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The future of furry writing

GraemeLion

Member
Everyone has some modicum of talent in any one particular field, or indeed fields. It's whether one has the committment and staying power through both praise and critique that defines a success.

In this respect, I think we can count ourselves lucky to be a part of such a vibrant community that is more liberal, open and free-thinking than most can ever hope to be.

As PT said, not so much in all aspects. We'd like to think we are, but we have really no differences from a high-school clique in other areas. But for another thread :)
And this is a perfect example of such. The support base and routes/branches made available to us are as good as they can ever be, given the niche status. The health of furry writing lies within the community's structure, as an entity whose members actively seek to support one another. A continuation in seeing through the artistically niche/underground aspect of works, might encourage writers to see it all as an evermore 'common rarity'.

As one very famous man said... "power to the people".

Well, perhaps, but there's a small problem with that. It's easy to offer support to others, but I'm not going to offer a lot of editorial support. I've rewritten people's stuff before, and I don't wish to do that again.

And that's a great problem we have. We don't have a community, really. We have people aligned towards goals that involve writing, but they aren't the same goals, they aren't the same ideas.

The future may indeed be bright, but let's not kid ourselves. We have a long way to go to create a cohesive community that can offer the help you mention.
 

panzergulo

canTANKERous individual
Sorry, Fere, but I agree more with PT and GL here... whatever picture some try to create, furries are egocentric backstabbing a-holes like everybody else. Yeah, it's an exaggeration, yes , I know there are good people among us... but still, my experience says most people are a-holes. And I don't exclude (outclude) myself from "most people". I'm not really that nice person in the end, am I? ;þ

But yeah, it's a discussion of another thread.
 

M. LeRenard

Is not French
bfoxxe said:
over 1,000 copies of Out of Position sold in the first year of publication
Damn. That's pretty impressive, actually, considering the size of the furry market. I suppose it helped that Blotch did the illustrations, but still.
I'm just wondering, though, how many people in the fandom actually consider themselves full-time writers, or the equivalent of (even if they work another job). Because if we're going to talk about making a kind of writing society for the fandom, I should think it would need to be run by professionals. I know on FA, professionals are very much lacking, and those who are here don't really have the time to be president of the Furry Writer's Guild (or whatever you'd want to call it).
Or maybe I'm being elitist by saying that.
 

Altamont

The Bard of the Beasts
I know on FA, professionals are very much lacking, and those who are here don't really have the time to be president of the Furry Writer's Guild (or whatever you'd want to call it).
Or maybe I'm being elitist by saying that.

No, I'd also agree with that as well. I think one issue is that the community of writers in terms if those who are actually aspiring to produce and publish their own work is so...what's the term...

The professionals only know they're professionals due to what I might not be too inaccurate in calling meetings of happenstance. and even then, there's no real organization other than, "Hey, you write well!" "Hey, you do too! small world!"

I know my post-count isn't quite as, er, epic as many of the more experienced FA vets, but I for one consider myself an author who would like to create and share work of the anthropomorphic sub-genre that has real substance to it, work that goes beyond yiffy oneshots or what have you. And, furthermore, I would like to know that that work can be evaluted and supported by a community that knows it salt, so to speak.

People have been talking about forming a Writer's Guild, so to speak, and I actually think that's an excelent idea. Forming a concrete and nurturing community, while admittedly difficult, is something I think that could support th growth of writers and other artists whose professionalism could do really good things for the fandom, and perhaps even for gaining some credit in the non-specalized mrkets as well.

Or am I just crazy?
 

bfoxxe

Sofawolf One
Damn. That's pretty impressive, actually, considering the size of the furry market.

Actually, though we don't collect extensive metrics on our traffic (someday), the ratio of totally new accounts to pre-existing accounts suggested to us a higher level of external (or at least new) purchasing than other novels by Kyell. It did after all win a juried mainstream romance award (albeit a first year one), and I think a lot came in from that.

Waterway has also been very popular outside of the fandom, as best we can tell. Kyell's sales rankings on Amazon.com (for at least one of his titles, I forget which one offhand) is also in the realm of what is considered fairly decent for an off-list genre writer of any stripe.

It's still niche -- it's just where Furry is intersecting with other niches. Which is precisely where the growth potential lies.
 

Kyell

New Member
I have a writer friend who is nameless, but not Kyell, who is intending to write porn to build an audience, and then slowly scale back to general once he's got people interested in his characters. It's a valid tactic.

For the record, my two stories nominated for an Ursa this year have--between them--one solo sex scene. That's it. Nobody seems to be tremendously disappointed by the lack of sex in either. Nor in the new novel, which has much less than previous Argaea books (more deaths than orgasms; I counted).

I'm writing what I enjoy. I didn't PLAN to build an audience through erotica and then branch out; it just happened. I feel tremendously fortunate that there are so many people out there who happen to enjoy what I do. And I have thought about why gay-oriented fiction is more popular in the fandom. My theory (which is mine) is that there is a TON of good straight fantasy out there. Not so much with the gay. I get letters from people who have literally never read another story with a healthy portrayal of a gay relationship. And gay men in general (IN GENERAL) are more tolerant of explicit descriptions of sex.

It's the same with furry in general (so with the gay furry stuff, it's amplified). There's not much good furry writing out there (present company excepted). When supply is limited for something people feel so passionate about, they will be happy to buy it. Look at the other book released by Sofawolf this January, "The Seventh Chakra." No sex, not even romance. But Rikoshi spent a lot of time after his first book came out talking about it to friends and promoting it. That first one was good enough to get people to recommend it to each other, and to line up to buy the second one. I guarantee you that Sofawolf is not publishing that title at a loss, or simply to promote non-sexual writing. They're publishing it because it makes money. And it makes money without sex.

If furry writing does break into the mainstream, it will be with a book that is good enough to capture the mainstream's attention. I don't think that book has been written yet; not within the fandom, at any rate. Certainly if I want to reach beyond the fandom, I'll have to tone down some content. But I've been questioning lately whether I do want to reach beyond the fandom, or at least how much effort I want to put into doing so. The community is growing, and I would rather be reaching a small number of passionate fans than sitting on a shelf with a hundred other mid-list authors who are STILL not making a living off writing. And any movement I'd make to change my books to be more palatable to the mainstream risks diluting what the furry fans enjoy about it; any work I put into the mainstream effort is one less convention I can attend, fewer fans I can meet in person, fewer LJ or FA posts, fewer e-mails I can respond to.

Anyway, this started with a brief response about sex in stories and went on rather too long. But my ears were burning, so I thought I'd chime in. :)
 

Altamont

The Bard of the Beasts
[Everything that Kyell said.]

Anyway, this started with a brief response about sex in stories and went on rather too long. But my ears were burning, so I thought I'd chime in. :)

Now that I can respect :) The industry these days, furry or otherwise, is way too full of sellouts these days; anyone that can write what they love without compromise is a respectable one in my book. And as I stated before, I don't sexuality has any effect whatsoever on the quality of the fiction itself or its ability to penetrate the mainstream. It's just like he said, the book just hasn't been written yet.

But, to plug my previous post while I elaborate on a point, I truly think the organization of some community that goes above an beyond the usuall "Submit and review" format could go a long way in helping realize that one book that is good enough penetrate the mainstream, or at least rovide that author with the validation and recognition that would otherwise be impossble in sucha niche community.

I think that's what I really aspire to see; an environment where fans of anthropomorphism can write what they love but also reach a market large enough to make a living off of it.
 

duroc

Member
I didn't want people to think you're on some gigantic scheme :)

I don't feel like that was ever implied. I may be wrong, but I get the feeling some people might be taking this discussion as a small group of people bashing gay furry fiction(or Kyell Gold in particular), and I don't believe that is the case. I just see different people expressing their views on writing within the fandom.

And unfortunately, as of right now it's an issue of the haves and the have nots. If you want gay fiction(whether it's erotica or not) you are in with the haves. If you are looking for anything else, you're in the have nots(or you just have very little to choose from). I guess for some people in the fandom who are seeking stories with anthropomorphic animals, it's just a bit disheartening to be in with the have nots at this point in time, whether you're a writer or a reader of furry fiction.

And this is coming from someone who has read and purchased gay erotic fiction within the fandom but would also like to see some of the other furry niches represented a bit more.
 

GraemeLion

Member
I don't feel like that was ever implied. I may be wrong, but I get the feeling some people might be taking this discussion as a small group of people bashing gay furry fiction(or Kyell Gold in particular), and I don't believe that is the case. I just see different people expressing their views on writing within the fandom.
.

Unfortunately, I've seen that happen in more than a few discussions. None here, but I'm afraid my defense mechanisms of it might have gone up prematurely and proactively. I felt it was worth saying "not Kyell" as I had previously been mentioning his work as a highly popular writer within the fandom and I wanted to differentiate Kyell from "Graeme's secret friend who has a plan." I've gotten burned in the past by people skimming threads who've combined thoughts like that.

As for the haves vs the have nots, its important to remember that the distinction between the two is all about pushing what you want to see. I think that a big part of "making it" in the furry writing scene is self promotion of yourself and promotion of writers you like. There are a whole host of people who've written over on Anthro, and other places, that haven't done gayfic. Getting them out there and pushing them will help raise awareness.

Ultimately, it comes down to having a good site that makes reading furry items easy. I'm not entirely convinced FA is a good thing for authors.
 

panzergulo

canTANKERous individual
There's not much good furry writing out there (present company excepted).

Why do you except the present company? I think I am included into that company, and I don't consider my writings "good"... maybe "moderately good" or "mediocre"... but not "good".

Alright, my quirkiness aside... I agree with the statement and talking about it and other issues are the reason why I think this thread is so great. I might not take my writings too seriously... sure, it's nice getting better at something I like doing and it's nice to get a new reader now and then... but publishing, for example... nah, I won't ever become a published author... but still, improving the whole image of furry writing community would help me too. While I might not ever be part of any "furry writers' guild" or whatever, just making people more aware about furry writing and showing it can have quality too is of at least indirect interest to me. I honestly think the issues furry writers have are inside the fandom, that is, we don't get much recognition or support... and these are more important than furry going mainstream or furry writing getting published in mainstream or anything else. Just making furries more aware about different kinds of furry writing would be a good thing. How that is achieved and how difficult or easy it will be, that I do not know.

It would be great to see actually something happening. Furry fandom isn't that large, and writers inside the fandom are even smaller group... if you had only a couple people who would be interested to invest some time and effort, there could actually be something real created. I'm not aware how long these conversations have been on, and this might be just one more thread in a long string of threads dealing about "future of furry writing", "image of furry writing", "furry writing going mainstream" or "quality of furry writing"... and "furry writers' guild" or any equivalent of it.

So, is there somebody who has a crystal clear idea what this "furry writers' guild" should be and who would be willing to invest time and effort to something that would be more or less charity work? Talking about things is a one thing, but action (or at least good plans) would be something totally else.

Just saying, the conversation in this thread has gone from one side to the opposite side, there has been sub-conversations and all knowledge and opinions are all over the place. So, if there is somebody who wants to create something real, I would be interested to see what it would be and what would be its goals. All in all, from this thread, I get only this very vague picture of "doing something good for furry fiction and its writers". Does it mean helping people get their stuff published? Does it mean creating awareness of furry writing in general? Does it mean helping furry writers improve with their writings? Making readers and writers meet? Making audience and writing meet? Promoting written material of all types? Creating more publications and pushing more material on the markets?

Ultimately, it comes down to having a good site that makes reading furry items easy. I'm not entirely convinced FA is a good thing for authors.

Creating a good site for writers and readers?

Also, GL, agreed. I'm on FA only because it's currently the biggest furry art site. And it might be the best, too. But it doesn't mean it's good... just better than any other site...

Hope anything of this makes sense. It's getting late here in Finland and I read through this thread and got million ideas at once... I'm looking forward to read what has been said during my night.
 

GraemeLion

Member
Oh, I think FA is exceptional for visual art. I think it's lacking for written works, though. I think it doesn't help people find good authors.

If I want to find good visual artists, I can watch the front page for a week and favorite what I like.

If I want to find good authors, I have to go around and find them. Oftentimes, that means finding them in another manner and then coming back to their FA page.

The writing guild is a great idea, but it would have to offer something that would point authors to each other, and readers to authors. Or, at very least, it would have to leverage something that does. At this point in time, I don't think we have that. I think it's very ad hoc.
 

Altamont

The Bard of the Beasts
Oh, I think FA is exceptional for visual art. I think it's lacking for written works, though. I think it doesn't help people find good authors.

If I want to find good visual artists, I can watch the front page for a week and favorite what I like.

If I want to find good authors, I have to go around and find them. Oftentimes, that means finding them in another manner and then coming back to their FA page.

The writing guild is a great idea, but it would have to offer something that would point authors to each other, and readers to authors. Or, at very least, it would have to leverage something that does. At this point in time, I don't think we have that. I think it's very ad hoc.

Ad hoc is the perfect way to describe it, for sure. And i've already been trying to brainstorm something, anything we could do.

I was thinking of starting simple, you know, like another sticky in this thread or something like that that builds on the foundations of everything we've been talking about, an then we could build upon that.

Just ideas obviously; I hae nether the influence nor the admin power to set that in motion by myself. But still...ideas...
 

AshleyAshes

Arcade Snowmew Of Doom
My writing could never be mainstream. It's a contemporary American world populated by talking animals for no other real reason than 'Cause I think it's cool'. It could work as visual media, a comic book or animation but that's becaues the 'furry' angle gives it novelty. In writing that same novelty isn't there, it's just a world of talking dogs and cats that might as well be talking humans.
 

M. LeRenard

Is not French
panzergulo said:
Just making furries more aware about different kinds of furry writing would be a good thing.
Well, keep in mind that getting even one author who has a distinct connection with the fandom into the mainstream would be one good way to accomplish that. What better way to promote furry writing than to get a really good furry author a poster in a Barnes and Noble, or, one can only hope, on television?
Poetigress said:
Which gets far less use than I'd hoped for when I started it, I might add...
Haaa... I'm trying to be less guilty. I've posted at least a few times in that thread. It's the first thing I think of whenever I read something really good on the main site.
But, you know. That's just coming back to the old problem this thread has been discussing.

Anyway, it kind of sounds to me like we might want some web-savvy person with a lot of time on his hands to start up a Yerf for writers, and then promote the bejeezus out of it. And get people to judge the submissions. It's probably harder and more time-consuming than judging art, but as long as you keep the entry-level submission word-limit to a reasonable minimum, I think it's doable.
But again, which philanthropist for the fandom wants to take that on, again? We can discuss possibilities all week, but until we get someone willing to actually sacrifice and go through with them....
 

Duality Jack

Feeling Loki with it.
labeling yourself as a "furry writer" is a self limiting action and kind of damaging to you having publishing potential


Just sayin
 

Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
labeling yourself as a "furry writer" is a self limiting action and kind of damaging to you having publishing potential

Um, no, not really. I consider myself a "furry writer." I also could call myself a soft sf writer, a fantasy writer, an erotica writer, a poet, and a children's/YA writer. That doesn't mean, however, that I don't occasionally write things that combine some of those designations or fall entirely outside them. I can see where perhaps having one label might present a problem in terms of being self-limiting, but unless you're calling yourself a "furry writer" in your query letter to a publisher, I really doubt it's going to make any difference in terms of "publishing potential."
 

Duality Jack

Feeling Loki with it.
Um, no, not really. I consider myself a "furry writer." I also could call myself a soft sf writer, a fantasy writer, an erotica writer, a poet, and a children's/YA writer. That doesn't mean, however, that I don't occasionally write things that combine some of those designations or fall entirely outside them. I can see where perhaps having one label might present a problem in terms of being self-limiting, but unless you're calling yourself a "furry writer" in your query letter to a publisher, I really doubt it's going to make any difference in terms of "publishing potential."
then you are not the norm of who adapt the "Title" so to speak,
 

Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
Well, keep in mind that getting even one author who has a distinct connection with the fandom into the mainstream would be one good way to accomplish that.

Incidentally, the route was kind of backwards (she wrote the books and then found out about the fandom), but don't forget about Clare Bell. She's a professionally-published author of several (excellent) novels who has been to furry conventions and, what's more, isn't afraid to use the word "furry" in conjunction with her work and its promotion on Twitter, her blog, etc. Unfortunately, she doesn't update her FA page all that often, so she doesn't have even a quarter of the watchers she deserves there.

Anyway, it kind of sounds to me like we might want some web-savvy person with a lot of time on his hands to start up a Yerf for writers, and then promote the bejeezus out of it. And get people to judge the submissions. It's probably harder and more time-consuming than judging art, but as long as you keep the entry-level submission word-limit to a reasonable minimum, I think it's doable.
But again, which philanthropist for the fandom wants to take that on, again? We can discuss possibilities all week, but until we get someone willing to actually sacrifice and go through with them....

The closest I think we're going to get is Claw & Quill, but again, I don't have an ETA for that, and I can't remember how much judging is going to be happening there. I know there have been 'editors' mentioned who would then release authors to be able to upload freely after a probation period of sorts, but I don't know what criteria are being used beyond obvious spelling/grammar problems and the like. I need to go back to some of Martin's posts and refresh my memory, but then, plans may have changed in the meantime.
 

Poetigress

Panthera tigris libris
then you are not the norm of who adapt the "Title" so to speak,

I just haven't really seen it as a problem. The only people I can think of who are adamant about it are those who already have no intentions of writing outside the fandom anyway, or even writing for publication, so it doesn't seem to hurt them in that regard.
 

Duality Jack

Feeling Loki with it.
I just haven't really seen it as a problem. The only people I can think of who are adamant about it are those who already have no intentions of writing outside the fandom anyway, or even writing for publication, so it doesn't seem to hurt them in that regard.
I am in general against self labeling especially in groups who decide to make a micro-genre into a lifestyle,

I call myself awriter, most who read my stuff (which stays off the net as i am thinking of publishing) call my stuff "surrealist horror" but that does not mean i am a horror writer, just a writer who writes horror more then other things,
 

nybx4life

A training artist
1) achieving penetration into mainstream markets 2) Increasing the quality of the fiction overall and 3) monetizing the market. But it was suggested at these seminars that the fandom create something along the Science Fiction Writer's Guild; a group that sets high standards of craftsmanship and gives people a benchmark. The Ursa awards could provide a benchmark as well, along the lines of Hugo's and Nebula's in the science fiction world, so long as they can shake the image of favoritism. I'm all for some sort of anthro writer's guild; I feel it can only improve the writing craft.

What are your thoughts? Do you see the same issues with respect to furry writing, or different ones?
As I see this, it's all on willingness to participate in this. It might have been mentioned earlier, but people here do have lives, and to create a guild, or group to promote quality writing, to have the (shall I say) best writers there is a good thing. After all, when there is a definite group of writers within this fandom that can continue to write great works it will promote the fandom as a whole. Yet to do that, people have to be willing to take the time.

This comes down mostly to definitions, but I don't think 'furry' fiction will ever become mainstream, because it's not really a genre.
This is hard to see, but many things can become mainstream, even if it is not a genre (of course at this point I do not just mention literature alone, but also fashion, music, and the like). If there are enough fans, and it becomes accepted into the general public, it will come mainstream.
 

duroc

Member
Anyway, it kind of sounds to me like we might want some web-savvy person with a lot of time on his hands to start up a Yerf for writers, and then promote the bejeezus out of it. And get people to judge the submissions. It's probably harder and more time-consuming than judging art, but as long as you keep the entry-level submission word-limit to a reasonable minimum, I think it's doable.
But again, which philanthropist for the fandom wants to take that on, again? We can discuss possibilities all week, but until we get someone willing to actually sacrifice and go through with them....

I don't think an idea like this is ultimately going to come from one person. It's going to be a collaborative effort. Sure, Claw and Quill keeps coming up as a gathering place, and that's probably because no web-savvy people are coming forward. I know I myself am not web-savvy, so maybe getting Watts on board would help in that regard. But it doesn't have to be just a website. It could be a matter of a few people having panels about a writer's guild at some conventions. Maybe talking with several publications within the fandom and see if they're willing to endorse such an idea, similar to how the SFWA has publications that back them. People twittering the idea. Anything really. Just get the word out and see who would be interested. Like PT mentioned with Clare Bell, if someone like Clare would jump on board, it would most definitely add a bit of credibility to such a thing. But in order for something like this to be successful, people are going to have to... you know... do something.
 
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