Furry Writers' Guild Forum

What books do you wish you'd written?

This topic has become a new feature over at a blog I follow, Adventures in Children’s Publishing, and I thought it might be fun to bring up here.

There are some books that give me a certain ache when I read them, because in terms of subject matter and theme and genre and quality they’re so much like what I aspire to write and would love to have written. Meredith Ann Pierce’s Firebringer trilogy comes to mind, as well as Clare Bell’s Named series, and I felt the same way when I read Robin McKinley’s Pegasus.

Right now, though, the book I think of first is The One and Only Ivan – not because it won the Newbery this year, but because it deserved it, and told such a beautiful, powerful story with humor and tenderness and simplicity, and from an animal’s point of view. That story broke my heart and put it back together again – more than once – and if I could ever write something half as good, something deep within me will be satisfied.

How about you? What do you wish you’d written – not for the money or the fame or the awards, but because it’s the kind of book you’re striving toward?

I had to think about this for a long time throughout the day. I thought about some of my favorite books, like Watership Down, 1984, et al. But, these were merely books with which I wish to attain some sort of quality parity (hey, I can dream). Writers leave so many pieces of themselves in their work and the color here was too far removed from my own experience to be something I could look at and say, “Ooh, if only I’d thought of that!”

So, then, what? Queer? The Ticket That Exploded? Ha! No, thank you. (And while it’s amusing to think of what a furry version of Naked Lunch would be like, I don’t imagine many people would read it. But, I’m getting sidetracked.)

The only book that came to mind, after I’d exhausted the gauntlet of tangentially-related avenues I couldn’t shoo away, was Gibran’s “The Prophet.” In addition to being some of the most beautiful English ever put to paper, what’s described there is just so true and so central to the human condition. I hesitate to even comment beyond that. But, if I ever managed to produce something in that ballpark, I think I could go peacefully, even if no one else ever saw it.

Neuromancer by William Gibson
The prose is beautiful, the setting masterfully done, and the characters tragic and amazing.
Cyberpunk as it should be.

The Lionboy trilogy, about a boy who can communicate with anything feline. Brilliantly plotted and exciting.

Gonna get a little personal with this one.

I’d honestly say Rikoshi’s Thousand Leaves for the sole reason of the disease he introduces in the story. The symptoms of this were things I was having serious trouble with when I first read this book and it hit so close to home that I was afraid to go near the book for close to six months. I was almost afraid to read anything else in fear it would be telling me more about my future. I would love to rewrite that stupid disease to one that was a bit different, then go back and time and switch the stories out. Book was good, but did a lot of mental scarring. Still haven’t gotten over it 100% and it’s been three years almost.

Ted Chiang’s “The Lifecycle of Software Objects”:


Just sat down and read that all the way through. OMG. Thanks for posting it.

I have two contenders. Life of Pi would be my ultimate answer, because it’s very close to just about everything I strive for in a work. Every element is handled beautifully, from the periphery details all the way down the radius and into the narrative style that’s at the center of it all.

If I had another one, I’d say Waterways. That damn book made me cry upwards of three times. It had so hard, emotionally.

You know, it’s not quite what this thread is going for, but I really wish I could write music. I’ve been listening to a Pandora radio station I put together seeded with songs that have girl’s names as titles. (Beatles’ “Michelle”, Beach Boys’ “Barbara Anne”, etc.) And it always amazes me how much can be said with a few rhyming words when they’re put to music. I feel like I have to write whole short stories to even touch the meaning in a single line from a song sometimes.

It’s really fabulous, isn’t it? Everything Ted Chiang writes is perfect like that. He hasn’t written a whole lot, but it’s all excellent… well, beyond excellent.

I hadn’t heard of him, but now I’ll be on the lookout!

Incidentally, I totally wish I’d written Otters in Space