I saw a link to the Furry Witer’s Guild in the Fur Affinity Forums. I don’t have a lot of experience with prose—at least, outside of screenwriting—since I am mostly a poet.
Alas, I don’t have a lot of experience with anthro writing, but through my screenwriting experience, I have had a bountiful amount of practice with dialogue and character development. Most of my existing poetic work is not furry specific; however, I have been able to make it apply to anthropomorphic settings with ease and some of, while written from the perspective of anthro characters, can apply just as well to plain ol’, boring, human life.
I am here to get better writing stories and poems containing anthropomorphic characters; any advice that is specific to furry writing will be more than welcome!
Anyway, here is a bit of poetry that I am particularly proud of:
Morning Breath Kisses
that morning breath kisses,
on which shreds of last night’s beef
and the taste of sour milk still float,
Thank you! The poetry bits aside, I am starting to practice more prose written in a standard in standard short story/novel format. I wrote a couple of short stories a long time ago for a creative writing class I took in high school; it may have been a high school class but it was also dual credit, so I got some college/university credits for it as well.
Most of my story driven creative writing works have been in screen play format. The fundamentals are the same—at least, as far as story and characters are concerned—but there is a heavier emphasis on “show-don’t-tell” as it is a format that is literally intended to be shown on screen rather than read aloud and pictured in the mind.
However, the biggest difference is simply the formatting of the text: every set of actions in a screenplay (outside the realm of dialogue) is best written in 1–3 succinct sentences that only describe visual details which are key to the story. minor details are best left to the discretion of the director, the actors, and the creative leads. In a short story/novel format, on the other hand, you can get away with being more descriptive of actions and environments. You don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) describe every individual blade of grass, but you want to paint a more vivid picture of what everything looks like for your readers than you do with a screenplay. That is someone else’s job in the process of making a film; you want to give your creative partners enough freedom to interpret your writing and put it on camera.
Also, also, also! Dialogue is always an action. When a character says something, they usually shouldn’t be saying it for the sake of the audience. The primary function of a character speaking is to show something about their personality. The character should have a motive when they speak; the only motive that the author should have is to show something about the character.
If one character says to another, “I have problems with anxiety,” the author’s intent should not be to tell the audience that the speaking character has anxiety; the author’s intent should be something more along the lines of showing something about the relationship between the two characters through the action of speaking those words (e.g. showing that the speaking character trusts the listening character enough to confess their anxiety problems and/or to show that the listening character doesn’t care enough about the speaking character to help them).
I also have a lot of experience with business writing. Specifically, I am good at writing step-by-step processes used to accomplish complex tasks with a variety of digital tools; I worked at a place the predominantly hired adults on the autism spectrum.
One thing I learned from that is that it is best to break from traditional grammar and punctuation conventions if they make your intentions more confusing—ate least, as long as you are consistent in establishing a new convention in your work. Take the following variations on the same sentence:
[ol][li]In the “post reply” area of the webpage, in the first row of text formatting options, which are found below the words “message icon,” click on the drop-down arrow button next to “font size.”[/li]
[li]In the “Post reply” area of the webpage, in the first row of text formatting options—which are found below the words “Message icon:”—click on the drop-down arrow button next to “Font Size”.[/li][/ol]
The first sentence—while correct by traditional grammar standards—can be a bit more difficult for the reader to follow, especially if they are on the autism spectrum as it leaves more room for interpretation of what they are looking for. They need to think to look for the capital versions for ‘p,’ ‘m,’ ‘f,’ and ‘s’ when the words within the quotes. They may, also, look for the exact text “message icon,” (with the comma) and the exact text “font size.” (with the period) on their first time looking skimming through the page—they won’t find either.
The second sentence—while incorrect by traditional grammar standards—is precise about exactly what the reader is supposed to look for on the webpage. Precision was key for me when writing for that audience; some employees found it easy to interpret the intentions of the author on their own when the text wan’t exact, others were able to do so only after looking for the exact first (so, the lack of precision would slow down their work, and cause a minor loss of productivity), still others would spend 3 or 4 minutes looking for the exact text, get frustrated that they couldn’t find it, and then go ask someone if it was okay for them to click on something that didn’t look exactly the same as they expected, causing a major loss of productivity.
I had to write my words in a way that would be clear to everyone, so I would write the exact text they should look for in the quotes—maintaining the exact capitalization and punctuation from the source—and I moved any other punctuation (i.e. punctuation that was only there for the sake of structuring the sentence as opposed to punctuation that they would find on a webpage or piece of software I was telling them how to use).