But I have been thinking about a few of the things I've learned as a writer from this community. So below, I've compiled a short list of a few of the lessons I've picked up from other authors, editors, commenters, and others. Head below the break to see just how much I managed to absorb. Not to mention how much I needed to absorb. There are many more, no doubt, but those are the ones that came immediately to mind when I sat down to type this:
1) "Ought" and "aught" are not simply different spellings of the same word.
2) Outside of America, rules for where punctuation falls in relation to quotation marks are
wrong different nope, definitely wrong and nobody can make me like it.
3) There's no good reason to double-space after a period (but damned if I'm not gonna keep doing it).
4) There is no good way to pluralize pegasus, but on the plus side, there's hardly any way to do it wrong, either (for more details, check the first comment on this post).
5) There's no good reason to put a disclaimer on one's fanfic.
6) Horses and ponies may not have hands, but they do have "toes" (albeit it describes a somewhat different part of the foot than human toes). Actually, just "pony anatomy" period: thanks to the show and its fans, I've picked up fetlock, barrel, croup, and probably a dozen other words that I either didn't know, or which I only had a vague idea the meaning of.
7) "Wyvern" rhymes with "five earn." I've been playing D&D since middle school, and I've always said it wrong!
8) "Whose" and "who's" have two very different meanings. I already had its/it's and their/there/they're down, but for some reason whose/who's is tougher for me, even though it's the same dang thing.
9) There is no agreed-upon way to spell "jeez," and after much research I can confidently say anyone who tells me that my way is incorrect is either misinformed or a liar.
10) A character's thoughts should be put in italics when transcribed.
11) If three or more characters are talking, you need to specify who's speaking pretty much every paragraph. Even with only two characters, going more than a few lines of back-and-forth without a "...so-and-so said" can be hard to follow.
12) Just because the author knows a word doesn't mean that the character in his story does (okay, I knew that one long before ponies, but I've definitely gotten much better at separating author and character vocabulary because of my time in this community, so I'm counting it).
13) More about the history and etymology of "alicorn" than I ever thought I would need to know.
14) When you write a scene and, in editing, you realize it stinks, sometimes you can't just fiddle with it until it's better. Sometimes, the best thing to do is just to cut it. Even if you had a really "clever" joke that you wanted to make--actually, especially then.
15) It's "by and large," not "by in large." That's another one I've been getting wrong for years, and it makes me kind of sad to realize that I was in the same company with people who say "mute point" all that time.
16) It's true that good stories are often overlooked, and bad ones are often praised to the high heavens. But in the end, a single thoughtful comment can do more for an author than a hundred "OMG best storie evar!"s. And if there's one thing I've learned, it's that there are a lot of thoughtful readers in this fandom, and that's something I remain grateful for.