Prereader volunteer pool · 4:28pm
I posted a blog entry a while ago where I asked for prereaders, with the intention of using it as a list of candidates to replace prereaders who had to step down for various reasons. I made a slight mistake, however, in that I forgot to label it as such, and because I post so many blog entries, finding it every time I need a new prereader is a pain in the butt. Thus, I'm making this post to replace it.
In any case, if you want to be one of my prereaders, just say so in the comments. Remember, there's no need to post your email address in the comments if you don't want to; I'll PM you first. Here's the detailed explanation of how I use prereader feedback, and here's my standard response to anyone who says that they can't be a good prereader because they aren't a good writer.
The Opposite of Magic · 3:36am
In Chapter 8 of Flash Fog I made reference to “the opposite of magic” when referring to instances when the Main 6 are acting contrary to their respective Elements of Harmony. You might have thought that this was simply a joke that pointed out how Twilight’s Element is a rather unintuitive choice for a component of harmony. If this is the case, congratulations: that’s exactly what it was intended to be.
However, writing that joke also reminded me of how the way I interpret the show influences the choices I make when developing stories. You see, according to my headcanon,* there is such a thing as “the opposite of magic,” and furthermore, it doesn’t require the massive suspension of disbelief that something like the premise of Petriculture requires.
First, let’s look at the etymology of the word “magic.” It is derived from the word “Magus,” which refers to a sect of Zoroastrian priests who were renowned for their learning, as well as their supposed skills at astrology and manipulating the supernatural. (The wise men mentioned in the New Testament accounts of Christ’s birth belonged to this sect.) Thus, it’s not too much of a stretch to define “magic” as “things that the Magi know.” The second thing to keep in mind is that words have their meanings and connotations change all of the time. “Nice” is a particularly vexing example of this, as it’s had so many meanings in the English language that it’s often difficult to figure out if it’s meant to be a compliment or an insult when it’s used in older works.
Thus, the headcanon: The Elements of Harmony were named when they were first discovered, and those names have not changed, even though the language has. Thus, the Element of Magic doesn’t simply refer to the stuff that lets unicorns create glowy auras, grants pegasus the ability to manipulate the weather, and provides earth ponies with their connection to the soil. It actually refers to something much, much broader than that. To put it simply, the Element of Magic would more accurately be called the Element of Knowledge.
If you are wondering how Knowledge is any more appropriate as a component of harmony than Magic, consider how much disharmony is created by ignorance—and it is “ignorance” which I consider to be the “opposite of magic.” Whenever Twilight Sparkle behaves ignorantly (with that ignorance usually being in the form of unfounded assumptions** about other ponies—particularly Celestia), the results tend to be as problematic as when Applejack is dishonest, etc.
The influence this has on my storytelling is usually rather subtle, but there's at least one instance where it's very easy to spot. In Inscape I said that Luna originally wielded the Element of Magic, which is atypical of fanfiction (at least the ones I've read). Presumably, the reason Celestia usually gets Magic is because she's presumed to be a more powerful magic user. However, if you think of the Element of Magic as the Element of Knowledge, it makes perfect sense why Luna would get it, since I also established that Luna was easily the more intelligent of the two.
Anyway, I hope those of you who have read all the way to the end of this found it interesting enough to be worth your while.
* Even though I think it’s extremely clunky and unwieldy, and even though I tend to roll my eyes in irritation whenever I see it, I’m using the word “headcanon” in this post because I can’t think of a better term for the concept myself.
** e.g., Twilight's assumptions about "Princess Cadance" at the wedding don't count, because in that case, her suspicions were justified.
The Petriculture Cycle
When Twilight is taken by the Nightmare, it's up to Pinkie Pie to rescue her.
Trixie returns to Ponyville to challenge Twilight Sparkle. ("Magic Duel" as it occurs in the Petriculture AU.)
Celestia decides to attempt to reform Discord, so she taps a pony with a similar background for the job. ("Keep Calm and Flutter On" as it occurs in the Petriculture AU.)
After Twilight Sparkle made her biggest secret public much earlier than she'd originally planned, the lives of the Element-Bearers and their closest friends somehow managed to become even more complicated than they already were. Yet despite the flurry of all of the added activity this brings, Princess Celestia decides to undertake a particularly ambitious project: the reformation of Discord. She delegates the task to Penumbra Noctis, who, more than anypony else, can empathize with the draconequus' situation, and who is therefore best suited to showing Discord the magic of friendship. On the surface, it's a very reasonable plan.
Unfortunately, Discord has never had much patience for reason.
Artwork by Page Turner.More Less
When Fluttershy received her certification as a fog specialist, she only wanted a plausible excuse to write off the expenses associated with her ground-based house on her taxes. However, when an accident in Cloudsdale sends a blanket of industrial-grade clouds rolling towards Ponyville, Fluttershy suddenly finds herself in charge of coordinating the response, mostly because she's the only fog specialist in the area. Can our heroine step up to the challenge at hoof, or will she risk facing the wrath of the Equestrian Revenue Service?
Artwork by Page Turner.More Less
Life in Ponyville has been relatively quiet recently, which is somewhat surprising, given that the town's librarian tried to usurp the Equestrian throne only a few months ago. Aside from the appearance of a grumpy pegasus who set up shop as a cloudsmith, the aftermath is so unnoticeable that most ponies aren't even aware that the incident happened at all. Unfortunately, all that's about to change, thanks to the return of a certain revenge-obsessed showmare....
Artwork by Page Turner.More Less
It's been twelve years since Applejack's ascent to her current status as the Earth Goddess, Princess Mara of Equestria. In that time, she's gotten quite used to her duties, be they ceremonial, executive, or judicial in nature. But when she's called upon to rule on a particularly contentious lawsuit involving some of the most obnoxious ponies from her past, the results may end up altering the very nature of Equestrian law.
This story is a spin-off of Blue Print's Appleverse, however, it's not necessary to read his stories first (though I do recommend them for a more thorough explanation of the backstory).More Less
It's been several months since Pinkie Pie made a stunning admission about her past that permanently changed her relationship with her friends, particularly Twilight Sparkle, but life seems to have settled back to normal (well, normal by Pinkie Pie's standards, at least). However, when an old nemesis returns and ensnares Twilight in her influence, it's up to Pinkie to make things right.
This is the second story in The Petriculture Cycle.
Cover image by Page Turner; "Princess Twilight" vector by Nianara.More Less
Today's the day that Applejack is leaving to compete in the Equestria Rodeo, but something's... off. Derpy's been acting strange, even by her usual standards. Eh, it's probably nothing, right? After all, what are the chances that an eccentric mailpony behaving even more oddly than normal could ever be important in the grand scheme of things?
Artwork by ZuTheSkunk.More Less
After reading a book by Spitfire's personal trainer, Rainbow Dash decides that the best way to get closer to her ultimate goal of joining the Wonderbolts is to add strength training to her practices by having one of her friends ride her. However, when she decides that Twilight Sparkle is just the mare for the job, the pegasus gets a bit more than she bargained for.
Artwork by Piggybank12. Used with permission. Thanks to DPV111 for assisting me with story planning.More Less
In an effort to keep her mind occupied, Twilight Sparkle decides to delve once again into the grand mysteries of Pinkie Pie. This time, Twilight's focus is on her claims of growing up on a rock farm: like so many things related to Pinkie Pie, the idea that somepony could grow rocks as an agricultural product makes absolutely no sense. However, the investigation eventually leads Twilight to a rather... surprising discovery.
This is the first story in The Petriculture Cycle.
Artwork by Page Turner. Now with a TV Tropes page.More Less