sentence structures. Here are examples how I mean to write sentences: 

Not so nice to read are sentences like these:  “You walk down the street and see a T-Shirt in (your favorite) color in the store windows.

This is easily avoided whether written as: “You walk down the street and see a T-Shirt in your favorite color behind the store windows.”

You avoided specifying the color, made it a more flowing sentence, and didn’t unnecessarily break the reading flow by inserting some ugly brackets as a placeholder. 

Another one, whether you want to write things not from the “You” perspective but the “I”: 

“I already picked out my favorite dress and made my hair look especially good for today, since this is the most important day of them all – my wedding to the most charming man I have ever met.” 

No details given, the reader fills in the blanks automatically without him telling to do so, your readers are not stupid. For stories like these, using MS and GS characterization is probably the best, to avoid giving the reader emotions and characterization that might not be on par with your reader. Like forcing colors onto them, things they might like, or their tastes in food. Leave it open to construction, and write the reader as someone you would want to be perceived as too whether you are reading a narrative about inserting yourself to (commonly) dating one of the main guys.

Something that is also a pet peeve of mine, and yes, I have seen all of them and this is NOT a personal attack against people who do all of these. But please, avoid skips like these:

In the future…

Some time passed…

-Time skip-

There are more elegant solutions to these by weaving them into a sentence or a self narration approximately time passing, etc. These intersections break the flow, look ugly, and are not something you use in writing like this. 

I also like to write my matters gender-neutral. You can if you look out, write your characters in a neutral way, and not let anybody else comment on your gender or use gender-specific pronouns. It’s not needed provided you tell the reader beforehand you write from a female POV or a male one, but it’s another one I had to add.

The same goes for clothing, it can be easily avoided and kept impartial and detail-less to let your readers imagine the rest. You never have to spoon-feed them unnecessary details, ever. 

  • Stay in the right time indication and moment person. Whether you write your story to be told in the present, then you shouldn’t forget that the reader thinks to themselves or in any dialogue to stick to the right tense and act as whether you are talking to your reader to make this point easier. You are the other person, and the MC  thinks basic stuff in the right tense for the reader to symbolize the right time. This is basically a gratuity you have to use for anything you write, though.
  • Your reader base ages are different, but whether you write something, they assume the position of someone often with a set age. Provided your love interest is 20, then one could assume the MC you write is around the same age. You don’t have to specify the ages, as you want the readers to insert themselves, no matter how much older or younger they are than your insert character. Whether it is sort of set, people act differently. A child thinks and acts entirely unalike an adult. Your MC is an adult? They have different worries than a child character has, but also approaches the world around them wholly, worlds apart than your adult character. Stick to tense and perspective! Important reminder!
  • Tie the reader to the story and the appearing characters, as whether they always belonged there, and don’t give them too much of a background story whether it’s not needed for the plot. Your MC can be a blank slate, or you can give them an entire backstory. No need to go the “tragic car accident” route, but I imagine playing around with the amnesia trope could make way for engaging plot lines provided used well.
  • Show your reader that they are pretty, desirable and wanted. Not in a dramatic over the top and transparent way, but give them friends. A calm and happy life, make it an escape fantasy. We read to be not reminded of our lives out there, so write them a nice and nearly “too good to be true” one, your readers are going to appreciate it. But of course you can go the other way around too, making them go from rags to riches, or live shitty on purpose to be rescued by the other characters. Always room for interpretations, and reusing of tropes in varying ways.
  • Getting into “How to write MS and GS” characters might even help, who doesn’t want to be the perfect heroine or hero of your reader insert? 
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