As a disclaimer, I am not speaking on behalf of all Lunaescence Moderators, and they may or may not agree with what I have to say. These are my opinions, and a lot of them reflect my personal process of nomming through the queue (And every mod's method is different!). Hopefully, this will be helpful for some of you in getting stories validated more quickly.
Remember that we are human. We don't nom through the queue mechanically. Mods have preferences, and we get headaches when we read things that hurt our eyes or just don't sit well with us.
Stories that are difficult to read, time-consuming to write a no letter for, or those that contain material the mods would rather not read will sit in the queue longer than those that are validate-able. This is a fact. No amount of nagging will change it.
Keep in mind that when someone follows and reads your story, it's because she enjoys it. She might enjoy the genre, the pairing, the characters, etc. When the moderators read a story, that is not necessarily the case. Oftentimes, we're unfamiliar with the fandom -- we do not read this submissions for pleasure. We read them because it is our job to screen them for reasonable writing. In order to do this, we take time out of our personal, academic, and professional lives to serve the members of Lunaescence.
Just as a note, we do not discriminate against stories based on content or fandom -- we get to all of them eventually, but stories that are easier for us to validate or write no letters for are generally looked at sooner. This is because we mods have limited time, patience, and sanity.
In trying to get your stories validated, please consider making things easier for us mods.
Here are some tips for getting your stories through the queue faster. I'm going to be blunt about them because that's the only way I know how to be. This information is not meant to be offensive or pointed; everything here is based on my personal experience and queue trends that I've seen while I've been on staff.
FOLLOW THE RULES.
In fact, it might be helpful to know what the rules are, so please make sure to read them.
Don't submit more than one chapter at once. We tell you this all the time, and we mean it. It's an automatic delete, and if your story is deleted on a technicality, that's a waste of precious time on your part and ours.
Decorative titles are not allowed. We are not Quizilla. We see this all the time, and we delete for these all the time.
I would also recommend reading the announcements. They often include common submission errors, and I advise that you follow them as not to incur our auto-delete wrath.
READ YOUR WRITING.
Spell check your writing. Edit your writing. Get a beta reader to look at your writing. The fact of it is that if your writing's bad, it's not getting validated. Actively look for errors and make a sincere effort to fix them.
It's not uncommon that we find stories with typos. While we understand that these are oversights, they're still considered errors -- silly errors that could have been easily fixed. Do your best to ensure that these sorts of mistakes aren't in your story so they can't be counted against you.
LISTEN TO THE MODS.
I get agitated when someone ignores my grammar advice and resubmits with the same errors in her story. It's disrespectful, and it's a waste of time. Why should I spend my precious time and effort to point out errors in your work if you won't put that same time and effort into fixing them? If you don't understand something, ask. The mods will work with writers who are sincere about improving their writing.
This means that if a mod links you to a grammar guide on dialogue punctuation or commas or paragraphing or whatever, you should read it. We're handing you relevant resources on a silver platter -- use them.
Also, if a mod recommends you to find a beta reader, you should probably go do that. And this means that you'll need to find a good beta reader, preferably someone who has been validated so you know that this person has the Lunaescence Stamp of Approval. Many authors will submit stories with a thank you note to their beta readers, but these stories are still filled with grammatical errors. You'll get nowhere if you do not find a beta who understands the fundamentals of the English language.
STOMP OUT IGNORANCE.
Ignorance is a horrendous excuse. Don't know your grammar? Read up. Don't know how to spell something? Use a spell checker. Don't understand how to keep someone in character? Ask a beta or do your research. You can find everything on the internet these days. If you don't know how to do something, put forth the effort and learn.
Mods are also good resources. If you don't understand a note that I make about an error in your letter, please ask. Please ask the first time I point out the error. Don't submit the story again without fixing it and then claim ignorance. I am very patient with people who put a sincere effort into learning to fix their mistakes.
FORMAT YOUR STORY.
Please format your stories. Format them properly. I don't care how you do it, but if it looks like a big block of text, it hurts our eyes. Use the PREVIEW button before you hit SUBMIT to make sure that there are spaces between the paragraphs. In fact, make sure you have paragraphs, particularly in dialogue when a new character speaks. It's not optional.
Remember that uploading your fic via the upload button doesn't work very well. You'll have to manually format it by either hitting enter twice between paragraphs, or using the < p > tag (without the spaces, of course).
WATCH THE NUMBER OF SUBMISSIONS.
So it's not really against the rules to make more than one submission (different stories, not chapters of the same story), but it plays a role in how fast your stories will be looked at.
From my experience, it looks like people who do this have a noticeably longer waiting period than those who don't. I think it might be because if these stories are not validate-able, mods feel that weeding out all of the mistakes from all three stories will be very taxing on them, both mentally and physically, and they put off looking at these submissions altogether.
Patience pays off, I promise.
AVOID WRITING M-RATED MATERIAL.
Personal biases aside, some mods just don't enjoy reading about sex or torture or rape (it makes some uncomfortable, and others just don't like it), and no one likes to read poorly-written M-rated material. For me, very graphic stories, stories with torture or rape, and smut are very difficult for me to read -- they can make my stomach turn, and I don't like that feeling.
So here's the deal. If you write M-rated material and submit it to the queue, you are likely to have to wait longer. (We mods will get to it eventually, as it is our job to look at everything, but it may take a while.) Until you're a validated author, it might be more time-efficient to just not submit this sort of material. If you don't like it, sorry. That's just the way things are.
This is not to say that you can't write M-rated material because, really, you can write whatever your pretty heart desires. We'll read it either way. However, writing such material may be detrimental to getting it through the queue as quickly as you'd like, and that's the point that I'm making.
LONG STORIES TAKE A REALLY LONG TIME.
Reading through stories and making notes on the errors in them is exhausting. Naturally, this validation process takes longer the longer a story is, especially if a long story has a lot of errors. Unless you are absolutely positive that your long story has few to zero errors, short to medium-length stories are probably the best.
It's not uncommon that I'll click on a story, realize that it's thousands of words long, and then backspace. This is because I often only have a few minutes on a break at work or because I'm mentally exhausted and don't want to have to deal with a long story. I'll take the more utilitarian approach and work on several shorter stories as opposed to a single long story because it's simply more time-effective.
Whenever the queue closes, the last fifty entries or so are almost always the longest ones. The fact of it is that errors are generally recurring, and the longer a story is, the longer we spend weeding out these errors. This process can be exhausting.
Also, as I mentioned above, we don't read these stories because we enjoy the content. If a story is too long, we can become bored. Think about a time when you had to get through a piece of text that you simply had no interest in. When mods go through submissions, we may feel the same way. As an unvalidated author, it might be more beneficial for you to hold off on the long chapters until you are validated, or at least make your chapters shorter.
On another note, it might be more efficient to write shorter stories. If a story is unvalidate-able, then mods can point most errors out in a shorter piece, compared to a longer piece, where mods can only point out only a fraction of the errors.
DON'T ACCEPT MEDIOCRITY.
Understand that you are not the best at what you do -- even us mods, although good writers, are certainly not perfect. There is always room for improvement. They say the sky's the limit. I say there is no limit. So you got an A in English, you got some stuff published, your readers say that your Zuko fic is the best they've ever read... does that mean you should stop trying to improve? Never. Never accept mediocrity. Never be okay with your writing being stagnant. You should always be finding more ways to improve.
Just because your story is validated doesn't mean that it's perfect. In fact, it may be very, very far from perfect because we are looking for reasonable writing, not perfection. With that said, your story may still have errors in it, even after validation. Look toward fixing these errors. Don't merely accept validation -- actively seek to improve upon your weaknesses.
I sometimes tell writers that they have errors with their dialogue punctuation or their independent clause commas, and they don't fix them in their resubmissions. It saddens me to know that some people do not strive for improvement.
I really hope this is insightful for you all. I understand that some of the material in here might not be what you want to hear, but it's the sincere truth of my observations. I'll be slowly compiling information for the next chapter, which should be written within the next few weeks. If you have any questions or any grammar concerns you'd like me to go over, please do not hesitate to ask.
We want you to succeed. That's why I took time out of my day to write this for all of you in hopes that it will help you in some way, shape, or form.
Best of luck with validation.