Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Con panel mulling

I am in the very last day of opportunity to submit a con panel idea for condition furry in London, held at the end of this month and wanted to throw an idea up in the air to see if anybody has any suggestions or experience with this similar topic. My outline (at the moment) for the programming listing is:

“Where do you get your ideas from?”
-The hardest question for any writer to ask is the one of the most commonly pondered. Join an open-table discussion exploring the different ways in which inspiration strikes and how to bottle that lightening when it does. Bring your questions, opinions, frustrations, and most of all, an open mind.
Be aware that adult writing topics are not the focus of this panel but may be discussed.

I want to look at what sorts of ways a story can first be inspired, how we sort good ideas from bad ones and the process by which we decide what’s good or bad. Or at least that’s some of the guiding subtopics for the panel. I’m more than willing to have the conversation go in other directions.

Any of you seasoned panelists out there have any tips?

Two points:
First - Unless Condition has grown quite largely since I was last there 3 years ago, I’d be wary about a panel that’s heavy on audience participation. Without the audience, you may be missing a key part of your panel. That said, getting inspiration doesn’t necessarily have to only be about writing, artists and musicians and others all need inspiration. But small con usually means small audience, especially with a con that’s not known for writing panels.

Second - Inspiration is a weird topic for authors along with others. “Where do you get your inspiration?” is generally a question people ask the greats because they’re not bothering to find out what drives themselves to pursue their craft. Before asking someone where they get their inspiration, first find what inspires you to write. That said, if it’s a round table like you make it sound and other people talking about their own methods, then that would be more productive than one person saying “I do this, I do that” when those may only work for you and no one else.

Either way, I’m sure if you pick a topic that’s simple (because you’ll want to attract more people with it) and something you’re confident about speaking about, you’ll knock it out of the park.
Tigrox Two Cents

If you need other topic ideas, we had a thread on that a while back:


As far as “where do you get your ideas,” I’d pretty much agree with what Ocean said. And the trick, really, isn’t getting ideas, it’s developing them into actual concepts with characters and plot, so maybe there’d be a way to work that in as well…?

Also since I think you’re trying to start a writing track at the con that hasn’t had anything before, although Rechan’s thread is about topics you don’t see too often, the classics are still good ones for attracting people and showing others that there is a writing presence at this con.

So the good oldies:

  • Writing 101
  • Writers block
  • Mary Sues
  • World Building
  • Getting published
  • Writing Furry

I wouldn’t rule out getting the input of artists or musicians or fursuit makers as to what causes an idea to pop into their heads and flourish. Their opinions would be equally valuable if they happen to show up.
Second, I’m seeking to address WHY inspiration is a weird topic and why people find it hard figuring out individually what it is that inspires them to start or continue a story, probably because in some cases it comes from some place very personal. I do want to talk about how the kinds of media people consume influence what we think about, which might be a good spring board. Something brought everyone into the furry community, so we know about being driven to find new interested. I also want to talk about real-life issues at home or abroad and other stimulus that we either in incorporate or disregard depending on what serves us creatively. Knowing what inspires you to write is, I agree, an essential hinge on which to guide the discussion so I’d want to go into that.

On your point, Poetigress, if I go forward with this (I’m mulling over another idea in the world building vein), I’d definitely delve into how a writer finds ways to take the sparks to the forge and creates a story out of a concept tickling the back of the brain. I’m interested in knowing what helps people choose what to run with and what to pass on, though it would be a difficult avenue to go down.

Fortunately I’ve got a few hours yet to figure out if this works. I’m not really sold on this, might pick the world building topic as an alternative. I feeling have to go with something far-ranging as I might be the only writing gig in town.

Any other suggestions anyone has would be most appreciated:)

I’m actually going to be hosting a World Building panel at RivFur in Brisbane next month, with a similar sort of thing at FurDu next year too.

Hoping to be able to go through world building techniques, and then applying it in the panel to create a basic world with my audience. I’m thinking it should be a lot of fun, so if you think you’ll have the audience for it, feel free to do something similar.

You got me all excited for a moment there :’(

A minor but reasonably well-known SF author of the 1960’s and 70’s used to famously claim that he got his ideas from gnomes. He’d leave pizza, beer, a pen and paper on the kitchen table, go to bed, and wake up to find the offerings gone and a stack of new story ideas in tiny handwriting. I don’t recall the author’s name, but wish I did. At any rate this story became far more famous than anything he actually wrote, and I’ve found that if you don’t bring it up first someone in the room almost certainly will.

In all seriousness… I’ve given this panel a few times and it’s not an easy one. Two ideas I heard in my youth are to write your own name longhand on a piece of paper over and over again-- to remind you of childhood and bring your mind back to a childish state. Another idea from the same source is to visit a toy store and just wander the aisles a while. My own fave method is to simply take a long drive to nowhere in particular. The secrets to success, in my opinion, are a strong “hook” to get the group involved, and then frequent questions from the facilitator to the group. You may wander off topic more that way, but a good time will be had by all and this is, after all, a furcon.

I envy you your trip overseas! And nice to see you here!