brownbetty. It's probably under Dreamwidth's maximum comment length, but as I suspect it's longer than the original post, it seems politer to post it here.
Anyway, this is my super-exhaustive guide to all the ways I have ever used to find good fanfiction in a fandom I was unfamiliar with.
Step 1. Find a story you like in the fandom. If you really don't know where to start, and no one else you read seems to be in the fandom:
B. Browse through the Archive of Our Own or Fanfiction.net.
C. Check if it's a Yuletide fandom and read all stories written for it until you find one you like.
D. See if the fandom has a storyfinders community or a newbieguide post, or is one of theFourthVine's "Fandoms I Have Loved".
E. Google or search through delicious for "[fandom] fanfic", "[fandom] fic recs", "[character]/[character] slash/het", "[fandom] big bang", &c.
F. Look through Metafandom's delicious for posts tagged with the fandom, since meta on a fandom often includes links to stories the meta writer likes.
G. If you have a Dreamwidth account, do a content (Site and Journal) search for "[fandom] [[fan]fic[tion]] [rec[ommendation][s]]". (Not literally that string. Try "due south fic", "due south recs", "due south", and so on.)
Step 2. Is the story:
- on a fic or fandom community on LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, or similar service?
C. Try the community profile for members lists and sister or parent communities. Follow these links back to their source for more stories and recs.
- on an author's LiveJournal, Dreamwidth, or a similar journal?
2. Look through their tags:
b. Under "f" for "[fan]fic[tion] rec[ommendation][s][: [fandom]]"
d. [If the author seems to prefer one particular pairing or character] Under the first letter of the pairing or character name the author likes
e. Under "p" for "pimp[ing[: fandom]]"
- on a private site?
- on a panfandom archive (Archive of Our Own or Fanfiction.net)?
b. At Fanfiction.net, you can sort the results in alphabetical order by fandom by clicking "Category". Scroll down to your fandom and see what else the author has written. (You do have to keep doing this every time you come back to the page.) If the author writes a lot of crossovers, and in particular if they did so before FFN instituted its Crossovers category, you should also try Ctrl+F-ing for the fandom name, abbreviation(s), and character(s) you're interested in. Also note that crossovers with Buffy: the Vampire Slayer are or used to be in a category called "Buffy X-overs".
2. At Archive of Our Own, "Bookmarks" gives you stories the author has bookmarked, and "Recs Only" yields, well, recs. I don't know how to sort or limit this page by fandom, though. Ctrl+F is your friend.
- on a single-fandom (including a character- or pairing-focused) archive, or an archive of hand-selected stories in multiple fandoms?
Step 3. None of the leads from step 2 panned out! Now what?!
A. Try to find the author on other sites, even though they didn't link to any other sites in a readily accessible place. Try Googling (or searching searchable archives and journal sites) the author's username and obvious variations thereof. Also try Googling the story title or a unique phrase from the story.
B. If the story header or master post links to other stories--"inspired by", "remix of", "remixed as"--try those stories.
C. Does the story header list valuable betas, with links? Try going to their sites and looking for recs or for other stories they've betaed for.
D. Look at the comments (on a journal post) and reviews. Follow the makers of thoughtful comments or reviews back to their lair(s), and of course if another story is recommended or discussed positively in the comments, follow links or Google the title and/or author(s) to read it.
E. Google for recs lists or "what I'm reading" posts that include the story you enjoyed or its author.
F. E-mail, PM, or otherwise contact the author (using only publicly available contact information, because no matter how much you liked the story and no matter how desperate you are for fic of a similar quality, hiring a private detective to find out who the person is so you can contact them is creepy and possibly illegal) and beg for recs.
G. Write the fic you want to read in the world.
H. Bookmark, as a set of bookmarks, all possible searches recommended above and elsewhere, and set these pages to open every new session. F5 repeatedly. Weep bitter tears of fannish unfulfillment into your beverage every time you go to a con, and scare everyone away. Cry yourself to sleep at night, cradling printouts of the one good fic you did find to your chest to comfort yourself.
I. Pick a new fandom.
For more methods, check out the comments to the original post!