Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Catalogging Fandom Tropes

At MFF I plan to give a panel on furry writing tropes, cliches, being aware of them, and how to utilize them in your writing. To do that though, I need a list of as many tropes unique to anthropomorphic fiction as possible. This is not a value judgment, these things are not being criticized, merely acknowledged as A Thing that appears in furry lit time and again.

What I’m looking for is mainly big-picture setting/plot/characterization or other narrative element, how the world works and how species works and society handles it, than writing style or other physiological quirk. Also I’m looking for things only found inside the fandom, or in anthro works outside the fandom, so universal tropes need not apply.

Here’s the list thusfar:

-Evolution did it
-Humans Did it (slaves for sex/war/labor, or scientists playing god)
-Wizards did it (Fantasy equiv of Humans did it)
-God Did It (Fantasy)
-Anthros are Aliens
-The Secret Lives of Animals (Lion King, et)

Anthros exist in secret.

A Post-human world.

Furries oppressed by humans or in constant conflict with humans.
–Main human protagonist likes anthros and falls in love with one.

Anthros used as allegory for
-Oppression or bias against marginalized groups

All animal species are anthro (and what they eat is a mystery).
On the other extreme, both anthro and non-sentient versions of the same animal exist.
If birds or reptiles are anthro, typically all mammals are too; rarely are non-mammals the sole anthro species.

All hybrids are first-generation.

-Equals personality type
-Equals racial group (Or racial stereotype)
-Equals morality (Mice good, Rats bad)
-Some species are simply better, or more desirable, than others

Predator/prey dynamic is very relevant.

No change to lifestyle or world despite various different physiology, such as aquatic, aboreal, or burrowing species being anthro.

Every female goes into (nigh uncontrollable, all-consuming) heat, even species that don’t have heat cycles.

“X species are sluts”
“X species are gay”

Anthros are more intuned with nature and care more about the enviornment.
ANthros are more sexually open and accommodating.

Footwear is never mentioned or worn.

Fur is easy to maintain and perfect. Except when the magic Dryer is mentioned then that does it. (I’d kind of extend, everyone is pretty and beautiful to this.)

All species are familiar with every other species, especially nude and aroused. (There’s a few stories I’ve read where it was the whole X species has never met a X species in his/her life but they have quirky perfect sex. I.e. feline with barbs pitches anal to a virgin = best sex ever!)

Scents and smell only brought up for erotic context.

Sex fluids and fur mix well and are easily cleaned (if at all. Lee is really gross about that).

Ergonomics and most things seem one species fits all. How do antlered species wear shirts? Tails! Are they through the pants or over them?


[ul][li]Furries “just happened;” who cares why?[/li]
[li]People spontaneously self-evolve into furries if they want it hard enough.[/li]
[li]Furry as memetic or literal plague.[/li][/ul]


[ul][li]Furries have no impact on the broader world. It looks like the human one.[/li]
[li]Furries can convert non-furries, but there’s no “cure” for furry.[/li]
[li]Nobody ever wants to be cured of furry.[/li]
[li]Conversely, the story will be about the one furry who wants to be cured and reluctantly gets dragged into everything.[/li]
[li]Humans? What are those?[/li]
[li]Humans? Legend tells us about those.[/li]
[li]Humans? They’re so charmingly awkward![/li]
[li]Humans either hate or secretly love furries.[/li]
[li]Furries are inherently more spiritual than humans.[/li][/ul]


[ul][li]“My custom species exists to ensure that gay sex is the predominant form of copulation.”[/li]
[li]Gay sex is the norm (as distinct from being normal, which it totally is.)[/li]
[li]Everyone is gay unless proven otherwise.[/li]
[li]Everyone is ready to go at a moment’s notice.[/li]
[li]Gay subs love crossdressing.[/li]
[li]Gay subs are exhibitionists.[/li]
[li]Gay subs never switch, and if they try they do it badly.[/li][/ul]


Are these unique to furry lit?

This list feels very one sided. The FWG wants to provide for more broader audiances. I’m feel some of these are just options rather than general consensus. We need to drive to a more positive atmosphere, including all sexual preferences.

Scents should be used through all parts of writing just not part.

Sorry for triple posting. I just feel this list should be carefully considered. Furry writing is still a young form of literature and there are both sexual and non-sexual aspects that need to be on the list.

General breakdowns of types:

 True Feral: No to very limited human like movement. Animals walk on all fours. Don't speak like humans. Uses body language and some sounds. Very limited vocal ranges. Very little knowledge of human ideologies.

Cartoon Ferals: walk on hind legs. Talks to human as if it's normal. Has 100% human knowledge and understanding.

Anthro: full human intellect and language capibilities. May have paws or human like hands. May or may not wear clothing. Has enhanced features like better strength, speed, smell, so on compared to humans. They mostly walk like humans but some have to move differently due to body types. Must be mindful of appendages.

Gijinka: 99% human with limited animal traits. Very common in anime. Slightly different expressions are possible with ears and tails, the only furry parts.

As for other troupes, we have Tobe careful to not paint furry I to a corner. It is a constant evolving genre. We don’t want all foxes to be horn dog sluts. We don’t want every furry is really gay. There are many straight or bisexual furries. All I’m saying is let’s not just paint it all black and white.

The purpose of this list, or at least, what I’m asking about right now, is not a master list of all tropes ever. I am specifically asking for things for a panel I am conducting, the point of which is to make writers aware of the prevalent tropes and then what they can do about those things in their writing.

But even a master list of all tropes ever is not intended to shape the genre, it is merely acknowledging Things That Keep Appearing. Simply writing down what people have a habit of doing isn’t reinforcing it, or encouraging it, or denying it, or shaming it, it is merely an acknowledgement that it appears in lit with some frequency. TV Tropes was not created to shape behavior of creators.

Let me point at a universal trope to show what I mean: Narrator looks in mirror in order to describe themselves. That is not a value judgment. It isn’t pointing it out to shame people, nor is it encouraging them to repeat it, merely that it is a habit writers fall into. Yes, there is advice to avoid this thing because of its prevalence, but that is beside the point that a list of tropes is made. But, making authors aware of the prevalence of a thing likely has the effect of them avoiding it, because they see that it is overused; an editor of Heat has made two lists of tropes they are very tired of seeing submitted.

“Foxes are sluts” is a meme that exists and persists, whether or not it’s on a list that says it exists. Nor will any list convince authors they must do it. But it is disingenuous to pretend that it does not exist, nor is it the place of anyone to try and control the direction of furry lit by hiding information. However, I have no illusions that this thread will somehow shape the genre.

So, perhaps I’m misunderstanding the purpose of the catalog. These are very common tropes in furry writing from what I’ve read, whether or not they’re positive. As I understood it, the point of the list was to say “hey, these are common pitfalls into which furry writing often falls so you can watch out for it in your writing.” I did my best to aim towards that goal. If I’ve misunderstood either the purpose of the list or the goals of the exercise, my deepest apologies. My point isn’t to pick on any particular author or group of people, merely to highlight common tendencies in the fandom that I’ve seen.

The problem with cataloging tropes is that, eventually, you will find every possible scenario that could ever be conceived among the list. I don’t promote or denounce such a thing, just think that, ultimately, it serves no point.

Besides, most of what I see in the list aren’t tropes, necessarily, but just symptoms of bad furry writing, as I don’t often see them in good writing. For example, ‘furry world looks like a human one’ could be a trope, I tend to see it a lot and it’s understandable, our worlds have to relate to our readers after all, but, ‘nobody wants to be cured of furry’ (why?) and ‘no cure for furry’ are often more the result of wish fulfillment, and/or lack of effort to imagine anything to the contrary. I guess what I’m saying is, tropes can be seen in both good and bad stories, but much of this is a just a checklist for the bad ones. I suppose you could call it “tropes of bad writing” but then you would need to change the title of this thread.