One of the things that I enjoy seeing in my ships is character growth. It’s not about the characters being attractive, it’s not about the characters being similar, it’s not about the characters being opposites. Some of those cliches can be cute but that’s not what’s important to me. The thing that generally determines whether or not I will enjoy a ship is if the character dynamics COULD or already DO lead to growth for BOTH characters.
I feel that a lot of writers generally mess this up when building up their ships by making the development one sided or just not really making the relationship believable. It’s always like “Here are two characters. They like each other. The end”. That’s why people half the time people end up wanting someone else to end up with so-so, generally the closest friend or someone who the story shows understands so-so better than his love interest.
Idk I just love ships that are built up on mutual respect and admiration. I love seeing both characters help each other and motivate each other to reach their respective goals. I love seeing both challenge each other’s views. I love seeing both grow individually and then come together into a supportive relationship where they know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Even if some of this stuff is not shown in canon, the character dynamics create a certain potential for all these things to happen under other circumstances. And fanfiction and fanart can go into that potential and bring it to life 😊