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Furry Stories aren't as good as non-furry?

So I was reading a couple older writer threads, and I noticed a couple of users repeatedly saying that furry stories are usually pretty generic and repetitive, and that some furry comic artists should work with non-furry writers for better stories. Is there any validity in this? I do notice that a lot of self-published furry stories are either about sexuality or outcasts, and I guess that's where the repetitive part comes in, but what differentiates a furry writer from a non-furry writer?
I've been writing since elementary school, and I just signed as an english major in college, and I've started my first furry project this year. Most of my stuff was inspired by successful animal stories (such as Redwall or Warrior Cats), but none of my previous writings dealt with what we thing of modern furry stuff. I thought coming into this that it would be the same as writing with human characters, but with character species as an extra twist. What can I do to not end up as a generic furry writer? My writings are not intentionally catering towards the furry fandom, but to a general audience of whoever wants to read it. I don't if other artists split up their audiences like that or anything.
 
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Sylox

boi...chill out!
Uhh...I guess make your writing stand out. If you don't want to write porn, you better write something that captivates the audience because porn is what sells in the community. For instance, I write macro stories, which have a very generic formula, so I have to make my writing stand out in order to separate myself from others.
 
Is furry writing a genre of its own? My stuff doesn't include any serious adult situations, or anything exclusive to the fandom. Imagine pulling a random book out of a library, and making all the characters anthros without changing the story, would that still be considered furry writing?
I actually started my story before joining the fandom, so I don't know jack about the culture here >.< I just wanted to write with anthro characters, like Redwall cause I really liked that as a kid. I figured FA could help sort things out, but I'm just more confused after coming here XD
 
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I think I should rephrase the question as what is a furry story, and what isn't a furry story? Because what I would like to see is a just a unique, good story that can be applicable to either humans or anthros. But some people around here have been pointing out there's a difference between a furry and non-furry book.
 
A

Amiir

Guest
It depends on what you mean by furry story. A story with anthro characters in it? Look man, anthros in the end are pretty much humans with an animal head, so treat them as such. The only difference in ''furry'' and ''non-furry'' books (God what a cringeworthy, unnecessary distinction) is in the characters' appearance. As for the rest, they're just like us

And rjbartrop is right. Just write what YOU want and see how it goes
 

Charrio

Artistic Mouse
It depends on what you mean by furry story. A story with anthro characters in it? Look man, anthros in the end are pretty much humans with an animal head, so treat them as such. The only difference in ''furry'' and ''non-furry'' books (God what a cringeworthy, unnecessary distinction) is in the characters' appearance. As for the rest, they're just like us

And rjbartrop is right. Just write what YOU want and see how it goes

Actually you should account for their senses and sight hindrance or advantage as well as scent.
Otherwise it's just a human story with the odd furry term added.

Also the way they live should be accounted for, underground dens, or nests, or any such normal
animal additions add a lot to the anthro mindset of the writing

Example:

He ran after his prey, the scent strong of fear and the waning strength of his quarry. The trill of
the run gave TenKlaw added speed as the sounds of brush breaking ahead told of the fleeing rabbit.
The soft earth packed from rain and wildlife traversing the forest, felt good under his paws. The scents
of numerous animals that lived in the area was strong but TenKlaw wanted that thief and focused on
the one scent, the fleeing bandit before him and he would have him.


Forgive the errors there it's on the top of my head stuff.
The point is to add the abilities and world view an anthro would have, because it would be drastically
different with fur to cook a burger over a fire or using paint.
 
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Actually you should account for their senses and sight hindrance or advantage as well as scent.
Otherwise it's just a human story with the odd furry term added.

Also the way they live should be accounted for, underground dens, or nests, or any such normal
animal additions add a lot to the anthro mindset of the writing

Example:

He ran after his prey, the scent strong of fear and the waning strength of his quarry. The trill of
the run gave TenKlaw added speed as the sounds of brush breaking ahead told of the fleeing rabbit.
The soft earth packed from rain and wildlife traversing the forest, felt good under his paws. The scents
of numerous animals that lived in the area was strong but TenKlaw wanted that thief and focused on
the one scent, the fleeing bandit before him and he would have him.


Forgive the errors there it's on the top of my head stuff.
The point is to add the abilities and world view an anthro would have, because it would be drastically
different with fur to cook a burger over a fire or using paint.

Very good points here. Thank you.
 

Sylox

boi...chill out!
Damn, you sure are descriptive Charrio. If there is one thing I struggle with it's being descriptive. I've gotten better, but I have a long way to be that good.
 

Charrio

Artistic Mouse
Damn, you sure are descriptive Charrio. If there is one thing I struggle with it's being descriptive. I've gotten better, but I have a long way to be that good.

*Blushes*
I don't know what to say other then, thank you
I'm sure you will keep writing and get better and better.

I have to keep telling myself, one word at a time, like walking
just one word at a time adds to a complete work. Even if you
take breaks, that one word pushes forward. I get stuck and
frustrated but try again or add to it as it can be refined or
edited. But here the drive is to keep adding to that pile one
figurative pebble at a time.

Link me a story I'd like to read it.
 

Conker

Destroyer of Nazi Teddy Bears
I think the fact that you're already worrying about it is a good sign. The problem isn't so much with furry writing but with fiction in general. When you hit genre fiction, you get a lot of generic writing, overused tropes, and general low quality. It comes with the turf of writing for groups with low standards. I can count more shit fantasy books than good ones that I've read. Part of that's on me for picking up bad books, but I'll still kick publishing houses some blame for putting bad books on store shelves.

I still love the fantasy genre though. I enjoy writing it too. My first novel has both anthro characters AND is fantasy. I think i've done the genre proud, but so far I haven't been able to land an agent. So maybe not.

The biggest thing to ask yourself is: Why are your characters anthropomorphic? Does the story NEED it? Does the world they inhabit it NEED it? If yes, then you're on your way to something that won't come off as generic furry garbage. Most furry stories I've read were, "Here's a generic plot but the twist is they're all talking animal people." It's like when a boring person wears a fedora because he thinks it'll give him a personality. It doesn't. It's just a gimmick.

The only recommendation I can give is to avoid calling hands paws. If they function like hands--thumbs with fingers--then they are hands.

Any of you guys studying English? Like I wonder how many authors/writers actually go through English courses XD
I have a bachelor's of science in it.
 
The biggest thing to ask yourself is: Why are your characters anthropomorphic? Does the story NEED it? Does the world they inhabit it NEED it? If yes, then you're on your way to something that won't come off as generic furry garbage. Most furry stories I've read were, "Here's a generic plot but the twist is they're all talking animal people." It's like when a boring person wears a fedora because he thinks it'll give him a personality. It doesn't. It's just a gimmick.

I know what you mean, but I'm not sure how to implement that outside of a fantasy world >.< But the fact that there are different species plays into the plot a lot, so even though the world doesn't need it, it's part of the focus. I wrote the story in response to all the racial tensions in America recently (I live in one of the big protest cities), but I didn't want to use human races because it seems too soon, so I depicted the characters based on species. However, no one species is representative of any human race (it's more about social class than race), it's just to bring light to some of the inner issues.
 

Conker

Destroyer of Nazi Teddy Bears
I know what you mean, but I'm not sure how to implement that outside of a fantasy world >.< But the fact that there are different species plays into the plot a lot, so even though the world doesn't need it, it's part of the focus. I wrote the story in response to all the racial tensions in America recently (I live in one of the big protest cities), but I didn't want to use human races because it seems too soon, so I depicted the characters based on species. However, no one species is representative of any human race (it's more about social class than race), it's just to bring light to some of the inner issues.
And there you have it. You're actually using the aesthetic for a specific purpose. You have a legit story reason to do so. Congrats, you are not writing generic furry wank material.

Now, stop stressing over this and enjoy the ride that is writing a first draft. It's damn fun :)
 

GamingGal

Member
Now, stop stressing over this and enjoy the ride that is writing a first draft. It's damn fun :)

^^^^
This.

Writing should be fun. Sure, being conscious of what you're writing and your style and your audience and all that stuff is good, but there is a such thing as being overly conscious. You can smother an idea with worry, ya know. I've done that more times than I can count. Write the story and enjoy it. Once you've finished and are ready to start the rewrite is when you should start worrying about the nitty gritty details :3
 

Plash

New Member
I haven't had the chance to introduce myself properly yet (hi, Plash, how ya doing) but I wanted to jump on to this thread as I think you raise an interesting point. People have already gotten the core idea across in the thread, but I thought I'd add my two cents anyway.

To my eyes, the difference between a furry writer and a non-furry writer is the way in which you use the animals in your writing. If you're writing a story with anthro animals because you really like anthro animals, I'd argue that makes you a furry writer. If you're using anthro animals to serve some other purpose in your story, like Maus, or Watership Down, I'd argue you're a non-furry writer. Because the talking animals are just a means to a greater end.

Since this is my first post I'm going to clarify that I think furry art is great. It's imaginative, it's diverse and the technical quality of what amounts to a niche interest is stunning. But it's also the case that a lot of art with anthro animals- not all, but a good chunk- is kind of gratuitous and lacking in deep or profound meaning. The animals exist in promotion of themselves: because the artist or the audience thinks furry art is rad and wants to see a humanoid wolf or fox or axolotl or what have you. And that's great! It's fun to explore your interests and create interesting characters, and people can and do put astonishing amounts of passion into furry artwork. However, at the same time, it's not hard to see why people might see that work as shallow, gratuitous, fetishistic or lacking in greater artistic merit: because it has no wider meaning beyond 'furry characters are cool/interesting/sexy'. Not, I stress, that that makes it worthless.

In his graphic novel Maus, Art Spiegelman uses a diverse cast of animals: mice, cats, pigs. But he was using them as both a shorthand for different groups of people (Jews, Nazis and Poles respectively) and a way of distancing us as readers from the nightmare of the Holocaust... rather than out of a desire to see cats in military uniforms. Similarly, a comic like Rudek and the Bear is using animals as a way into Polish military history rather than because the artist is a furry (or if he is, he's keeping a pure love of anthro animals in check in favour of the quite serious story he's ultimately telling.)

Without an underlying motivation for including an anthro animal in a story, I'd argue we're hard-pressed as an audience to understand why that animal is there. Take a comic like Savestate: I happen to really like the art style, the dialogue and the characters: it's a fun little comic to pick up each week. But Kade and Nicole being dogs doesn't really have anything to do with their characters or interests: we don't associate dogs with video games as a hobby, there's not much of their dog-nature that shapes who they are as people. The inclusion of anthro animals doesn't hurt the comic by any means. It just doesn't necessarily improve the core idea, either.

In short, I would argue to use anthro animals effectively in your writing- in a way that wins praise with a mainstream audience rather than just a furry one- there has to be a strong reason for you to do so. Anthropomorphism in literature is ultimately a kind of mask: we use it to either convey something important about the characters or conceal something in favour of the storytelling experience as a whole. Maus' mice and cats, on a superficial level, is about how the Jews were victims and Nazis aggressors during the Second World War. The Lengths portrays British rent boys as having dog's faces to preserve the identities of the people that inspired them and make the comic more palatable to us as readers. When you include an anthro character in your writing, I'd suggest asking yourself a few questions: why am I including this character? What does their animal traits convey about them? What expectations am I trying to reinforce… or subvert? What ideas do an anthro character help me convey?

By having the anthro animal as a means to an end as opposed to an end in itself, you can ensure it has a justified place in your writing.
 
^ This is a very good explanation that I've been trying to apply to writing. However, I feel like by grouping species with a specific class of people may end up inadvertently racist in some sense. In my current story, I've been experimenting with stuff like writing about a police force that's mainly made of dogs (because they're good at tracking), and what it's like for a non-canine officer. Another story I've written dealt with a school conflict between domestic species (dogs and cats), and "wild" species (fox, wildcats, etc.). But I'm still afraid that it might strike a chord with real life situations and that people might associate my characters with real life groups, which I've been trying to avoid.
 

Plash

New Member
/\ Thanks, I actually did a massive chunk of research into anthropomorphism a while back. It's a fascinating artistic technique.

But to return to your post, I suppose it ultimately depends on the associations you feel your work throws up. Animals being racist has certainly been a thing that happened at least once: as I understand it the crows in Dumbo are seen as racist stereotypes, both because of the Jim Crow laws being a thing and the way they reinforce stereotypes about how black people are supposed to act. Maybe one way of avoiding this problem is attempting to subvert the expectations we have of each animal group?

There's a great graphic novel called Things to Do in a Retirement Home Trailer Park which portrays the main character as a minotaur: it's autobiographical, and deals with the death of the author's father after a lifetime of smoking. Said minotaur is portrayed as ridiculously buff and powerful, but ironically his physical strength is no good in dealing with any of his problems: his father's declining health, getting arrested, all his new responsibilities… all have to be dealt with through the use of inner strength and endurance. We have an expectation of a character, and it's basically shattered by the end.

It's not necessarily a bad thing if your work strikes a chord with real-life situations: hell, it's what makes stories worth reading. But of course it's worth thinking carefully about what sort of message you're conveying if you feel the animals are acting as pretty explicit stand-ins for real-life social groups. Foxes are interesting animals in that they're both villains and heroes depending on the story: we've got Honest John in Pinocchio, but we also have (Disney's) Robin Hood and Fantastic Mr Fox. In that light, it might be worth emphasising the positive aspects of anthro foxes- like resourcefulness and cunning- rather than treating them purely as thieves or con artists if you're worried about them being used a stick to beat certain people with.

Storytelling and characterisation is naturally far more complex than this post would suggest, but hopefully it's of some small use. Ultimately, though, good nuanced storytelling is about creating balanced characters with a mix of positive and negatives in each one. If you're going to emphasise a negative trait in someone, ask if you're going to qualify that with some other trait/event, or ask yourself why you're painting someone in a bad light… and if you feel it's justified to do so.
 

Nikolinni

Niko Linni
So I was reading a couple older writer threads, and I noticed a couple of users repeatedly saying that furry stories are usually pretty generic and repetitive, and that some furry comic artists should work with non-furry writers for better stories. Is there any validity in this? I do notice that a lot of self-published furry stories are either about sexuality or outcasts, and I guess that's where the repetitive part comes in, but what differentiates a furry writer from a non-furry writer?
I've been writing since elementary school, and I just signed as an english major in college, and I've started my first furry project this year. Most of my stuff was inspired by successful animal stories (such as Redwall or Warrior Cats), but none of my previous writings dealt with what we thing of modern furry stuff. I thought coming into this that it would be the same as writing with human characters, but with character species as an extra twist. What can I do to not end up as a generic furry writer? My writings are not intentionally catering towards the furry fandom, but to a general audience of whoever wants to read it. I don't if other artists split up their audiences like that or anything.

Here, have some advice from CS Lewis: "Even in literature and art, no man who ever bothers about originality will ever be original; whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring two pence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."
 
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