Furry Writers' Guild Forum

Furry Stories beyond the fandom...

I believe that there was a similar thread on the old forums, but I’m really curious what books people have read that they would consider “furry” even if not published from within the fandom.

Three favorites of mine are Andre Norton’s The Breed to Come, Corwainer Smith’s science fiction stories involving “underpeople,” and C. J. Cherryh’s Chanur novels. And I suppose that two things I read early in my reading career that could also be considered furry would be George Orwell’s Animal Farm and C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia

Other books in a similar category on my to-read list includ Watership Down and The Plague Dogs. Tad Williams’s Tailchaser’s Song comes to mind too…

(In the back of my mind, the question of a furry “ghetto” rears its head when I raise this topic. The fact that books like The Breed to Come and Watership Down exist I think suggests that furry writers don’t need to sell themselves short. Or maybe I can phrase things this way: as a furry writer, do you see your work appealing to readers outside of the furry community too? Who is your target reader?)

Back when I managed a book store, I sold some books from Sofawolf/Furplanet in my store. Rikoshi’s Seventh Chakra was actually a decent seller. Had a number of people come back in and tell me how excellent the book was.

I think what turns people off to a large portion of furry fiction is the adult material. I know several non-furs who love fantasy with anthropomorphic characters because they add that extra depth of fantasy to it. However, they don’t want to read about them having sex for 40 pages.

But yeah, it can definitely appeal to a wider market.

A lot of it tends to be for children/teens/young adults, but I always recommend Kirsten Bakis’s brilliant Lives of the Monster Dogs (exactly what it says on the tin). For younger readers, I remember enjoying The Cats of Seroster very much when I was 12-ish. I never got into the Redwall series because I found Matthias so damn annoying in the first book!

I haven’t read it, but The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break got good reviews on release. It’s set in the present day and the Minotaur is working in a diner.

The Redwall series was fantastic. I actually don’t recommend the first book, I’d say to start on Mariel of Redwall. It’s the fourth book he wrote, IIRC, and he had his feet under him and knew what he wanted to do with the world by that point.

I started with Mossflower, and that worked quite well.

Mossflower was actually surprisingly… adult. Like, not sex or anything, but ideas of legal and illegal having nothing to do with right and wrong, whether revenge is justifiable, patricide and attempted fratricide, justifiable rebellion, legitimacy of forms of government, etc.

I started with Martin the Warrior, which I think probably is one of the best, though I don’t know how much of that is bias because of it being my first encounter with the world. I got pretty burnt out on Redwall near the end and haven’t bothered to read the last several books – tried, but it just didn’t work for me anymore. Which was kind of sad, given how much I loved them for many years and thrilled at the chance to meet Jacques in person back in the late '90s.

At any rate, before this just turns into a Redwall thread…

Tons, really, in both adult and children’s fiction, unless maybe you define “furry” as requiring the anthro characters to be bipedal (which narrows things slightly, but there are still lots of examples in sf).

The fact that books like The Breed to Come and Watership Down exist I think suggests that furry writers don't need to sell themselves short.

True. But I think one thing that sets those kinds of works apart from a good amount of what’s written in furry is that the characters have some reason to be anthropomorphic, whereas in furry there can sometimes be a lot of what I sometimes call “fox in Starbucks” stories, where the anthropomorphism adds nothing to the story (please note, also, I’m saying “story” here, not “plot” – if you can make it important to the plot, that’s even better, but there at least has to be something more than just references to ears and tails for me).

Or maybe I can phrase things this way: as a furry writer, do you see your work appealing to readers outside of the furry community too? Who is your target reader?

In short - yes, and it depends. Obviously, I feel the stories I write that have some story-reason for the anthropomorphism (or that feature ‘feral’ characters) have a much better chance of appealing to non-furry readers… although, ironically I sometimes wonder if By Sword and Star has actually gotten more interest outside the fandom than inside it. (Hard to tell for sure, though, and there may be a lot of reasons for that.)

On the other hand, I don’t know that I necessarily have in mind that I’m ever writing just for the fandom – or at least not anymore. (BS&S might have been written strictly with the fandom in mind, but that’s really the main thing I can think of offhand that I wrote that way, and that was several years ago.) These days I try to not be concerned with what the fandom tends to like or want, even when writing for furry markets, because to do otherwise is too soul-sucking, frankly. (Best example right now would be “Huntress,” my novella that’s coming out in January. I figured if we can have furry novels that have few or no female characters, then hey, turnabout’s fair play, and I’ll write something with next to no male characters. Oh, and the 2 male characters are both love interests. So nyah.) :slight_smile:

It’s possible some might take this the wrong way, but I guess lately I tend to think of myself more as a writer who writes things for mainstream audiences that also appeal to a furry audience, where several years ago it might have been the other way around. If that makes any sense. shrug Anyway, when I can aim for both, that’s my ideal. There’s nothing wrong with writing strictly for the fandom, and if you’re lucky enough to be writing what the fandom wants and can then have some success and build a good readership, that’s great – but at the same time, it is a niche audience and therefore a limited one, and I don’t think furry writers should necessarily feel we have to be confined to publishing within it.

And yes, I do think the large amount of adult material in the fandom can be a potential turnoff, and can make it harder to promote furry writing to wider audiences – if only because it plays into that stereotype of furry being strictly a sexual fetish, and then you have that hurdle to get over. But… past experience tells me those are dangerous waters to get into when talking about furry writing, so I’m very hesitant to get into that topic any further.

Hey! I’m also attempting to write a story with a female main character for similar reasons. It worked for the story amazingly, too. Or at least, is working amazingly. It’s also going to have gasp a straight romance! (Thought the story’s genre is not romance).

I feel like a deviant. XD

EDIT: Also, I am a male writer so apparently that means I cannot write good female characters, according to some people on the internet. But I’ll try.

snort Try being a straight female writer in furry. That’s practically the definition of deviant, demographics-wise. :slight_smile:

EDIT: Also, I am a male writer so apparently that means I cannot write good female characters, according to some people on the internet. But I'll try.

Well, make them good characters first and foremost, and that’s always a big step in the right direction. Having more than one female character is also a good idea, because then a) they don’t feel so much like the token female character, and so b) that one character doesn’t have to be seen as representing all women everywhere. (I also recently ran across this, though I haven’t read it to know how helpful it is.)

At any rate, that subject’s at least a whole thread in itself.

I hear you, and while I laughed because the remark is funny, I also feel kind of sad about it. T.T

I am making the character good. Also trying to make her ‘strong,’ which really could mean a lot of things. It’ll be interesting. Thanks for the help :smiley:

While this is a bit off-topic from the initial thread, I think furry writing has more strong female characters than our “young gay male” stereotype sometimes leads us to believe. I noted in my review of the Ursa Major Awards Anthology that the first five stories were all from series and four of them were series featuring female protagonists (Brock Hoagland’s Perissa, Michael Payne’s Cluny, MCA Hogarth’s Alysha Forrest, and Chuck Melville’s Felicia); the older Best in Show anthology has some pretty strong women lurking in its pages, too, as I recall.

(For my part, many of my stories seem to have female protagonists, who I hope are all good characters!)

True – though if memory serves, most of what you’ve mentioned was written in the earlier years of the fandom (or at least the characters were created then). Looking at the majority of what’s currently being published (and, in particular, what’s currently popular), I’d say the “young gay male” stereotype still has some truth in it.

At any rate, to go back to the original post, I’m curious to know others’ thoughts on their target readers, especially.

Oh, good one :slight_smile: (That’s what I mostly write, and I remain unrepentant.)

My reply in another thread has reminded me of Zizou Corder’s Lionboy trilogy (kids’/YA). Set in a near future where the petrol has run out and everyone shops locally and in season, revolves around a boy who can talk to cats and his father’s efforts to come up with a cure for allergies. Highly recommended for adults, or for any youngsters on your Christmas list.

I’m starting to see more and more female writers in the fandom and it makes me happy because I think the male voice is a bit too strong. I know that the hosts of Fangs and Fonts got into a heated debate one afternoon about the way that female writers handle certain situations in a story, and I had to explain that it’s because a female writer will have a better idea of how a female would solve those situations, rather than some male ideal of how they would. (if that makes sense)

My quick item on the topic of female writers:

I’m currently editing for two very clever female writers. The stories and worlds they’ve crafted are ridiculously complex without being confusing and their stories both star very strong female characters. They are both stories I someday would love to help to publication.