Furry Writers' Guild Forum


For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, FürMedia is an online program covering various aspects of the furry fandom. They’ve covered various topics including things like relationships, sexual orientation, and convention horror stories (nothing above PG-13, if that). They’ve also had guests artists and fursuiters on the program. I’ve asked a couple of times if they’ve considered doing an episode about writing and literature, or having a writer guest. For example, yesterday on Facebook, the following exchange took place:
Me: Has FurMedia done a show yet that featured a writer guest, or which in any focused on writing and literature in the fandom?
FurMedia: Not yet; it’s a show we have toyed around with but haven’t figured out a way to execute it while keeping our viewers entertained.

Okay, if I had to guess where they’re coming from, it’s that some topics, including art and fursuits, are “fun” topics, whereas writing has the potential to be as boring as high school language arts class. So let’s think about this. Suppose one of us were invited to be a guest on this or a similar program (because it might happen). How could we present furry writing and literature in a way to make it as fun and interesting as art or fursuiting? I realize we at FWG all know how exciting the world of furry literature is but how do we share that with the 18-25 masses of potential readers?

How is art exciting? That’s what I’d want to ask them. Art is just another creative medium like writing. What makes an art show interesting? They have tools and techniques just like any other creative trade. Or is it just the fact that it’s a visual medium so they can easily show it off on a youtube video?

Trox, that would honestly be my best guess. It’s one of the reasons art sites like FA, Weasyl, etc do so much better than writing sites. They’re visual, easy to take in within a few seconds, and easy to show on video. Though a lot of the creative process is about as exciting as writing, the visual aspect gives it an edge writing doesn’t have >.<

What makes the con stories and relationships and sexual orientation videos “fun”, exactly? What’s the visual component of that?

All I would say is that rather than focus on the actual craft of storytelling, talk about the nature of the fandom’s writing. The state it’s in. Talk about some of the stories out there now. Talk about the FWG. The point of the show is how it relates to the Fandom.

Reech, the funny thing is that I could actually answer each one of those, if not so much funny than at least incredibly entertaining even to those uninvolved >.> Heck, I enjoyed con stories while I was still swearing up and down that I’d never be caught dead in one shrugs

You do make a good point though. There are so so so many in the fandom that have no idea what groups like FWG have to offer, espeically to new aspiring writers. Not to mention podcasts like Fangs and Fonts, that are specifically oriented around writing in the fandom and offers oodles of interesting material. Many don’t even know the whole wide range of stories available by some amazingly talented authors within our own community. It could be very useful to use it more as “Look at all these opportunities you might not even know existed” and less as “Look how a story is written.”

I haven’t seen the show, but if it’s based on an interview format, I don’t see where interviewing a writer would be inherently any less entertaining than interviewing an artist or a fursuiter. Yeah, maybe you wouldn’t have as many B-reel-type visuals to use except for maybe book covers and illustrations, but that’s about the main difference I can see. shrug Sounds like a failure of imagination on the part of the show – more like “we don’t know any interesting writers and/or don’t care about writing, so we figure everybody else is the same way.”

TBF, as many role players and writers as I’d known over the past 10 years, I didn’t really feel like writers had a place in the furry community until my first RF convention. It might be simple ignorance that there’s a strong interest to begin with, even if any of the folks running it might be interested.

I’ll say it, it’s just lazy programming by their part. Clearly they haven’t examine the curious things called books… I’ll drop the sarcasm.

I still am unapologetic, because it is laziness. How can they make it fun for their viewers? Tell me, is it some sort of conspiracy that various furry cons have panels on writing and storytelling? Clearly, these people haven’t heard of it. The one thing I say to everyone is that anyone really can write. Words don’t hold imagination back - if you can imagine fire-breathing dragons, then you can express that in words. I’m paraphrasing yes, but it’s certainly easier to enter to than visual art.

Also, it may be me, but do we have a thread that lists all the resources and stuff available? I think we may. Excuse my ignorance if this is the case.

Just to be clear, FurMedia hasn’t said they won’t do a writing-themed show, so I would ask everyone to assume they may yet decide to. I would also suggest it’s possible they may come visit these forums and read this thread, and if they do, I’d rather they found helpful suggestions rather than off-putting derisive comments.

Consider that for many of the younger 18-25 crowd that seems to make up a majority of the fandom nowadays, writing and literature is not really on their radar of things they enjoy and like to do in furry fandom. If FurMedia comes around on this, can we try to focus on what we might do to turn that around for at least some of the few dozen listeners who tune in for that broadcast?

I’m guessing a number of furries still got the fire lit by books like Redwall and Watership Down, as well as cartoons, long before they were allowed on the internet. My tack would be “hey, you know those books that got you interested in this stuff in the first place? There’s MORE. (And some of it has sex in, if you like that sort of thing.)”

I think Huskyteer has a good angle there.

Hmm, they could also approach writing as part of a broader broadcast on ways to express yourself creatively. If they had an interest in people say, wanting to learn how to draw better so they can express ideas about their characters, they could include writing as one of the ways to do so. The main thing would be to show how writing isn’t something that belongs only to those dusty penguin classics, or set texts you’re forced to read at school. What you’re forced to do at school is not what writing really is. Writing also comes in many formats too - comics, film, videogames - they all use writers as a fundamental part of the piece. Really, the angle I’d suggest is that it is an easy way to be creative.

Nice - and anyone who’s RPed, or written up a character description for an art commission, has dabbled in furry writing.


I can attest to that. I also know countless artists that would consider themselves indebted to anyone anywhere who’s able to teach commissioners how to write descriptions that are thorough yet straight to the point >.>

I think an important question is, are we trying to encourage the viewers to be interested in furry books/reading or interested in writing themselves?

I don’t think that’s an either/or scenario. Having said that, I’d prefer to see the reading aspect prioritized a bit. Our fandom may be relatively small but I think we tend to underestimate how many self-identified furries there are out there – and even if only a relatively small fraction of them read books, I’m pretty sure there’s a lot of them we’re not reaching yet.

Is “yes” a valid answer to the above?

To those who asked, the show is in sort of an interview/talk show format, but there’s a great deal of interactive text-based chat going on with the listeners during the program in which there is more than enough content to keep discussion going.

Most writers start out as readers who one day think, “I could do that too”. Not every reader becomes a writer, just like not every fan of art becomes an artist, but some do. Perhaps many have read Redwall or Watership Down, or even something like Warriors or Animorphs.

Maybe a good approach would be to contrast the two. Art can portray details and “capture a moment” better than the written word could ever hope to. But writing can convey a series of events, character motivations, and change over time in ways that one or a handful of images could never hope to, though these can be achieved in serial art formats such as comics, graphic novels, and animation, and these media require both the story-crafting skills of a writer and the visual portrayal skills of an artist.

In the furry fandom, one thing both writing and art have in common is that there is a lot of crap out there and you have to do a little digging and sorting through it to find the good stuff, though with writing it may take more effort. And maybe beginning writers have more of a tendency than beginning artists to think their work is better than it is, but I’d tell those writers to write anyway, because the only way to get better is to practice and keep doing it. And if you just want to read, there are plenty of really good authors in the fandom, and if you don’t know who they are, talk to any of the publishers in the dealer’s room at most larger furry conventions. If you tell them what you like they’ll be glad to tell you what they have that fits the description. But there’s a long list of classic and SFF literature from mainstream publishers that qualify as furry, much of it predating the existence of furry fandom as we know it.

If something thinks reading is boring drudgery, I’d ask if they have ever once read something that made them forget that and want to keep reading, because you can’t wait to find out what happens next or because you care about what happens to the characters or the world where it happens is full of interesting surprises.

Maybe another angle to bring up - one big thing in the fandom nowadays that I simply don’t get is adoptables, as it seems to me one of the most personal and enjoyable things you could do as a furry fan is to create your fursona. But maybe that’s just my writer thinking at work, since as writers we have to create dozens if not hundreds of characters to populate our stories and as such we’re very much in tune with things like describing our characters (both physically and behaviourally) and how they are changed by events.

One last thought I’ll throw out - a good suggestion to any artist who isn’t sure what to draw is to read a few stories, and when they find one that captivates them, draw something from it. It’s probably a good idea to check with the author first, but 98% of authors would be okay with it, and in fact most of them would be thrilled to have someone drawing pictures of their story. By the way, that goes both ways - I’ve seen stories that were inspired by works of art.

I’d like to see the reading aspect prioritized, too. (I know it’s not an either/or, but they are two different slants.)

I guess, though, what I’m wondering is, when they put on the artists and fursuiters and whatever, is the focus more on what they create, and that medium in the fandom, and their experiences with it, or is it on tips and advice for artists and fursuiters and so on about how to participate in those media and get started with them? Because basically, I’d like to see writing/writers treated the same way and from the same standpoint as the other media – in other words, not presented with a sense of “hey, c’mon, anybody can do this!” if those other media haven’t been presented in a similar light. Writing may be easier to get started with, for various reasons, but it’s just as difficult as art or costuming or anything else to do well.

As a writer, rp’er, and buyer of adopts, I would like to answer one point you brought up. For me, my fursona is me, and there are countless characters running around in my mind that I myself created. However, just as inspiration can be found in artwork, so too can it be found in character design. Would you believe I created an entire planet sparked by one set of adoptables’ design? They weren’t an established species with a background etc, just an original creation that the artist pretty much said “have at” once they were purchased. One of my favorite characters to rp with for a spell was an adoptable, because again, no background or history was given, and it actually challenged my mind to go in directions it normally didn’t. Not to mention how many adoptables I’ve used as random extras, a few of which grew into characters in their own right. I even have a fairytale-like story floating around in my noggin’ that was sparked by the design of a couple of other adopts. And of course, when the ideas come flying within moments of laying eyes on an adopt, there’s the instant gratification of getting a pretty piece of work- or in some cases a ref sheet- with a character that more or less demands to exist.

So, yeah, that’s what it is for me at least.

That’s a good way of approaching it, I think.

The problem with writing is it’s not something you can showcase at the time. You can send a link to a picture or display it on video or show someone a gallery and it’s very easy to take in a visual style straight away. Writing takes a greater investment of time for people to experience, and unfortunately a lot of sites are designed to increase exposure to as many different kinds of art or medium as possible, and it deflects your attention . Tumblr’s a great example of this. Likes and reblogs are instant ways of showing and sharing appreciation, but long text posts tend to have far fewer notes than a piece of art; I know specifically times when I’ve wanted to read something but I’ve seen how long it is and marked it to come back later, and then haven’t. It doesn’t make me well-equipped to discuss whatever-it-was, as much as I’d like to. I know there are amazing stories out there that I really want to experience, but especially when people are engaged in their own art, putting aside time like that to fully digest a book can be a big ask for people in that age range.

A discussion of furry literature as a whole would be an excellent way to start: classics/staples of the fandom, then similar titles, differences and similarities, what (if any) conventions there are in furry writing, etc. I think it’d be an awesome show, and it wouldn’t have to get too laborious. But again, from the hosts’ point of view, if they’re not big readers, it takes a lot of researching. It’d be worth it to anyone who writes even casually, but will probably take some more encouragement.