Furry Writers' Guild Forum

What Do I Want Out Of The Guild?

Cross-posted from SoFurry.
What do I want out of the Furry Writer’s Guild (FWG)? That seems like a reasonable enough question, given that I am not a member, but have engaged in anthropomorphic writing that I’ve shown to others. So, that makes me Furry and a Writer. As such, I find the the FWG a matter of interest. As a non-member, I write this from the perspective of someone who would like to be one.

I also write this as a developing writer. While I’ve written plenty of documentation over my career and a few papers in school, I would not have described myself as a writer until I started writing this summer, primarily anthro fiction. As a writer, I want to do the best that I can with every piece. I want that best to be better with every piece. I strive for continuous improvement; every piece is an opportunity to practice and to learn from what did or did not go well. My goals are simple: better stories, every time; good stories, as often as possible.

With this in mind, what I want from the FWG is help achieving those goals. Writing is clearly a skill, or a suite of skills. The many structural elements of a story are the products of writing skills: characters, plots, conflicts, settings, dialogue, etc. I can usually tell if I’m doing something that’s ok, but there is nothing like external feedback to help spot errors. In this way, it is not much different from software development or martial arts or playing music. Similarly, I can usually spot a lot of my own mistakes, but I have a hard time telling whether they were big mistakes which significantly impact the enjoyment of the final product (in so much as anyone enjoys a good beating), or small ones which people don’t notice or easily move past (a dodgy line of code, a suboptimal hit, a slightly flat note). The only solution to improving these skills is practice, but that needs to be good practice. Bad practice simply builds bad habits. External guidance helps you stay on good practice.

Back on point, what I want out of the guild is help building my skills so I can write better stories. I think this breaks out into two categories: direct assistance and indirect assistance. Direct Assistance is derived exclusively from guild resources, such as feedback from guild members, the writing-tips chat, etc. Indirect assistance involves non-guild resources; this can take the form of pointers to books on plot structure or self-editing, panels at conventions, or information on writing workshops and courses.

Speaking of panels at conventions, I was able to attend some of the writing track panels at this past MFF. I found several to be quite useful and engaging, and several more to be interesting in places, but unsatisfying in others. Most of these panels were arranged by members of the FWG. So, on one hand, I am very pleased the FWG is organizing these panels, particularly at convnetions which do not have much of an established writing track. On the other hand, I want those panels to be more useful, so that I feel compelled to spend my time in them, or disappointed I when I am unable to attend.

I look at writing panels at cons as falling into two categories: skill development sessions and topic discussions. This is no doubt an artifact of what I experienced at MFF, but I’ll run with it. I look at skill development sessions as highly-structured panels which are led by a small number of panelists to teach writers a skill. The idea with this sort of panel is to provide an introduction to a skill so that the attending writer can get a foundation with which to go home and practice. Topic discussions are a guided group discussion of a topic, such as historical fiction or erotica. These do not need to be highly structured, and the panelists are there to kick things off and keep things moving. The guild can provide both of these things from its membership, and can continue the development and improvement of these events across multiple conventions.

So there you go: I want the guild to help me develop my skills. Where I am in a position to help other writers develop their skills, I would like to do so. If I can do that under the guild’s auspices, so much the better, because that would further what I want out of the guild.

As I develop as a writer, I’m sure my thoughts on what I personally want out of the guild will change (more access to paying markets, better paying anthro markets, more advanced skills development), but as a new author this is what I think the guild can do best for me.

I think a database of lessons on craft, classes, teaching blog posts and resources for improving writing skills would be a huge step in this direction. I’m new, but I’ve been reading back and it sounds like the mentoring system never really flew. But making a lot of how-to stuff available to the membership, either by private drop box, zip download or database would be a huge perk, possibly a membership incentive, and also help with the elevate and improve segment of our mission statement.

If we just amassed the resources and then made them available, I don’t think it would be too much of a chore, either. Not too labor intensive. Some/many of our members may have classes, worksheets, references already from paneling or blogging. I’d be willing to donate the workshop pdf I have to the cause and to volunteer or help with the effort in any way if it’s wanted.

There are a lot of links to various resources on our website (and I’ll be adding more soon; it’s somewhere on my to-do list):

Plus its subpages:

http://furrywritersguild.com/resources-for-writers/self-publishing-resources/ (another one I need to add to soon)

Granted, that’s not the same or as convenient as a simple downloadable file, but there’s a LOT there that’s worth exploring.

There are also the guest posts on our blog:


Again, not quite what you’re talking about, but just wanted to share all these to spread the word that we do have some resources already available. :slight_smile:

I’ve considered trying to put together a free ebook of writing advice/how-to’s/essays from FWG members, but frankly, at the moment it’s hard enough to just get guest blog posts from members, so that doesn’t give me a lot of faith in terms of how labor-intensive such a project would be. Certainly something to consider, though.

Those are all great resources! I agree that there is a lot to look through here. Also I totally get the lack of volunteers/assistance thing, lack of time and too many suggestions from the peanut gallery. :slight_smile:
But if something like the ebook comes to fruition, you can consider me willing to help/work.

Also, I was curious if there’s a system for adding to the resource pages maybe? I know a link to “free downloads” might be an easier way to give access to our existing classes and workbooks. Also, the nanowrimo young writers program hosts a series of fantastic free downloadable novel writing handbooks/workbooks that would be a good one to add, and if I get more coffee into system, I think I can come up with some more once the brain is fully functional.

I will also try to submit some blog posts. Sometimes its easier (and more annoying!) to spout from the sidelines, but I will do my best to provide content when I get caught running my mouth. :smiley: