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Furry Writers' Guild

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Supporting, informing, elevating, and promoting quality anthropomorphic fiction and its creators.
Updated: 4 hours 40 min ago

Status of Non-members in the FWG

Fri 26 Jul 2019 - 03:49

It has come to our attention that an old misconception regarding the Furry Writers’ Guild is still prevalent in the furry writing community at large, that being the belief that only full FWG members may use FWG spaces and resources. We would like to quell that misconception now.

To be clear: FWG SPACES ARE OPEN TO ALL FURRY WRITERS, REGARDLESS OF MEMBERSHIP STATUS.

The main difference between a member and a non-member (or “future member” as we call them) is that only full members have the privilege to nominate and vote in the Coyotl Awards. When it comes to using the various FWG-branded spaces, there is no difference between members and non-members whatsoever. So long as a person is a furry writer of good conduct, they are welcome to use our chats and resources as much as they desire.

If anyone should make a claim to the contrary, please take a moment to correct them, or direct them to this statement.

 

Thank you,

 

The FWG Staff

Categories: News

FWG Forums and Future Plans

Wed 26 Jun 2019 - 02:50

As most of you are now aware, we began having a technical issue with persons being unable to access the FWG forums. It is thought that this stemmed from the host’s firewall wrongly banning certain IP addresses. It was found that some could regain access by clearing their browser cache, however, some members still find themselves locked out even after attempting this.

As it stands, the old FWG forums are no longer functional and will have to be abandoned. While this is an inconvenience, the fact is that the forums were already on borrowed time. Come November, we were going to lose hosting for them and, owing to their outdated architecture, they cannot simply be moved elsewhere.

The FWG staff had been discussing this next phase, but these recent problems have forced us to advance the timetable. We would like you, the FWG membership, to share your thoughts on this transition. Do we attempt to recreate the forums from scratch? Although they had been declining in usage for years, they still had utility as a sort of database. Would something more stripped-down suffice for our purposes? Or should we forgo them altogether? Let us know.

Categories: News

New President & VP

Wed 8 May 2019 - 13:00

This post is to announce my securing of the Furry Writers’ Guild presidency, a role which I will assume beginning next month. For those unaware, I am Dwale, a longtime FWG moderator and “Coffeehouse Chat” host. I have roughly fifteen years of moderator experience, with about five years particular to the FWG. The Furry Writers’ Guild and its mission statement are important parts of my life and have been for many years now. There is little I would not do for the Guild.

Our vice president will be Mr. Miles Reaver, who says:

I have been part of the FWG since early December of 2016 and in this time the Guild has treated me well. I have been the moderator of the FWG Telegram chat for 3 years as well as part of the Dead Furry Society.

Some of you may know my writing, some of you may not. I’ve met some amazing and inspiring people in this place, full of spirit and ideas, knowledge and drive. I am proud to be a member of the FWG and I want to do as much for it as it has done for me. To educate writers, promote workshops, publishers and their works, and to create a space where furry writers can improve their craft.

Along with Dwale as President, we will do our best to make a long-lasting improvement and make the guild a place that writers can call home.

Chipotle has volunteered to stay on as treasurer and technical adviser. Trale, to our regret, will be leaving at the end of his term. We wish him the best and a happy road ahead.

We do have tentative plans to move the Guild forward, something about which you’ll be hearing more in the weeks and months to come. It is our intention to administrate according to precedent, with transparency, so that the Guild will remain the welcoming and constructive community it has always been. Stay tuned.

Categories: News

The Furry Writers’ Guild and Politics

Thu 18 Apr 2019 - 13:00

There have been some accusations of the FWG being “too political” which we would like to address.

The FWG is not, and never has been, a political organization. As much as practical, we prohibit discussions of politics in FWG-branded spaces; as a group, we take no political stances, advocate no ideologies.

But the FWG is also an inclusive organization. Our members come from all over the world, from all walks of life, across many spectrums. The furry fandom is diverse, and so is our community of writers. We’re proud of this diversity. We consider it one of furry’s greatest assets, and one of the FWG’s. As our Code of Conduct states,

The FWG welcomes and supports all backgrounds and identities. This includes, but is not limited to, participants of any age, experience level, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, ability/disability, gender identity and expression, sexual identity and expression, or level and type of participation in the furry fandom.

This means there are times we do have to take stands. The Code of Conduct expressly prohibits harassment, including the advocation of hateful ideologies. We oppose—and will take action against—any such behavior. We will not accommodate hate speech, for doing so is no defense of free speech. Instead it silences the speech of others. We cannot and will not turn a blind eye to bigotry, however artfully coded. If you are someone who would denigrate or demean another person based on ethnicity, nationality, religion, sexuality, gender, disability, or lack of means, the FWG is no place for you.

If this opposition to bigotry makes you feel unwelcome, then we trust you know where to find the door.

Categories: News

FWG Blog – April 2019

Mon 1 Apr 2019 - 12:00

 

It’s April! We’re not joking about all the accomplishments that are happening in this post.

 

Guild Newsroom

If you missed them, check out our recent spotlights on members Frances Pauli and Leilani Wilson! If you have a recent or upcoming release, or a project you really want to talk about (and you haven’t been a Member Spotlight before, message our Bat Veep, @tralekast on Twitter), to be considered).

Attention, all members on Twitter! When making posts about your writing, be sure to use the hashtag #furrywriting so that we can keep up with your work and share it with the world!

 

Member Highlights

Some highlights from last month, as featured from our FWG Member News section on the forums:

  • Michael H. Payne‘s poem “The Protest: Ant Work Ethic”, which appeared in vol. 3 of Civilized Beasts, has been nominated for a Rhysling Award, which are given out annually by the SFPA.
  • James L. Steele has released Dangerous Experiments, the second book in his Archeon Series.
  • Madison Keller‘s short story, “The Widehorn Herd”, has been accepted to ROAR vol. 10. Also related to that anthology, Madison will be the new editor of ROAR moving forward.
  • Jaden Drackus has had a story accepted to “Foxers or Friefs”, and anthology to be published by Armoured Fox Press. They’ve also been accepted to attend RAWR in June.
  • Miriam “Camio” Curzon has a paper that will getting published through the new LGBT magazine at Brown University. They’ve also been accepted to attend RAWR in June.
  • Alison “Cybera” Cybe has had stories accepted in the “Even Furries Hate Nazis” and “Movie Monsters” anthologies. They’ve also been interviewed by AwooNews for their series, “Realms of Valeron”. Lastly, they’ve been selected to edit a new anthology by Thurston Howl Publications, “Trans-fur-mation: Tales from Transgender Furry Voices”. See our Marketplace section for details.
  • S. Park has had two short stories accepted—one to the “Even Furries Hate Nazis” anthology, as well as another into the “Burnt Fur” anthology from Blood Bound Books.

 

Our usual reminder to all our member that have had something exciting happen in the past month not featured here: be sure to keep up with your FWG Member News thread on the forums! Not only is this how we get our information, but these threads are able to be viewed by any person logged into the forums. Share your achievements with the rest of the writing community!

 

The Marketplace

For those of you looking to submit, keep an eye on the open markets on our website. For those of you who just forget, The Marketplace is your reminder for all things open for submissions!

Short Story Markets:

Publisher Title Theme Deadline Pay Zooscape  Zooscape Zine General furry Fiction Ongoing $0.06/word (maximum $60) Thurston Howl Publications Trick or Treat: A Furry BDSM Anthology Furry erotica featuring BDSM May 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications The Haunted Den: Furry Ghost Stories Furry ghost stories June 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications Give Yourself a Hand Furry erotica featuring masturbation June 15th $0.0050/word plus one copy of the anthology Thurston Howl Publications Pawradiso: The Ten Spheres of Furry Heaven furry stories based around the spheres of Heaven (in reference to Paradiso) July 15th One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Furplanet The Reclamation Project Furry stories in a shared, post-cataclysmic future August 31st $0.0050/word plus one copy of the anthology Thurston Howl Publications Trans-fur-mation Furry stories with strong trans pride themes November 1st $20.00 plus one copy of the anthology

FANG Vol. 10 will be updated on our paying markets page shortly, once the theme has been announced. We can tell you, however, that submissions will open on May 1st, 2019.

 

Novel Markets:

  • Thurston Howl Publications is open to novel/novella submissions, with no planned date for submissions to close.

 

Special Events and Announcements

While most of these are the same announcements as last month, we feel that they are still relevant and should be repeated.

Goal Publications/Fanged Fiction has announced that they will be opening for novel/novella/Pocket Shot submissions on July 1st, 2019. Look forward to that!

Australian publisher Jaffa Books has announced that they will be closing their doors at the end of 2019. Thank you to Jay for all you’ve done with it, and we hope this gives you a chance to work more on your writing!

ROAR editor Mary E. Lowd has announced that, after finishing up the current volume, she will be handing the reigns off to Madison Keller. Thank you Mary for doing such a great job with the anthology, and we look forward to seeing what Madison brings to the table.

FANG editor Ashe Valisca has decided to hand the project to Sparf, who will be assisted by Kyell Gold. Thank you, Ashe, for your hard work with this series, and we wish the best of luck to the new editors.

 

Wrap-up

Our forums are open to all writers, not just full members of the FWG. Check them out here and join in on the conversation. While you’re there, check out how to join our Slack and Telegram channels. Before joining any of these, though, we ask that you please read up on our Code of Conduct! With all the negative going around in the world these days, both furry and non-furry, we want to make sure the guild feels like a safe place to all its participants, free of threats and hate speech.

We have two weekly chats, called our Coffeehouse Chats! Our first one is Tuesday at 7:00pm EST in our Slack channel, and our other is Thursdays at Noon EST on our forums in the shoutbox on the main page. Both of these chats feature writers talking about writing, usually with a central topic. As with the above, these chats are open to both members and non-members, though you must be registered for the forums.

Categories: News

Member Spotlight: Leilani Wilson

Thu 28 Mar 2019 - 17:01

On the cusp of her first novel release, we get a chance to sit down with Leilani Wilson and talk about her writing.

 

Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?

Symphony of Shifting Tides has been cooking for a long time! Like, a decade! It was originally going to be a video game. I’m actually glad it ended up being a book instead, though. The story ultimately works much, much better this way!

My inspirations come from strange places. I’ll freely admit that basically none of the inspirations were literary for me—at least at the outset. I grew up playing a lot of classic JRPGs, and the way that they told stories changed drastically over the span of about 15-20 years. I always found it interesting the way that the genre’s stories got stranger and stranger as time went on. The stark difference between Dragon Quest (1) and say, Kingdom Hearts (as a series) is very big. The worldbuilding is often very finely crafted in some of these longer series that share a world. The amount of planning these scenario writers do is ridiculous.

I think there are expectations when it comes to the genre about what the games contain, but often those preconceptions point towards the much older games that were about simple good and evil. Anymore, things have become a lot more complex and nuanced. These are the same stories that inspired Undertale and Deltarune, after all.

Some of these stories have a lot to say about religion, politics and philosophy, as well as non-linear storytelling. Stuff like in the Xenoblade series, and its predecessors Xenogears and Xenosaga. Then there’s behemoths like Suikoden and Trails in the Sky! Those are all the types that inspired me. I tried to hit the sweet spot between ridiculous amounts of lore like those, and more straight-forward stories like in Grandia or Wild Arms.

What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between? How do you find that this helps and/or hurts your writing style?

I’m almost entirely a pantser. My process is completely sideways, though. With Symphony of Shifting Tides in particular, I actually composed the soundtrack to the book first. I wanted to let the music guide the story, and what that created was actually a huge mess. Don’t know if I’d recommend that creation process!

That said, it did make for a bit of an entertainingly unorthodox trajectory for the story and its characters. I used the music for all my locations and major plot points, and pantsed the gaps. It’s a bumpy ride for the first draft, and at times will lead to spots where you know your destination but have no idea about how on earth you’re going to get there. It definitely has some drawbacks, but it feels like reading the story while writing it.

What’s your favorite kind of story to write?

I like stories about people dealing with their emotions. I love a good setting and I love complex world-building, but I can’t enjoy it without the characters. I like to write about characters who would be side-characters in any other story. I like to focus on people who aren’t heroes. Morally gray stuff is typically my jam.

Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?

When it comes to Symphony of Shifting Tides, there’s a lot of me in all five of the characters who end up sticking together (eventually). I’d have to say I probably I identify with Cecelia and Verse the most.

Cecelia is very much how I was when I was her age, and Verse grapples with depression and anxiety the way myself and many others do. None of these characters have the normal dispositions of ‘heroes’ I guess, but that’s honestly their appeal to me. All of them are doing the best they can to get by, and so are all of us.

 

Which authors or books have most influenced your work?

It’ll sound cliché, but George R.R. Martin made me want to actually try my hand at writing. Around the time I was realizing that making a game wasn’t going to work out, I was reading his work. One thing lead to another, and that was that. I wouldn’t say my writing resembles his in any way, shape, or form, but he’s who inspired me to start.

 

What’s the last book you read that you really loved?

Queen of Arts by Frances Pauli! The characters in it are really well-written, and that’s what made me fall in love with it. I ended up genuinely wanting them to do well and be happy, which is a sign of really well done characters!

 

Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

I try to keep busy with anything I can get my hands on. Currently, that’s a circle track car, and working on various video game soundtracks and albums.

 

Advice for other writers?

Write. Don’t continually revise your first chapter over and over again. Don’t get stuck in the trap of worldbuilding and never writing. Don’t just make settings, make characters. Don’t talk about writing, just write. Everything will absolutely fall into place in the long run. Trust yourself.

 

Where can readers find your work?

Symphony of Shifting Tides is for sale through Goal Publications! The rest of the series will eventually be available through Goal as well, as well as the albums that accompany each book!

 

What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry?

I guess I’ve always loved animal characters from a young age. I like the idea of using these types of characters to tell stories for adults and not just children. I think there’s so much that can be done with furry characters! Whether you’re using their type of animal to talk about the personality type of a character, or as an allegory for something much larger, I think it’s an important tool most writers don’t consider.

There’s a lot to be said for the differences between us and our animal counterparts. Through furry literature, we can find the commonplace between all living creatures. Plus, let’s face it. Animals are (almost always) adorable and really cool in general. Humans can be both things, too, but not as often.

The fandom is a very welcoming and friendly place, and I’ve felt at home in and around it since I first started meeting other furries! As soon as I found out there were a lot of other furry authors, I jumped in headfirst!

Categories: News

Member Spotlight: Frances Pauli

Sat 16 Mar 2019 - 07:39

This feature, we get the opportunity to talk with Frances Pauli a bit about her writing and process.

 

Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?

I just finished a novel in a new series called Serpentia. The first book, Disbanded, is about a snake architect who believes he’s destined for great things but who is held back by his society’s caste system. The book features snakes and their rodent companions, and the series will explore a lot of issues surrounding the concepts of destiny, free will, social equality and personal rights.

I suppose it was inspired by my own interest in reptiles as well as some personal choices and lifestyle changes I’ve made recently. A lot of my stories have explored the idea of diet ever since I’ve stopped eating animal products, but even before that the idea of an all animal society trying to work out who is food and who is friend has been something that fascinates me.  In Serpentia, mice and snakes have a somewhat symbiotic relationship that is peaceful on the exterior, but very problematic at its core.

 

What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between? How do you find that this helps and/or hurts your writing style?

I love this question. When it comes up I usually call myself a “reformed pantser”, and then have to explain, of course.

I’m definitely not a heavy outliner, and I began writing as a total seat-of-the-pants, no idea where this is going to take me, exploratory writer. However, a few years and a few books into the process I got very interested in plot structure and dramatic pacing, did a lot of research on plot points and audience expectations, and figured out that I’d be wise to incorporate all of the above into my process.

So nowadays I do a bare bones bit of planning that usually involves sorting out where my major plot points will be, but also leaving a lot of room to move about freely in between. That way I have guide posts along the way, and I always know what big scene I’m writing toward, but it doesn’t feel suffocating either.

I admire in-depth outliners a great deal, but if I try that (and I have), my process usually shuts down pretty fast.

 

What’s your favorite kind of story to write?

Animal stories! Oh, wait. I suppose that’s too general in this company. But of course I had a lot of books written before I worked out that furry literature was a thing, so between those stories and my fuzzy books, I definitely prefer writing animal-centric.

Within furry writing my favorite stories to write are about justice or equality, stories that might explore some of our shadows as a society and then bring those things into the light or remedy them, at least on the page. I like heroic underdogs and quirky sidekicks and a little humor in the mix. And even though I can wander into the dark end of things from time to time, my background in the romance genre has made me pretty attached to that happy ending.

I want to feel good at the end of a book, even if I cried a little along the way.

 

Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?

Stella Rose from Queen of Arts is probably the closest I’ve ever coming to writing an autobiographical character. I wish I could claim someone more exciting or heroic, but writing Stella was more than a little therapeutic. She’s the quintessential “mama bear,” maybe a little too concerned with her friends’ lives and very protective of them, but also creative, insecure, and a domestic violence survivor. And she’s feeling her age. All very much like her greymuzzle author.

 

What has most influenced your work? Is an author, a title, or something else?

I think the things I’ve read over the years, primarily classic sci-fi and fantasy, but also humor and romance, classics, non-fiction…all the variety of input consumed sort of rolls together to influence a writer. Combine that with life experience, trials, things we survive and things we endure and the end result is what pours out onto the page.

Individual authors I hope influenced me are Andre Norton, who will always be my favorite, Tanith Lee, Patricia McKillip, and more recently, Christopher Moore.

It’s no surprise that my earliest reading was all animal related. Jack London, The Black Stallion, Wind in the Willows. We circle back to our beginnings eventually.

 

What’s the last book you read that you really loved?

I adored Signal by Renee Carter Hall. I’m currently reading Daniel Potter’s Marking Territory and I love most everything about his writing and that universe.

 

Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

I like to spend as much time as I can with my kiddos, who are getting old enough to want mom to back off and let them get back to their video games. I also crochet, play around with visual art, build fursuits and their assorted parts, and keep way too many pets, including a new rosy boa breeding project that has my house filling up with snake terrariums.

 

Advice for other writers?

So many things. Never give up. Take all advice seriously but only use what works for you, keep writing even if it’s not good yet or you can’t see how good it is yet. But mostly, I say, don’t forget that this is supposed to be fun. Write because you enjoy it, and then remember to keep enjoying it.

 

Where can readers find your work?

My website can get you to almost everything I have available. I also post some furry things on SF and FA as Mamma Bear. I’ve been honored to have some stories published in furry anthologies from various publishers, and I try to post those as they go live on my Facebook page or in my newsletter.

 

What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry?

Can I say everything? I love this fandom. I love how open-minded we are and how accepting and most of all how much we embrace fun and joyful play. I’ve met people from all walks who have found support, encouragement and family in the furry world.

But why write furry? Well, I think furry literature has a glorious history of great stories that goes back longer than most people realize. I want to contribute to that magnificent body of works called “animal stories” and I want to help spread awareness of the genre and enthusiasm for furry books in the wider world of genre fiction. All of that sounds great, but in truth, I write furry stories because it makes me smile, and it keeps me coming back to the keyboard without dragging my feet. It brings me joy.

 

 

 

Categories: News

FWG Blog – March 2019

Fri 1 Mar 2019 - 13:59

It’s March. Things certainly happen in March, we are sure of it!

 

Guild Newsroom

If you missed it, check out our recent spotlights on members Mary E. Lowd and Gre7g Luterman! Our next spotlights will appear at the middle and end of March, and feature Frances Pauli and Leilani Wilson respectively.

Attention, all members on Twitter! When making posts about your writing, be sure to use the hashtag #furrywriting so that we can keep up with your work and share it with the world!

 

Member Highlights

Some highlights from last month, as featured from our FWG Member News section on the forums:

  • Amy Clare Fontaine has started writing short, text-based Twine games on itch.io. The most recent one is called “Cassandra the Wolf Princess“.
  • From Mary E. Lowd comes “When He Stopped Crying“, a short story published by Electric Spec. In addition, she’s written an essay about her creative method in this story, as well as other things useful to writers.

A little light on news this month!

Our usual reminder to all our member that have had something exciting happen in the past month not featured here: be sure to keep up with you Member News thread on the forums! Not only is this how we get our information, but these threads are able to be viewed by any person logged into the forums. Share your achievements with the rest of the writing community!

 

The Marketplace

For those of you looking to submit, keep an eye on the open markets on our website. For those of you who just forget, The Marketplace is your reminder for all things open for submissions!

 

Short Story Markets:

Publisher Title Theme Deadline Pay Zooscape Zooscape Zine General furry Fiction Ongoing $0.06/word (maximum $60) Thurston Howl Publications Sensory De-tails Furry stories relating to strong animal senses April 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications Trick or Treat: A Furry BDSM Anthology Furry erotica featuring BDSM May 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications The Haunted Den: Furry Ghost Stories Furry ghost stories June 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications Give Yourself a Hand Furry erotica featuring masturbation June 15th $0.0050/word plus one copy of the anthology Thurston Howl Publications Pawradiso: The Ten Spheres of Furry Heaven furry stories based around the spheres of Heaven (in reference to Paradiso) July 15th One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Furplanet The Reclamation Project Furry stories in a shared, post-cataclysmic future August 31st $0.0050/word plus one copy of the anthology

 

Novel Markets:

  • Thurston Howl Publications is open to novel/novella submissions, with no planned date for submissions to close.

 

Special Events and Announcements

Goal Publications/Fanged Fiction has announced that they will be opening for novel/novella/Pocket Shot submissions on July 1st, 2019. Look forward to that!

Australian publisher Jaffa Books has announced that they will be closing their doors at the end of 2019. Thank you to Jay for all you’ve done with it, and we hope this gives you a chance to work more on your writing!

ROAR editor Mary E. Lowd has announced that, after finishing up the current volume, she will be handing the reigns off to Madison Keller. Thank you Mary for doing such a great job with the anthology, and we look forward to seeing what Madison brings to the table.

 

Wrap-up

Our forums are open to all writers, not just full members of the FWG. Check them out here and join in on the conversation. While you’re there, check out how to join our Slack and Telegram channels. Before joining any of these, though, we ask that you please read up on our Code of Conduct! With all the negative going around in the world these days, both furry and non-furry, we want to make sure the guild feels like a safe place to all its participants, free of threats and hate speech.

We have two weekly chats, called our Coffeehouse Chats! Our first one is Tuesday at 7:00pm EST in our Slack channel, and our other is Thursdays at Noon EST on our forums in the shoutbox on the main page. Both of these chats feature writers talking about writing, usually with a central topic. As with the above, these chats are open to both members and non-members, though you must be registered for the forums.

Categories: News

Member Spotlight: Gre7g Luterman

Wed 27 Feb 2019 - 10:02

Gre7g Luterman is an author with Thurston Howl Publications that’s been writing since the late 70s. We get a chance to speak with him a bit about his writing.

 

Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?

I just had two books come out this past month: Fair Trade which is the conclusion to the Kanti Cycle trilogy, and Reaper’s Lottery which is my first SciFi murder mystery. The mystery has been an incredibly challenging project and I spent two years bringing it from conception to conclusion, finally publishing the seventh version of the story, if you can believe that!

Science fiction is a wonderful thing to write. You take our known universe and tweak one little thing or set up a scenario we aren’t familiar with and then follow the changes through, seeing how it affects each aspect of the characters’ lives. If the krakun tricked the geroo into working as their slaves, how would that impact the geroo’s religious beliefs? If the geroo live on a spaceship where the number of crew isn’t allowed to increase, would that lead to euthanasia and a lottery for selecting who gets to be parents next? If there was never an unwanted pregnancy, how would that change the culture?

And then taking this to the next step of making it a murder mystery, you get to ask questions like, With so much inequity, who would be pushed to murder? Why would they kill? Who would they kill? And what would they hope to accomplish by killing? This is great fun for the writer and, without a doubt, it translates into a really fun ride for the reader as well.

 

What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between? How do you find that this helps and/or hurts your writing style?

I am the epitome of the pantser! I never have any idea where a story is headed until it gets there. Oh, I’ve tried to outline where the story must be going but, as soon as I do, the story will immediately turn in a different direction. If I try to force it to where I’ve outlined then the final story will not be a fun read.

My writing process is to make a new character and write a few scenes for him/er, try to find out what is interesting about them, why the reader should like them, should care about what happens to them. I toss a complication into their life and rely on my intuition as to whether there is a whole story there. Since I don’t know where it’s headed, I have to rely on gut feel.

Then I let them wander. I let them build a support network of people who care, who try to help them cope and overcome. I don’t worry about whether they’re going the right direction or not. Then, eventually, I’ll round that final bend and see the destination. Aha! So, that’s where this was going all along.

I finish up the draft, then move it to the right half of the screen and open a blank document on the left. And then I rewrite the entire story. I straighten out the wandering. I add bits here and there so that insignificant events become important if they contribute to the destination. I don’t show people my first draft. Until I do a rewrite—a version written with the destination in mind—then the draft isn’t worth reading.

 

What’s your favorite kind of story to write?

Romance with a splash of danger, definitely! Prepare for a meandering explanation of why…

My goal is always to keep the reader from putting the book down. The best way to accomplish that goal is for the reader to worry about what will happen to the main character. Readers worry about characters when two things happen: first, they have to love and care about the MC and second, the MC has to be in peril.

Love is the most powerful and pure of all emotions. When we show how the main character is lovable and worthy of another character’s love (not just the main character loving a secondary character), then the reader will love and care about out MC. Then when we put this lovesick character into peril we not only make the reader worry about what will happen to them but we propel them into action, driving them to … wherever the heck this story happens to be headed, since I couldn’t see it from the beginning.

This is the recipe for a great story that will be loved by those who read it.

 

All of your recent novels are set in the Hayven Celestia universe created by Rick Griffin (of Housepets! fame). Why write in his universe, and how well has that collaboration worked?

The why is an easy one. When I read Rick’s short story Ten Thousand Miles Up, I was immediately fascinated by the world he had created—furry heroes that were tiny compared to their masters but yet kept enslaved with a light touch. He got me thinking about a generation ship with an endless mission and how society would have to change to adapt to it. Plus, his story focused on all the important players like the captain and the commissioner, but my curiosity is always for what life is like for the common guy in any society. And like any good fanfiction writer, when the canon doesn’t give me what I want, I feel compelled to make it up!

Rick is not only great fun to work with, he’s incredibly frustrating. He’s so very creative, so very imaginative, and just as stubborn as I am about how I think things should go. So it was only natural that we’d bump heads constantly. I thought collaborating would be like us finishing each other’s sentences or maybe alternating chapters or something. We tried that and it was readily apparent that our styles and recalcitrant natures would never allow it.

Fortunately, we worked out an informal agreement where he’d write his stories one way, I’d do mine my way, we seriously consider each other’s opinions, but don’t feel compelled that every aspect of the universe remain identical across our stories.

 

What has most influenced your work? Is an author, a title, or something else?

I’d have to say books by Nancy A. Collins. Collins mostly writes about my favorite subject to read, monsters in the modern day—vampires, werewolves, and demons hiding in a familiar setting—but she has an amazing ability to make the reader care about the characters. I want a book that can ruin my life, make me stay up until 2am, completely wrecked because I have to go to work in the morning but I still need to know what happens in the story.

Plus, Collins is willing to give a main character the perfect love, then wad the lover up and throw him away! Oh man, I just can’t do that. I can throw away a secondary character’s lover, but the main character’s? Yikes. If I killed off Tish (Kanti’s true love) I’d cry for days.

So yes, if any writer out there has influenced me and represents a direction that I’d like my work to grow, it would be her.

 

What’s the last book you read that you really loved?

I’m going to give you two instead of one, because I read them around the same time and loved completely different things about these two completely different books. The first was A Fire Upon the Deep by Vernor Vinge. Despite not loving the characters—sadly—I loved the SciFi of this novel. Not only were the tines a fascinating species whose biological differences led to lots of differences in how they do things, the zones of thought was a brilliant creation that I know I could never equal in my own writing. Plus, the scale of the story was so big that I would never even dare to tackle it myself.

The second was a kids’ book called Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez. This was a charming romp filled with charming characters. I don’t think I was ever truly worried about whether the characters would succeed or fail—it is a kids’ book, after all—but I couldn’t help smiling at every single thing they said. Imagine if Harry Potter had been written by Ursula Vernon and you’d have this world.

 

The hero from your Kanti Cycle trilogy, Kanti, does a bunch of un-heroic things. Does that make him a bad hero?

Perhaps? Kanti’s never been a particularly heroic geroo. He’s not the smartest, the bravest, or the most talented around. He’s never dreamed of being a hero. He just wanted to keep his head down and remained unnoticed.

As a writer, I’ve always bristled at perfect heroes—you know the type, the Richard Rahl who at every junction always makes the correct decision, no matter the cost. That’s not Kanti. Despite the furry pelt, he’s very human. He gets scared and his first impulse is to run or to keep his loved ones from heading into danger, even if that’s morally the wrong thing to do.

But on the bright side, that gives Kanti an awful lot of room to grow. And though he’s still no John McClane, the Kanti at the end of the series is certainly a lot more heroic than the one at the beginning.

 

Advice for other writers?

Yes! First, don’t write about your fursona or an O.C. that you’ve been RPing for ages. Make up a new character when you start writing the book. Then fall in love with the character while you write. The reader needs to fall in love with this character for them to love your book, and if you fall in love with them while writing, then the reader will probably do the same while reading it. If you write about a character you already love, then chances are you will skimp on that romance, leaving the reader out in the cold.

Next, hurt the character, hurt them badly, and threaten to hurt them more if they don’t accomplish something in a given amount of time. This makes the reader worry about your MC, propels them into action, and gives them a ticking clock so they can’t drag their ass about it.

Finally, at the end of the story, give the MC something back. And crucially, if you hurt the character by taking something away, make sure the reward for accomplishing your quest is something different, something unexpected, or something they didn’t even know they wanted. Giving them what you took away—like returning Dorothy to Kansas after living in a magical land—is not a very satisfying conclusion.

 

Where can readers find your work?

You can look for Skeleton Crew, Small World, Fair Trade, and Reaper’s Lottery on my Amazon Author’s Page, my old and dusty fanfiction at fanfiction.net, and keep an eye out for my new books by watching my @Gre7gL Twitter account. And again, don’t hesitate to contact me by email. I really do enjoy discussing the craft.

 

What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry?

Oh, that’s an easy one. When you’re a furry, you’re passionate about furry characters. Maybe you’re misanthropic and think furry characters would be superior to humans, perhaps you romanticize them, are aroused by them, or maybe you think the best monsters are ones that are covered in fur. It doesn’t matter why but you have a passion for them.

And when you’re a furry and a writer, you want to share those characters and the dramas in your head with other furries. You want other furries to feel that same agony when your lovable characters fail, the same elation when they succeed.

When your passion is furry, that’s when you should write for furries. Writing outside your passions may create something so-so but when you write what you love, you can make something amazing!

Categories: News

Member Spotlight: Mary E. Lowd

Thu 14 Feb 2019 - 19:31

Though long-overdue, we had a chance recently to speak with member Mary E. Lowd about her writing, editing, and publishing ventures!

 

Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?

Fate has conspired such that I actually finished three books in approximately one week, so it’s hard to exactly measure what counts as my most recent project when it comes to writing.  Those three books are all spin-offs of my Otters In Space trilogy in one way or another, and they’re all slated to come out from FurPlanet this year.

One of them, Tri-Galactic Trek (to be released at MFF in December), is a collection of short stories, including five that have already been published and five new ones, that are technically a television show that appears briefly in Otters In Space 3: Octopus Ascending.  With my Tri-Galactic Trek stories, I’ve tried to capture the heart of what I loved about watching Star Trek: The Next Generation as a kid, except with cats, dogs, a bear, and a photosynthetic green otter.

The second, Nexus Nine (to be released at AC in July), is a novel that takes place after the events in Tri-Galactic Trek, sharing some characters, but focusing specifically on a calico cat with an ancient computer chip in her head that contains lifetimes’ worth of memories.  Clearly, I was drawing inspiration from the character of Jadzia Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.  However, I always felt like there was so much more to do with Dax, and so I invented my own character in order to explore the rich concept of a character who’s struggling to balance her current self with the overpowering weight of all of those extra memories inside of her.

The third book, Jove Deadly’s Lunar Detective Agency (tentatively to be released at TFF in March) is actually set in the Otters In Space main universe, except focused on a bloodhound detective on the moon.  A friend of mine, Garrett Marco, and I brainstormed the idea for an interconnected pair of novellas about this character years ago — he would write a story about Jove Deadly and his brother; and then I would write a story about Jove and his sister; and both stories would involve the same mysterious, stolen computer chip.  So, the final book is a co-written novel in two halves, and I’m very excited about it.  Reading someone else’s words purposely designed to mirror your own writing style is a wonderful and surprising joy.  Garrett managed to write the exact same kind of dumb jokes that I love best about my own writing, and so I got to experience them without having come up with them myself — truly delightful; one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given.

As you can see, I’ve been really busy.  However, there is one more project I need to mention: at the end of last year, I founded a new furry e-zine called Zooscape.  The first issue came out in December, and there will be a new issue out on March 1st.  For years, there’s been talk in the furry writing community about how we need a high paying, consistently released, free-to-read online magazine in order to raise the profile of furry fiction.  So, when my younger child started kindergarten last fall, I started one.  If you ever need to explain what furry fiction is to someone, just send them there:  https://zooscape-zine.com/

 

What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between? How do you find that this helps and/or hurts your writing style?

Outlining does not come naturally to me.  I’ve struggled with it ever since I was introduced to the concept in sixth grade when we were required to turn in outlines for our big research papers before the paper itself was due.  My mom walked me through writing an outline, but it made no sense to me.  At some level, I don’t really get how it’s possible to outline a work before actually creating the work, because until I’ve written it, how can I really know what I’m capable of pulling off?

For instance, I wrote a short story this week about a cat communicating telepathically with an electric eel.  At a high level, I knew the entire structure for the story, but when it came to actually writing it, I found myself faced with trying to communicate the idea of death through memory images shared between these two creatures.  And suddenly, I found myself writing about my own experience from 2016 of spending the night by my grandmother’s side as she died.  Because that’s the most powerful, real image of death that I’ve experienced.  And yet, how could I have ever predicted that a space opera story about a telepathic eel would involve describing how it felt to stay up all night by my grandmother’s deathbed?  I could never have seen that coming.

All of that said, I know that having an outline — if I can figure one out — can really help me to work through a novel length project without getting stuck or somehow writing myself into a corner.  So, I’ve been working on developing outlining skills, and since traditional outlines don’t seem to work for me, I’ve had to come up with some of my own strategies.  In some cases, I use Tarot cards with evocative images on them to stand in for characters or places in a story, and then I can arrange them in a way that helps give me signposts as I travel through the work.  I’ve also found it can be very helpful to pick a story structure that I’m already very familiar with from a book or movie and use it as a sort of road map.  For instance, my novel The Snake’s Song follows the general shape of The Hobbit, and the longest novel I’ve written, a still-unpublished piece of space opera, was specifically designed to follow the general shape of The Lord of the Rings — assemble the team, and then the team voyages to the one place where the dangerous object can be destroyed.

 

What’s your favorite kind of story to write?

This is a really tough question, because stories vary so much… and I like different things about different ones.  But I think, if I have to pick, my favorite kind of story to write is either the kind where I can toss off lightweight jokes that amuse myself or the kind where I pour my feelings into the keyboard because they’ve become too big and overwhelming to keep inside myself anymore, and the story provides a safe box to put them in.  So, those are two totally opposite kinds of stories, and I seem to have failed to pick between them.

 

You’ve published a lot of short stories. Since the beginning of 2018, what are your favorites? Why those?

I had twenty-five stories come out in 2018, but the two that really stand out for me are “Not All Dogs” and “Wing Day,” possibly because they were two of the hardest to write.  For “Not All Dogs,” I had to tap into the unconscious racism that comes from being raised with systemic white privilege and not having realized it yet…  So, I had to look back at the ways I used to be a worse person, and it’s really hard to do that without flinching.  However, I’m really proud of how the story finally turned out.

“Wing Day” was difficult to write differently.  I had a really complex idea about three generations of a family — a human woman, her adopted butterfly-alien daughter, and the cloned butterfly-alien granddaughter — and in order to convey their story coherently and concisely, I ended up just writing down all of these disconnected sentences about them in a totally random order.  Rearranging and shuffling those sentences — and sentence fragments — until they came together into an actual story felt a little like watching a bunch of bright colors tumble around inside a kaleidoscope until they suddenly came into focus as a coherent picture.  It was kind of magical, and the story turned out so much better than I had dared to hope it would, like a carefully cut gemstone.  It’s still hard to believe all those disconnected fragments actually came together like that.

 

What has most influenced your work? Is an author, a title, or something else?

I don’t think that I can escape that the answer to this question is Star Trek.  Quite obviously, my Tri-Galactic Trek stories are heavily influenced by Star Trek.  However, I can see traces of Star Trek in almost everything I’ve ever written, even stories where it wouldn’t be obvious to anyone else who read them.

Star Trek: The Next Generation was like a second family to me when I was a child, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is still, on some levels, my favorite work of art ever created.  My entire world view and approach to life was heavily shaped by both of those shows.

 

What’s the last book you read that you really loved?

I joined a book group last year that’s had me reading a lot of good books lately — N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway, Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch and Binti, and Jo Walton’s Tooth and Claw.  I highly recommend all of those books, but my favorite of the books we’ve read is The Power by Naomi Alderman.  The Power is a thought experiment in gender-flipping the power structures of the entire world; women develop electric-eel like powers, making them the stronger sex, on average, and everything changes.  It’s a book that manages to be both horrifying and also, strangely, an experience in wish-fulfilment, at least, for me.  I think it’s a really, really important book, and I think that a lot of people need to read it.

 

Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

I have dogs, and I spend time with them.  Really, though, I spend most of my time writing, reading, or watching videos — which is not as different from reading as people like to believe.  Basically, I immerse myself in story as much as possible, and then I try to deconstruct and understand that story.  But I do also spend time with my dogs and go on walks sometimes.

 

Advice for other writers?

Find ways to enjoy the process of writing whenever you can, because the rewards for finished works are few and far between.  Getting published is a long, slow process, full of rejection and heavily dependent on luck.  And even when you’re fairly successful, published stories can still feel like they fall into a deep, dark void, never to be heard from again.  So in the long run, the best way to survive is to find joy in the process of writing itself.

You will always be your own first reader, so write what you must deeply desire to read.  At least then, you’ll get to read a good story while you’re writing, no matter what happens next.

 

Where can readers find your work?

Most of my books are published by FurPlanet, but my most recent novel, The Snake’s Song: A Labyrinth of Souls Novel, is through ShadowSpinners Press.  They’re all available on Amazon. Also, I keep links for where to find my books on my personal webpage:  http://marylowd.com/

My short stories get published all over the place, but I tend to reprint them on my own archive site, Deep Sky Anchor.  So, you can find a lot of free short stories there:  http://deepskyanchor.com/

 

What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry?

When I discovered the furry fandom, I no longer had to stumble over the question, “Why otters?” when I told people about my books.  Suddenly, the answer was simple:  “It’s furry fiction.”

But my favorite thing about the furry fandom is that it’s given a label to my favorite kind of fiction, and it’s so much easier to find something when it has a label.  For almost two decades, I struggled to find the stray piece of science-fiction with animal-like aliens or fantasy about animals, mixed-in with all the other science-fiction and fantasy.  As soon as I had a word for what I was looking for — furry fiction — I didn’t have to struggle anymore.  I could just read.

 

Categories: News

FWG Blog – February 2019

Wed 6 Feb 2019 - 11:05

It’s February! This may be the shortest month of the year, but with the lack of a blog post last month, this certainly won’t be our shortest post of the year!

 

Guild Newsroom

We will be re-restarting out Member Spotlights starting on February 15th, where we will be featuring our own Mary E. Lowd! Look forward to that coming soon, as well as other spotlights coming at the end of February and middle of March.

Attention, all members on Twitter! When making posts about your writing, be sure to use the hashtag #furrywriting so that we can keep up with your work and share it with the world!

 

Member Highlights

Some highlights from last month, as featured from our FWG Member News section on the forums:

  • Huskyteer and Kyell Gold co-authored a story called “Chasing Her Story” in the conbook for this past Midwest FurFest. If you have a copy, make sure you check it out!
  • Madison Keller had a story featured in the recently-released “Slashers” anthology by Thurston Howl Publications. They also had a story accepted to “The Furry Cookbook” (also by THP), a rom-com called “Bucking the Trend”.
  • Joel Kreissman had a story called “Ancient Infections” accepted into THP’s “Purrgatorio” anthology.
  • JFR Coates‘s anthology “Furry Trash” was released from Rabbit Valley just in time for the close of 2018.
  • S. Park released their first short erotica under pen name “A. Rhiannon”. You can find it on Amazon or Smashwords.
  • Mary E. Lowd, along with being our next Member Spotlight, had a short story, “The Otter’s Mermaid”, come out in “Furry Trash”. She also had two short stories released in “Empyreome”, entitled “The Ugly Sapling” and “Katelynn and the Hummingbird“.
  • Frances Pauli‘s newest “Hybrid Nation” short story has been released on Amazon. They also have a story entitled “Big Bird” in the recently-released “Jackal Who Came in From the Cold“.
  • Alison Cybe has a handful of updates for us this month! They have a short story collection called “Sovereigns” that will be released later this year from Blue Rose (https://blueroserpg.com/). Their short story “The Greatest Steak” was accepted into THP’s “The Furry Cookbook”. They have completed the first draft of their cyberpunk series “Cybera – An Erotic Cyberpunk Thriller”, all the chapters of which are available on their FurAffinity page. They’ve begun to post their out-of-print stories to their website. The latest book of their “Tales of Monsterotica” series, called “The Drag Queen of the Opera“, has been released, while the first book of that series, “The Castle of Count Shagula”, is available in audiobook format.

 

Our usual reminder to all our member that have had something exciting happen in the past month not featured here: be sure to keep up with you Member News thread on the forums! Not only is this how we get our information, but these threads are able to be viewed by any person logged into the forums. Share your achievements with the rest of the writing community!

 

The Marketplace

For those of you looking to submit, keep an eye on the open markets on our website. For those of you who just forget, The Marketplace is your reminder for all things open for submissions!

 

Short Story Markets:

Publisher Title Theme Deadline Pay Zooscape Zooscape Zine General furry Fiction Ongoing $0.06/word (maximum $60) Thurston Howl Publications Even Furries Hate Nazis Furry stories against Nazism February 15th One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications Movie Monsters Stories featuring monsters that have/could be in movies March 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Armoured Fox Press Foxers or Fur-iefs?: The Furry Underwear Collection Furry erotica featuring underwear March 1st $0.0050/word plus one copy of the anthology Thurston Howl Publications Sensory De-tails Furry stories relating to strong animal senses April 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications Trick or Treat: A Furry BDSM Anthology Furry erotica featuring BDSM May 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications The Haunted Den: Furry Ghost Stories Furry ghost stories June 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications Give Yourself a Hand Furry erotica featuring masturbation June 15th $0.0050/word plus one copy of the anthology Thurston Howl Publications Pawradiso: The Ten Spheres of Furry Heaven furry stories based around the spheres of Heaven (in reference to Paradiso) July 15th One copy of the anthology (non-paying)

 

Novel Markets:

 

Special Events and Announcements

Jess E. Owen will be a Guest of Honor at the upcoming Texas Furry Fiesta! She’ll be signing books and participating in writing panels. She’s well-versed in the art of self-publishing, so this would be a great chance to learn!

It’s award nomination season! The Leo Awards just wrapped up nominations. You have until February 16th, 2019 to nominate for the Ursa Major Awards, and until March 15th, 2019 to nominate for the Coyotl Awards. If you’re eligible to nominate, go do so!

 

Wrap-up

Our forums are open to all writers, not just full members of the FWG. Check them out here and join in on the conversation. While you’re there, check out how to join our Slack and Telegram channels. Before joining any of these, though, we ask that you please read up on our Code of Conduct! With all the negative going around in the world these days, both furry and non-furry, we want to make sure the guild feels like a safe place to all its participants, free of threats and hate speech.

We have two weekly chats, called our Coffeehouse Chats! Our first one is Tuesday at 7:00pm EST in our Slack channel, and our other is Thursdays at Noon EST on our forums in the shoutbox on the main page. Both of these chats feature writers talking about writing, usually with a central topic. As with the above, these chats are open to both members and non-members, though you must be registered for the forums.

Categories: News

FWG Blog – December 2018

Mon 3 Dec 2018 - 08:15

December brings to a close another year at MFF, where several of our members had a great time, and an incredible amount of attendees in general were!

 

Guild Newsroom

First and foremost, as you probably all know, furry historian Fred Patten has passed away. The number of accomplishments in his life were immeasurable, and he will be missed by many. A memorial for Fred took place at Midwest FurFest a few days ago.

In a more lighthearted tone, our fallible VP has somehow lost entire access to the fwgblog email! We are gathering info for our next member spotlight, to be picked in the next week, so if you have work to be featured or an upcoming project to announce, you’re a great candidate! Email tralekastelic[at]gmail[dot]com with the following questions answered:

  • Have you been featured before? (If so, when?)
  • What are you working on? (Give us a couple of sentences about it.)

If you emailed fwgblog[at]gmail[dot]com after October 28th, we did not receive your email, so please resend it here! We are looking for a member to feature for January 2019.

 

Member Highlights

Some highlights from last month, as featured from our FWG Member News section on the forums:

 

A little light on reported information this month! Our usual reminder to all our member that have had something exciting happen in the past month not featured here: be sure to keep up with you Member News thread on the forums! Not only is this how we get our information, but these threads are able to be viewed by any person logged into the forums. Share your achievements with the rest of the writing community! http://www.anthroaquatic.com/forum/index.php?board=12.0

 

The Marketplace

For those of you looking to submit, keep an eye on the open markets on our website. For those of you who just forget, The Marketplace is your reminder for all things open for submissions!

 

Short Story Markets:

Publisher Title Theme Deadline Pay Fanged Fiction Thrill of the Hunt Furry erotica featuring a predator/prey dynamic December 14th $0.0075/word + one copy of the anthology Zooscape Zine Zooscape Excellent furry stories N/A (continually open at this time) $0.06/word (maximum $60) for original, $20 for reprints Thurston Howl Publications Species: Bunnies Furry stories featuring bunnies January 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications Breeds: Bunnies Furry erotica featuring bunnies January 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) FurPlanet Inhuman Acts 2 Furry noir stories February 1st $0.0050/word + one copy of the anthology Thurston Howl Publications Even Furries Hate Nazis Furry stories against Nazism February 15th One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications Movie Monsters Stories featuring monsters have/ could be in movies March 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications Sensory De-tails Furry stories relating to strong animal senses April 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying)

 

Novel Markets:

 

Special Events and Announcements

Books flew from MFF, and furry stories are in the hands of several readers. That’s always a success! Though what’s bigger news? Another writer GoH for Midwest FurFest! Our own Mary E. Lowd will be an honored guest at the 2019 Midwest FurFest!

 

Wrap-up

 

Our forums are open to all writers, not just full members of the FWG. Check them out here and join in on the conversation. While you’re there, check out how to join our Slack and Telegram channels. Before joining any of these, though, we ask that you please read up on our Code of Conduct! With all the negative going around in the world these days, both furry and non-furry, we want to make sure the guild feels like a safe place to all its participants, free of threats and hate speech.

We have two weekly chats, called our Coffeehouse Chats! Our first one is Tuesday at 7:00pm EST in our Slack channel, and our other is Thursdays at Noon EST on our forums in the shoutbox on the main page. Both of these chats feature writers talking about writing, usually with a central topic. As with the above, these chats are open to both members and non-members, though you must be registered for the forums.

Categories: News

Member Spotlight: Nighteyes Dayspring

Fri 9 Nov 2018 - 07:52

For the month of November, we got the chance to talk with Nighteyes Dayspring about his writing.

 

Tell us about your most recent project (written or published). What inspired it?

The project I just finished is a story called “Mile High” I submitted to Heat, that I’m hoping to see get included in the next issue. This story follows a charter pilot on a trip to the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe where he and his crew are picking up a mysterious passenger to take to New York. Jonas, the captain of the aircraft, has been paired with a new first officer he doesn’t like very much. This piece deals with the tension between Jonas, his first officer, and a hyena who catches Jonas’s eye.

I’ve got a friend who is currently training to be a pilot, and he’s been telling me about the experience, so it sparked an interest in me and served as an inspiration. I like to make stories like this as accurate as I can, so there were a lot of technical details for this story I had to conduct research on to get right. I had to run certain sections of dialogue by aviation-oriented friends to make sure they’re correct. I watched a number of different cockpit videos just to get the feeling of landing and handling a plane right. I also used a tiny bit of French dialogue to help establish the feeling of being in Guadeloupe, which I ran by our resident French speaker, Erkhyan, to make sure what Google Translate suggested was correct. Also, since Guadeloupe isn’t a place I’ve been, and it’s not on Google Street View, I also watched dash cam video shot in Guadeloupe of someone just driving around the island in order to capture the feeling of the setting.

I know some people might consider this overkill, especially for an adult story, but I feel it’s important if you are using a real place, even in a world inhabited by furries, to try and get the details right. In anything based on reality there are going to be small things you might fudge, either because you can’t find out about something or you need something to be setup a certain way for the purpose of the story, but I like that to be a conscious decision on the part of the writer.

Now the fact I called the story “Mile High?” I just couldn’t resist the word play.

 

What’s your writing process like? Are you a “pantser,” an outliner, or something in between? How do you find that this helps and/or hurts your writing style?

I’ve always been more of a pantser than an outliner, but that’s started to change. As I’ve worked on longer work, I’m finding that pantsing just doesn’t work for me. I can’t just write a novel without an outline and clear direction. I’ve tried it twice. One time it was an abysmal failure; I will someday figure out how to fix that piece. The other time, I took a half-written novel and rushed it to completion. I’ve been working on that book, Scars of the Golden Dancer, on and off for years, beating the back half into some semblance of readability. It’s only recently reached a state where I’m ready to start shopping it around.

I think there are merits to both approaches. There is something about taking a few tidbits, sitting down and seeing where it’s going. I love doing that, but in order to get the type of stories I want to write, and produce longer work, I find I need to invest more in planning and worldbuilding. I’m sure someone out there can pants a whole novel and it will be brilliant, but that’s not me. A consequence I find with pantsing sometimes is that I’ll do that to explore an idea, and then it will click what I want it to be. This aha moment is great, but that often requires rewriting large chunks of the story in order to make it smooth and even.

 

What’s your favorite kind of story to write?

I like to write stories with well executed details in interesting settings. Even when I’m writing erotica, I think it’s important to make your world feel real. If I can create a setting and story as a writer where I get to explore, I can generally take the reader along with me for a fun ride. Of course, I still need good characters with their own personalities, strengths, and flaws to make the story complete. When I successfully bring together a rich setting and fun characters to write, I find the story will flow much easier. I think an element of exploration is important with writing. If I want to see what’s going to happen, if I want to be there with these characters, the reader is going feel that same passion, and they’re going to keep reading.

Like anything though, there are exceptions where I’ve focused on just the characters, letting the setting fade away some. I’ve written two stories about a couple that have yet to leave their apartment. There is a tight focus on their interactions, and while it’s outside of my typical wheelhouse, I still think it worked well.

 

Which character from your work do you most identify with, and why?

The character I most identify with is a jackal character called Zayn. He’s the primary subject of Scars of the Golden Dancer. This project has taken me eight years to shape, but in that time, I’ve gotten to explore Zayn’s personality in great detail, and I feel a strong attachment to him. At his core, Zayn is quintessentially a survivor. In the start of the novel, he’s working as a prostitute and he’s done things to support himself that others would shy away from. This makes him a broken character, but I love that I’ve gotten to take him from his lowest point and rebuild him. I’ve never personally been as desperate as Zayn, but I know this feeling of having to rebuild yourself well. Watching Zayn work to heal, to learn to love again, has been cathartic for me, and these emotions bring back memories about parts of my youth.

The first part of his journey will be included in FANG Volume 9 in the story “Silk and Sword”, which will be out next month.

 

Which authors or books have most influenced your work?

It’s tough to answer a question like this discussing furry writing without mentioning Kyell Gold. Back when I was first exploring furry books, Kyell’s writing was starting to get well known, and it was a real inspiration to try achieve something like he was doing. I took a break from writing for a while, but around 2010, I got my first sale with FurPlanet, and I started seeing writing as a more serious activity. Since then I’ve met a number of writers who’ve influenced me, and that I get to beta swap with. There are so many great writers in the Furry Writers’ Guild I’ve met, I don’t think I can fairly name a few without making it a long list.

For writers outside of the fandom that most inspired me, Ray Bradbury would be at the top of that list. Bradbury wrote a lot of great stuff, and reading book like the Martin Chronicles, which is a fixup of short stories, really helped me get the confidence to start stringing my small ideas together. If someone of Bradbury’s stature could create a book out of disconnected stories, I too could start linking some of my short stories into bigger work. This is still a transition I’m going through, but I’ve kept Bradbury in mind as I’ve laid out the groundwork to build a novel series.

 

What’s the last book you read that you really loved?

This is another tough one. I’ve read some great stuff. I’m going to have to say Kismet by Watts Martin. It’s got a great plot, and the world building is really exciting to read about. I love the way Watts’s protagonist Gale has a deep back story that she can rely on and yet struggle against. Gale inhabits a world where bioengineering can make you an anthro, called totemics in the book, but she also inhabits a world where not everyone is happy about that. I think the way Watts investigates humanity’s struggle with what totemics represent to the future of humanity, against the backdrop of the River, space colonies built along the asteroid belt, is really exciting. He’s got a very rich world, and a great story coupled with pertinent questions about identity I think readers can really ponder as they read the book. It’s a book that explores some of same kinds of issues we currently see in the news, but it’s also a story that gives us some distance from the news of the day.

 

Besides writing, how do you like to spend your free time?

I enjoy board gaming a lot. I’m a fan of both competitive and cooperative games. My currently favorite games are Scythe, The Red Dragon Inn: Battle for Greyport, and Glory to Rome. I’m also an avid fan of music, although my tastes are quite diverse. Being a writer, I’ve got different albums for different moods. When I was working on editing Dissident Signals with Slip-Wolf, I had over a dozen albums I was using as background music for the project.

 

Advice for other writers?

First, read. I know everyone is busy with their life, but if you want to be a writer, you need to read. Also, don’t be afraid to take chance and try new things.

I’d like to point out, there’s a lot of writing advice out there. I think it’s critical to keep in mind you should do what works for you. The way I write may not work for you, and the way you write may not work for me. And you know what? That’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with that. You need to find the techniques and styles that work for you. Writing has a lot of guidelines, but not a lot of hard and fast rules. Even grammar is something that has its subjective elements. People have been arguing about the Oxford comma and split infinitives since before any of us were born, and someone out there will likely be arguing about those long after we’re gone.

 

Where can readers find your work?

Most of my work is for sale through FurPlanet. I also maintain on my website a comprehensive list all of my published stories. My next published story is going to be “Silk and Sword”, and will be in FANG Volume 9, which is coming out at Midwest FurFest 2018.

 

What’s your favorite thing about the furry fandom? Why write furry?

Furry helped me find who I really was. I spent my teenage and adult years in a part of the United States where you just don’t come out as gay. I know people did back when I was a teen, but I never know anyone who just went around saying they were gay. I had a friend who told me about the fandom back in High School, and the fact I could just be me without layers was something I found very appealing. Getting involved in the fandom was a slow process for me, but I’ve always loved how it has connected me with other people, without having to hide who I was.

As for writing furry, I’ve been interested in writing about animals my whole life, so once I found out about furry writing, I knew I had to try my hand at that. Even though I now have over twenty published stories under my belt, I’m still loving the genre.

Categories: News

FWG Blog – November 2018

Thu 1 Nov 2018 - 07:06

It’s November, bringing us ever-closer to the end of 2018! It’s time for the FWG Blog Post!

 

Guild Newsroom

For those that missed the announcement last month, membership is now available to self-published authors! For more details on how you can qualify as a self-published author, check out our membership guidelines.

 

Member Highlights

Some highlights from last month, as featured from our FWG Member News section on the forums:

To our members that have had something exciting happen in the past month not featured here: be sure to keep up with your Member News thread on the forums! Not only is this how we get our information, but these threads are able to be viewed by any person logged into the forums. Share your achievements with the rest of the writing community!

 

The Marketplace

For those of you looking to submit, keep an eye on the open markets on our website. For those of you who just forget, The Marketplace is your reminder for all things open for submissions!

Short Story Markets:

Publisher Title Theme Deadline Pay Thurston Howl Publications The Furry Cookbook Furry stories featuring a food or beverage item November 1st $10/story + one copy of the anthology Goal Publications The Daily Grind Furry stories featuring coffee November 14th $0.0075/word + one copy of the anthology Fanged Fiction Thrill of the Hunt Furry erotica featuring a predator/prey dynamic December 1st $0.0075/word + one copy of the anthology Zooscape Zine Zooscape Excellent furry stories N/A (continually open at this time) $0.06/word (maximum $60) for original, $20 for reprints Thurston Howl Publications Species: Bunnies Furry stories featuring bunnies January 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications Breeds: Bunnies Furry erotica featuring bunnies January 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) FurPlanet Inhuman Acts 2 Furry noir stories February 1st $0.0050/word + one copy of the anthology Thurston Howl Publications Even Furries Hate Nazis Furry stories against Nazism February 15th One copy of the anthology (non-paying)

Novel Markets:

  • Goal Publications is open until the end of the month for “Pocket Shots”, which are novelettes from 15k-30k words.
  • Fanged Fiction is open until the end of the month for 18+ “Pocket Shots”, which are novelettes from 15k-30k words.
  • Thurston Howl Publications is open to novel/novella submissions, with no planned date for submissions to close.

 

Special Events and Announcements

Our revitalized Member Spotlight will be posted on the 7th of November. In addition, our Title Spotlight will be posted on the 15th of November. Stay tuned for those!

In addition to being a Guest of Honor at the upcoming Midwest Furfest, Kyell Gold will also now be a Guest of Honor at Furrydelphia!

 

 

Wrap-up

Our forums are open to all writers, not just full members of the FWG. Check them out here and join in on the conversation. While you’re there, check out how to join our Slack and Telegram channels. Before joining any of these, though, we ask that you please read up on our Code of Conduct! With all the negative going around in the world these days, both furry and non-furry, we want to make sure the guild feels like a safe place to all its participants, free of threats and hate speech.

We have two weekly chats, called our Coffeehouse Chats! Our first one is Tuesday at 7:00pm EST in our Slack channel, and our other is Thursdays at Noon EST on our forums in the shoutbox. Both of these chats feature writers talking about writing, usually with a central topic. As with the above, these chats are open to both members and non-members.

Categories: News

FWG Ballot Result: Self-Published Works Qualify!

Tue 2 Oct 2018 - 10:00

A two-week voting period ended on September 30th, asking members to vote on the following questions:

  • Should self-published works qualify for FWG membership?
  • If so, what criteria be established?
  • Should unpaid works still qualify for membership?
  • Should we establish a minimum pay rate of ½¢ per word?

So as not to bury the lead:

Self-published works will qualify for FWG membership.

90 FWG members voted—not quite half the current membership, but that’s a pretty good virtual turnout. Here’s a breakdown of the votes.

Question 1: Right now, self-published work doesn’t qualify for FWG membership. Should that change?

  • 87.8% voted YES
  • 12.2% voted NO

Obviously, YES won overwhelmingly.

Question 2: If you voted YES, how should works that meet the already-established content criteria be qualified for membership?

  • 11.1% voted that works should net $200 earnings in a 12-month period
  • 11.1% voted that works should sell at least 50 copies in a 12-month period
  • 64.2% voted that either of the above should qualify
  • 13.6% voted “Other”

“Other” ideas included different values for the above, entirely different criteria such as receiving a minimum number of reviews, or no required threshhold other then the work simply being available for download or purchase.

Question 3: Right now, works published for free can qualify for FWG membership. Should this be removed from qualifications, so membership requires at least one paid story sale or qualifying self-published novel?

  • 51.1% voted NO.
  • 26.7% voted YES, but only if the self-publishing qualification passes.
  • 22.2% voted YES (unconditionally).

This was probably not a well-constructed question, in that it would have been possible for the two YES votes combined to be a majority but NO to still be a plurality; it would have been a better signal to split it into one definitive YES/NO and a second “If you voted YES, should it be only if the self-publishing qualification passes,” or similar wording. As it turns out, NO won a slim majority of votes.

Question 4: Right now, the membership criteria for paid story sales does not specify a minimum pay rate. Should we explicitly require a minimum of ½¢ per word?

  • 66.7% voted NO
  • 33.3% voted YES

In summation:

  • The self-publishing qualification passed, with the either/or criteria of number of copies sold or $200 or more earned.
  • No other changes to qualifications passed.

The new rules go into effect October 1, 2018 (i.e., immediately). The membership qualification page will be updated within the month, including some guidelines on what information we’d like to see as qualification proof.

Categories: News

FWG Blog – October 2018

Mon 1 Oct 2018 - 07:17

Welcome back to Furry Book Month (or Furry Booktober), as well as the FWG Blog!

Yes, it’s been quite some time since we’ve done one of these blog posts, but new VP Sean Gerace of Ottercorrect Literature Services and Goal Publications/Fanged Fiction (that’s me!) is resuming these, as well as our Author Spotlights and Title Spotlights—both of which will resume next month. Our blog post will be resuming its monthly status.

 

Guild Newsroom

For the last couple weeks of last month we had a vote circulating to members, the primary goal of which to come up with entry requirements into the guild for those that are exclusively self-published. The results? Our president will be sharing them once the vote is all tabulated.

 

Member Highlights

First, some highlights from last month, as featured from our FWG Member News section on the forums:

  • Frances Pauli had a story come out in the Wind in the Willows edition of Non-binary Review. The story will be featured and possibly dissected on the Alphanumeric Podcast, coming up in the near future.
  • Allison Thai had a story accepted to Ombak: a magazine for Southeast Asian speculative fiction, their first pro sale!
  • Hakuzo Sionnach’s latest novella, “Of Foxes and Spiders”, has been released on Amazon.
  • Mary E. Lowd had a few things come out in Daily Science Fiction this past month! “The Pink Agate“, “Hypercrystal Wish“, “Veins of Black, Dust of Gold“, and “The Oldest One“.
  • S.Park has had their gay romance novel about were-horeses, Stallion Assassin, accepted by JMS books.
  • Lisa Timpf has had both a furry story entitled “Gone” and a poem entitled “What Really Happened” released in New Myths, Issue 44. Their story “Roxy” and poem “Fidelis Reinvented” will be released in their Passages anthology, coming soon. They will also have their story “The Open Road” and two poems (“Moonlight” and “A Cat’s Confession”) appearing in From a Cat’s View by Post-to-Print Publishing.
  • Cybera Wolf is republishing their LGBTQ+ comedy with Deep Desires Press’s YA imprint, who are also publishing the fifth and sixth books in their “Tales of Monsterotica” series.

Three of our members have also been announced as upcoming convention guests of honor! Kyell Gold will be one of the guests of honor at this year’s Midwest FurFest, Frances Pauli will be featured at the next Furlandia in May, and Mary E. Lowd has recently been announced as a guest for the inaugural Furvana, starting this time next year.

To our members that have had something exciting happen in the past month not featured here: be sure to keep up with you Member News thread on the forums! Not only is this how we get our information, but these threads are able to be viewed by any person logged into the forums. Share your achievements with the rest of the writing community!

 

The Marketplace

For those of you looking to submit, keep an eye on the open markets on our website. For those of you who just forget, The Marketplace is your reminder for all things open for submissions!

Short Story Markets:

Publisher Title Theme Deadline Pay Sofawolf Press HEAT Erotic furry stories October 14th $0.01/word + one copy of the finished title Thurston Howl Publications Purrgatorio The ten regions of Mount Purgatory —a followup to Infurno and Seven Deadly Sins October 15th (Sloth and Avarice only—rest are closed) One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications The Furry Cookbook Furry stories featuring a food or beverage item November 1st $10/story + one copy of the anthology Goal Publications The Daily Grind Furry stories featuring coffee November 14th $0.0075/word + one copy of the anthology Fanged Fiction Thrill of the Hunt Furry erotica featuring a predator/prey dynamic December 1st $0.0075/word + one copy of the anthology Zooscape Zine Zooscape Excellent furry stories N/A (continually open at this time) $0.06/word (maximum $60) for original, $20 for reprints Thurston Howl Publications Species: Bunnies Furry stories featuring bunnies January 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) Thurston Howl Publications Breeds: Bunnies Furry erotica featuring bunnies January 1st One copy of the anthology (non-paying) FurPlanet Inhuman Acts 2 Furry noir stories February 1st $0.0050/word + one copy of the anthology Thurston Howl Publications Even Furries Hate Nazis Furry stories against Nazism February 15th One copy of the anthology (non-paying)

 

Novel Markets:

 

Special Events and Announcements

Furry Book Month has begun, and a lot of our publishers have special promotions going on right now! If you’re a publisher or author with a promotion not listed here please email fwgblog[at]gmail[dot]com with your promotion so we may add it.

  • FurPlanet will take 10% off all orders with code FBM2018, and any order over $100 will receive a free book up to $20 in value.
  • Bad Dog Books is offering 20% off all books—excluding sale items—with code FBM2018. In addition, all issues of ROAR, FANG, and other selected anthologies will be 50% off.
  • Fusselschwarm, the biggest German/European distributor, is offering 15% off all English anthologies, novels, and novellas ordered via email (order[at]fusselschwarm[dot]net) for the month.
  • Goal Publications/Fanged Fiction is offering 15% off all books, both print and ebook, excluding sale and clearance items, with promo code FBM2018.
    Goal Publications author, Jako Malan, is also running a drawing for the sequel to his award-winning title, reWritten. Check out this page for the full details, and win a chance to be a part of a major scene!
  • Thurston Howl is offering $3.00 off of all furry orders.
  • Jaffa Books will be taking 10% off of all ebooks.
  • Ottercorrect Literature Services will be taking 10% off all new projects for FWG Members with contracts signed in the month of October.
  • Rabbit Valley is giving 20% off orders of $50.00 or more with the coupon code FurryBook2018 during checkout.

 

Wrap-up

Our forums are open to all writers, not just full members of the FWG. Check them out here and join in on the conversation. While you’re there, check out how to join our Slack and Telegram channels. Before joining any of these, though, we ask that you please read up on our Code of Conduct! With all the negative going around in the world these days, both furry and non-furry, we want to make sure the guild feels like a safe place to all its participants, free of threats and hate speech.

We have two weekly chats, called our Coffeehouse Chats! Our first one is Tuesday at 7:00pm EST in our Slack channel, and our other is Thursdays at Noon EST on our forums in the shoutbox. Both of these chats feature writers talking about writing, usually with a central topic. As with the above, these chats are open to both members and non-members.

Categories: News

Awareness Week: Post-Colonialism Suggested Reading

Sat 17 Mar 2018 - 11:00

To close off the FWG Awareness week for March, we’ve reached out to editors, authors, and publishers in the furry fandom to bring you a short reading list of works touching on post-colonialism and the development of cultural identity in former colonies. While not a common topic both within furry literature and outside it, such themes can be found in the stories listed here. Please bear in mind that this is by no means a comprehensive list, though!

Furry Short Stories:

  • We Are One” by Thurston Howl (from ROAR 8), a sci-fi horror story about finding a paradise supposedly untouched. To say more would give away spoilers.
  • Migration Season” by J.A. Noelle (from Seven Deadly Sins), a story about the clash between cultures and the cost of pride.
  • Long Time I Hunt” by Erin Lale (from ROAR 7), which follows a wild cat spirit through time, starting with its connection to Native Americans through to present day.

Furry Novels:

  • Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada, which follows three generations of polar bears in a circus.
  • Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard by Lawrence M. Schoen, set in the distant future where humans have vanished and their uplifted animal creations have built their own society.

You can find the furry anthologies and novels here:

Non-Furry Novels and Series:

  • Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, a novel with two overlapping story arcs, both of which focus on Okonkwo. The first arc focuses on his fall from grace within his tribe, and the second focuses on the culture clash that devastates Okonkwo’s world when aggressive European missionaries arrive.
  • Cities of Salt by Abdul Rahman Munif, a story of the disruption to a poor oasis community after oil was found there.
  • The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, set in Kerala, India, 1969, this story follows the trials and tribulations of a family as it tries to cope with cultural changes.
  • The Alliance-Union books by C. J. Cherryh, an expansive series that follows Earth and its interstellar colonies as they declare independence, expand and encounter other species, and the conflicts that ensue.
  • The Ancillary Trilogy by Ann Leckie follows a former ship’s AI trapped in a human body as she tries to learn what it means to be an individual, and uncover the act of treachery that tore her former life away.

(All of these can be found either at your local bookstore or on Amazon.com!)

Many thanks to Mary E. Lowd and Kiris, whose suggestions helped us put this list together!

Categories: News

Awareness Week: Author Spotlight – Jako Malan

Thu 15 Mar 2018 - 11:00

Welcome to the second FWG Awareness Week! This is a bi-monthly event, run by the moderators in the FWG Slack group (Searska GreyRaven, ritter_reiter, and George Squares) as a way to bring focus to minority culture and writers in furry literature. Through features such as interviews, reading lists, and author AMAs, we hope to provide ample material and a safe, respectful setting for inter-cultural dialogue within our diverse community.

Our focus this month is on authors from post-colonial nations, and for our second interview we’d like to present Jako Malan! Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa, Jako is a computer programmer by trade who has a recurring fascination with the furry fandom. He considers himself a casual furry, enjoying the added aesthetic quality and versatility of working with non-human characters. After a delightful episode of globetrotting—which included an extended stay in the US and England—he now lives with his wife and two young children in Bellville, nestled comfortably behind the Boerewors Curtain. Jako is the author of the post-human anthro novel reWritten, and his anthro stories can also be found in Passing Through and Symbol of a Nation. A member of the Furry Writer’s Guild, he can be found there and on Twitter under the alias Erdwolf_TVL.

Disclaimer: While the Awareness Week project seeks to amplify underrepresented voices and perspectives, please bear in mind that our interviewees comprise one opinion out of many, and do not represent everyone within their demographic.

Tell us briefly about yourself as an author. How long have you been writing?

I see myself as a creator in a more general sense, rather than an author. I allow my imagination to run amok; mashing together ideas that seem completely unrelated and (sometimes) outright ludicrous. I tend to latch onto a specific theme or idea and become completely obsessed by it. I tend to move on to the next theme or idea rather abruptly, though. If I had the time, talent and resources, I would probably make movies. Writing is a quick and economical alternative, though, so it has been my tool of choice.

As a hobbyist writer, I don’t force myself to write a specific quota of words per day. I often go months (sometimes years) without writing a single word of fiction. When the bug bites, however, I tend to be very productive. I wrote large parts of reWritten in the mornings before work and during lunch breaks, checking in well over 2000 words on a good day.

The oldest piece I have in my archives dates from around 1992. It is essentially a piece of fan fiction loosely based on my favorite TV show at the time – Ovide and the Gang.

Creative writing was one of my favorite subjects, though I didn’t produce much work outside of what was expected of me in school. I spent most of my free time being a computer nerd – creating and playing DOOM mods and writing computer programs.

The writing bug bit me in my senior year at high-school. I wrote three fairly long fan fictions based on the Star Wars prequels – Gungan lore with a host of original characters. It was fun, but being fan fiction, it would never be published. I started toying with the idea of creating something original around this time.

Throughout, most of my writing was done in English, despite it not being my mother tongue. Afrikaans is a truly beautiful language, but it takes a lot of work to do really well. It involves a lot more typing (because of accent marks and double-negatives). The potential audience size is also a lot bigger when sticking to English.

After finding inspiration in the Furry fandom in the early 2000s, I started working on an early version of what was to become reWritten. This first incantation – Shadows and Reflections – was written as a script for a graphic novel. It was mostly complete in 2006, though I only managed to get the first 25-odd pages illustrated before funds (and motivation) ran out. I might revive this one day, though.

I took a lengthy break between 2008 and 2016, during which I wrote (mostly terrible) poetry whilst building my career, traveling the world. My wife and I got married in 2013. Our daughter was born in 2015 and our son in 2016.

Despite many sleepless nights during this time, 2017 was my most productive year to date. I was accepted into the Furry Writer’s Guild. My debut novel and two shorts were published.

Right now, I’m stewing over a novel-length furry piece, three or four short stories, and the script for my visual novel, Project Greenfields (the latter being most active). I’d really like to have something done by the South Afrifur Convention in July, but so far this year has been more about fighting fires than stopping to smell the flowers.

How did you encounter the furry fandom, and why did you start contributing to it?

I think that most of us start out as furries. The characters on cereal boxes, sport mascots, cartoons, movies… We literally grow up surrounded by anthropomorphic animals. It is our “normal” as kids.

I remember a particular despair when my father told me that cartoon animals didn’t “live” like we do – I could not meet them nor visit them in their hometowns. I guess we all have that watershed moment where we can choose to continue believing in cartoon animals or not. (Clearly, I chose the former.)

Though I kept my interest in animal people, I spent my young days oblivious to the existence of the furry fandom. These were pre-Internet days, so ideas travelled more slowly.

In the early days of dial-up internet, my sister and I joined the Jar Jar Binks Fan Club Message Board. (I believe this still exists.) Amongst others, I met a dragon scalie from Pennsylvania who introduced me to the furry fandom. I managed to visit him during my first trip to the USA and we are still in contact to this day. I am not sure if he still considers himself a furry, though.

Yerf!, VCL, IRC, and various awful websites hosted on AngelFire became my staples. I did some personal furry-themed illustrations and paintings. It dawned on me that Furry would be a good platform to tell my stories in. Apart from being a genre that piqued my interest, it would also give me an audience to target – one that I considered myself a part of and understood fairly well.

The rest is history, I guess!

Who are your favorite authors? How about furry authors?

As far as mainstream fiction goes, I liked reading Arthur C. Clarke, PJ O’Rourke, Neil Gaiman, and local veteran author Leon Rosseau. Furry authors I like reading include Tempe O’Kun, Watts Martin, Patrick Rochefort, and Mary E Lowd.

I must confess, however, I’m not a big consumer of fiction. (I’d probably be a more prolific writer if I were.) I do consume a lot of poetry, non-fiction, and music with strong lyrical content, though. I adore the work of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Justin Hayward, and Jacques Brel. Local poets and songwriters whose work I enjoy include Amanda Strydom, Koos du Plessis, Anton Goosen, and Randall Wicomb.

I try to appease my lack of reading by convincing myself that programs are novels for computers. And that writing fiction is programming for the human mind.

By that measure, I guess, I am a prolific writer after all.

You’ve lived in the US and the UK for an extended period, before returning to South Africa. How did life abroad compare to life back in South Africa?

After finishing high school, I spent four months working as a telephone operator at a New England ski resort. This was pre-9/11 – the USA was still the place we knew from watching television as kids. The fabled land of opportunity, yellow school buses, red fire hydrants and Mickey Mouse. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to the USA again hereafter. It is telling how things have changed since then (and, I think, not for the better). I’d love to visit the USA again, this time with my wife – though I’d be hard-pressed to live there long-term. The strong consumerist culture of America is very different from the more conservative norms / austere circumstances most South Africans grew up with. What I do like about the USA, however, is how easy it is to get hold of “cool stuff” and that you never have to travel very far to find that rare record, piece of electronics, or… furry convention?

I lived in Kew Gardens (South East London) between June 2005 and July 2006. I was on a working holiday visa, though I did manage to cement the first of a good nine-year-long career at a large multinational. I really enjoyed my stay in London and really wished I could stay a bit longer. It is not without its share of social ills, but it is a well organised and charming old place.

What I miss most about London is the public transport. The ability to walk around town at just about any time of day, not being bored and being reasonably assured of your personal safety. London is great if you are young and single. Not the ideal place to raise a family, though. London kids are… strange. I also have fond memories of hanging out with the London Furs during this time.

As of today, I am back in Cape Town’s northern suburbs, where I was born and grew up. With my wife and kids, it is convenient to be close to my parents and in-laws. Cape Town is a beautiful and pleasant place. Not as vibrant as Johannesburg. Not as accessible as London and not as ambitious as Boston. It does offer a very decent standard of living and has good amenities.

You once mentioned South Africa as “a setting with unique stories that’s woefully underrepresented in the sci-fi community”. Aside from the distinct choice of species you show in your stories, what would you personally want to see in South African furry or sci-fi fiction?

Little things can make the difference between a narrative that feels tired and done – and something that feels fresh and innovative. There is hardly such a thing as a new story. As writers, we have been pretty good at repackaging these old ideas and distracting the audience with fancy new decor.

Take the movie District 9, for example. It is not African per se. The plot could have worked just as well in another international city. But little nuanced things gave it a distinct local flavour. And I think audiences appreciate this. The animated piece Khumba is also a good example (although in my opinion, it tries a bit too hard to appeal to international audiences).

Many popular period pieces have local equivalents (or local perspectives) that allow a writer to make great use of the local scenery. We had a revolutionary war against Imperial Britain. (Two, in fact!) We had an age of pioneers, which includes a lot of conflict with the indigenous peoples. We had our unpopular war (the Angolan Border War). We had our civil rights movement (against apartheid). The list goes on.

In terms of furry, obviously we have incredible biodiversity. We are spoilt for choice when it comes to species. Our relationship with animals is different to that in other parts of the world. Human influence is still big, but since land is not at such a premium (such as in Europe), animals have less contact with humans and can “be themselves” to a larger extent.

On a grander scale, what I would really love to see is more pre-colonial African folklore, superstition, and culture woven into our stories. I think the emphasis thus far has been too focused on recent history (Nelson Mandela, the fight against apartheid, etc.) I don’t claim to be an expert in African culture, but I DO know enough to know that I haven’t even scratched the surface.

South Africa has had a long history of tension and conflict – examples which come to mind are the Boer Wars and the struggle against apartheid, echoes of which still remain today. Do these conflicts influence your writing, and if so, how?

I always say that my indoctrination program was interrupted at a very critical point. Until the age of 13, I experienced a very different “normal” than I did thereafter. Some of the mind-shifts my generation had to make were rather dramatic. People who were national heroes before were now suddenly the villains. Things that you took for granted before were suddenly gone.

An example of this would be the role of Afrikaans (my home language) in society. Before apartheid ended, you would see both Afrikaans and English on just about every product you buy at the store. Appliances and cars would have Afrikaans manuals and labels. Most things are exclusively English nowadays. There is also a move towards English-only in academic circles, as students believe they will be more employable in the global economy.

Overall, though, I am grateful for a very privileged upbringing, comparable in many regards to that I might have had, were I born in Europe or the USA around the same time.

I think the conflict that has the biggest influence on my writing was the border war with Angola and possibly the Rhodesian bush war. These are recent conflicts where the distinction between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” isn’t as clear cut. These were messy, politically complex wars. Many who died were ignorant to what was really going on.

To say these things do not influence my writing would be ignorant on my part. reWritten doesn’t deal with the above mentioned conflicts in any direct way, however. It is more of a statement on post-humanity (more on this later).

The search for cultural identity is an involved process for furry species created by humankind, as in your novel reWritten. Did growing up in a nation with an analogous background (i.e. a colony created by a powerful nation) affect the way you portrayed this aspect of furry identity?

As a white Afrikaner, the search for identity is very topical. People have very strong opinions about who we ought to be. A pseudo-identity was manufactured for us by the nationalist government. For better or worse, it was forced down our throats. It is probably the closest we’ve had to a true identity, but it is neither authentic nor sustainable.

Ultimately, I think we are heading towards self-discovery, but we are not there yet. Other groupings in South Africa are in a similar process of self-realization: the Lost Generation, the Born Free generation and those I consider to be the “True Millennials” (born after the Internet).

Each of us have a story to tell and a destiny to fulfill. And we also have to figure out how to live together in harmony.

Though there may be undertones of this seeking in reWritten, the Mammalæ world is more post-human than anything else. The sons of man look at the wreckage of the world we left behind for them. They try to make sense of what they see. And try to survive at the same time.

I think we are pretty bad tenants in this world, but Mammalæ have a different perspective on this.

Their society is built in the ruins of our own. They were created in our image, to live amongst us. It is therefore inevitable that they would imitate us in many respects. In other aspects, however, their society is much more complex. With many different species of different shapes and sizes, created for different purposes and with different natural tendencies. Their society inevitably operates differently.

This is a challenge, but it also enables many things that would be difficult to portray in a homogenous society. I alluded to the inner working of their society in reWritten, but I hope to explore this in much more detail in Greenfields.

For non-native writers looking to use South Africa as a setting, is there anything you would like to see them portray more of? Are there also any stereotypes or misrepresentations you would like to draw attention to?

There are parts of South Africa that can be used as a plug-in replacement for other parts of the world, without too much inner knowledge. To make a story truly South African, subtle details will need to be considered. To make a story both South African and one that appeals to an international audience… I think this still needs to be done well.

With regards to Africa as a whole, I’d like to echo something that is often said. People need to realise that Africa is a continent and not a country. Africa has many languages, many cultures. Many histories. There is room for The Lion King and derivatives. But to think that Africa is just about savannahs with animals running around is like thinking that London is the entire United Kingdom. Or that New York City is the be-all and end-all of the USA. Or that Germany is one big year-long Oktoberfest.

Which of your works are you proudest of?

Naturally, I am very proud of reWritten. It has been a long and exciting journey to get my work in print. However, the piece I had the most fun writing and re-reading (to date) is “The Savage Caravan” (Passing Through anthology by Weasel Press). It sets the tone for a spicier kind of story that works well in the furry market. The Gentler Times canon which it belongs to is also a lot more accessible than that of Artisans and Opportunists (the universe of reWritten). It is more Zootopia-like, in that it uses the existing world we live in, but where humans are replaced with anthropomorphic animals.

Any parting words of advice for aspiring writers in the fandom?

As an author, you have a duty to explore. Expose yourself to new ideas. Learn to absorb without feeling an obligation to change yourself (or the others). If you only expose yourself to that which you are comfortable with, your writing will be boring and predictable.

Furthermore, I encourage you to find your own measure of success. Not everyone who writes a piece will get published. Not everyone who gets published will sell a million copies (or make any money to speak of). Unless you are a professional writer, write for yourself first, everyone else second.

When the time comes to show your work to the world, take the time to polish your work and make it accessible. Get an editor. Have your stuff beta-read. Be willing to make changes you don’t necessarily agree with, if they will make your work more accessible.

Make use of all the wonderful free resources that are available online. Visit tvtropes.org. Join the Furry Writers’ Guild. It is a small community with many folks willing to help. Often for free.

Lastly, play nice. Don’t be a primadonna. It is a small community and hardly anything nowadays happens without everyone knowing about it.

 

Discuss this article on the Guild forums, or check out Jako’s page on Goodreads.

Categories: News

Awareness Week: Author Spotlight – Erkhyan

Mon 12 Mar 2018 - 11:00

Welcome to the second FWG Awareness Week! This is a bi-monthly event, run by the moderators in the FWG Slack group (Searska GreyRaven, ritter_reiter, and George Squares) as a way to bring focus to minority culture and writers in furry literature. Through features such as interviews, reading lists, and author AMAs, we hope to provide ample material and a safe, respectful setting for inter-cultural dialogue within our diverse community.

This month, we wanted to highlight authors and creators from post-colonial nations. Here to kick off the March edition is Erkhyan! Erkhyan was born, grew up, and still lives in the central highlands of Madagascar. He has held jobs such as illustrator, translator, and various one-shot DIY projects, while his usual hobbies include reading, attempting to write, drawing, spending way too much time on Wikipedia, and video games. He goes around learning to be a fosa — please note the correct spelling! Erkhyan can be found on Twitter under the same handle (@Erkhyan).

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Disclaimer: While the Awareness Week project seeks to amplify underrepresented voices and perspectives, please bear in mind that our interviewees comprise one opinion out of many, and do not represent everyone within their demographic.

Tell us briefly about yourself as a creative person – you’re both an author and an artist. How long have you been doing either of them? What are your favorite themes to cover?

I’ve dabbled in both writing and drawing since the mid-to-late 1990s. I got to the point of being able to show my drawings publicly in 2000, and my writing in 2005.

My favorite things to draw are natural landscapes and, unsurprisingly, furry characters. I mostly draw pinups of characters, but when I feel technically able to do so, I like drawing pictures of characters being affectionate with each other.

In writing, a theme I find myself often coming back to is finding your own place to belong in society when said society never made you feel like you had one.

You’ve been around the furry fandom for several years. When did you first enter the furry writing scene, and what drew you to it?

I’ve been aware of the furry writing scene since 2006 (in the days of Yiffstar), but didn’t quite join until 2010 through the late FurRag. At the time it was mostly just a combination of my love of reading and my interest in anthropomorphic animals, but the old urge to write my own stuff quickly resurfaced after that.

Who are your literary and artistic influences, both in furry and in general?

Writing-wise, my biggest non-furry influences are Timothy Zahn and Aaron Allston. On the furry side, there’s maybe too many to count so I’ll only mention a few. Kyell Gold and Kevin Frane were among my earliest influences. Rukis and Ryan Campbell are more recent ones. But the fact is, if I’ve read your writings in the last ten years, chances are I count you as one of my influences.

On the drawing side, Disney movies are obviously my earliest influence. Then came Claire Wendling and Juanjo Guarnido. Then, in no particular order: Chelsea Kenna, Rukis, Nesskain, Kenket, Teagan Gavet, and Kamui, to name a few…

In both cases, I admit I have far many more influences within the furry fandom that outside of it. I have no formal literary or artistic training, and it shows in my choice of inspirations.

You’ve lived in Madagascar practically all your life. Can you tell us some aspects of your culture that you think define Madagascar the most?

If I were to summarize contemporary Malagasy culture in a few words, it would be: heavy reliance oral traditions, the pervasive influence of the spiritual on daily life, a strong preference for DIY solutions and repairs over replacement, and a strong accent on respecting one’s place in both clan and tribe.

Madagascar used to be part of the vast colonial empire that France once boasted. Personally, how do you think the Malagasy culture and identity have developed since gaining independence? Does French influence still make itself felt in everyday life?

French influence is still very heavy on Malagasy everyday life. The French language is ever-present in commerce, education, and the media. People will often switch to French when Malagasy vocabulary fails them. Or when communicating with someone who speaks a dialect of Malagasy that sounds too different to be easily understood. Or, in general, when communicating with members of the various expatriate communities (mostly South Asians, Chinese, and French).

My personal take on the evolution of post-independence Malagasy culture is that a lot of it has had to be rebuilt from shaky foundations. Most of the Malagasy ethnic groups relied almost entirely on oral traditions before, and very little of that was committed to writing before the missionaries, then the colonial authorities either rewrote it to suit their purposes, or outright tried to suppress it. Malagasy literature barely had time to be born before it found itself bound to colonial rules.

Nowadays, very few traditions have survived intact. Most are more or less heavily bastardized, a few (like the fitampoha) had to be resurrected or even reinvented almost from scratch. Malagasy history as the common people know it is often fragmentary and heavily tinted by tribal tensions, and sometimes differs quite significantly from history as academic historians know it.

Much of your art and writing revolves around Madagascan species, as well as Malagasy history. Can you tell us more about these themes, and how you bring them out in your work?

My switch to using Madagascan species and Malagasy themes is actually relatively recent, coinciding with my personal struggles. Being the grandson of a Frenchman and raised as a French-speaker, I grew up severely at odds with the both the tribalism of Malagasy culture, and its painful history with France. It wasn’t until these last few years that I finally started to work on the fact that, regardless of my limited French heritage, I am still mostly Malagasy by blood and have lived almost all my life in Madagascar.

All of that leads to the themes I use the most: the pros and cons of Malagasy tribalism, and the fact that so much of our history beyond the last couple of centuries is throughly mixed with myth. I usually tackle these themes by having characters who are trying to find their place in society despite being (or having become) outcasts. Whenever supernatural elements exist in my settings, I now try to base them on elements that do exist in Malagasy folklore: nature spirits, lingering ghosts, and the taboos enforced by their presence.

Are there any stereotypes or misrepresentations that you’d like to draw attention to?

So many misconceptions about Madagascar wouldn’t exist if not for Pandemic 2 and the Dreamworks cartoon franchise… In particular, how many ports and airports we have and how easy it would be to lock down the coutnry’s borders, how many people actually live here, whether we actually like to “move it move it”, whther or not we’re safe from the plague (ironically, Madagascar is the world capital of plague cases) … Whether one reacts to these with humor or annoyance tends to depend on how often these misrepresentations come up.

If there are misrepresentations I’d like to address, it’s Madagascar as a small island (it’s actually the size of mainland France, one and a half the size of California), and our relationship with Africa. Madagascar is geographically and politically an African country, but our history and culture have been isolated from the mainland for so long that for most people there is just no feeling of sharing much with even our closest mainland neighbors.

As a speaker of Malagasy, French, and English, you’ve been in a unique position to make linguistic observations, such as of place-names and folk etymology common or individual to each language. Do you make use of this when writing stories about Malagasy characters? If so, how do you go about “translating” idioms or other figures of speech?

I tend to stay away from untranslatable idioms and concepts, but otherwise I like to play with language. For example, the etymology of Malagasy names is often much closer to everyday language than in Western cultures. Until the relatively recent adoption of the first-middle-last name system, many people used to have names that said a lot about them: their past achievements, their ambitions, etc. I often make use of that while naming my Malagasy characters, giving them meaningful names that might not always be obvious unless one speaks Malagasy.

In the end, I wouldn’t mind using local idioms if giving them context doesn’t come in the way of a story’s pacing.

Which of your works are you proudest of? Feel free to include any upcoming stories or pieces.

That’s a rather difficult question. I do not have enough finished written works for me to feel proud of them, but I admit I can’t wait to finish my first stories set in Madagascar.

As for my drawing, it’s a hard choice, but recent favorites include “Dazzle the Stage”, “Tsingy Mena”, and “Lefona sy Ampinga”.

Any parting words of advice for aspiring writers or artists in the fandom?

Honestly, I can’t think of any advice other than: just do it. The furry fandom is so centered on creative activities, it would be a shame not to contribute to it if you wish to. You can always learn on the way—exchanging ideas and tips with other artists and writers is a good way to do that. Keep in mind that, even though you will always have something to learn from others, there’s a chance that you will have something to teach others too. If not in your skills, then in the messages your art and writing send out.

 

Discuss this article in the Guild forums, or learn more about Erkhyan on his SoFurry page

Categories: News

Awareness Week: Suggested reading – Southeast & East Asia

Fri 12 Jan 2018 - 12:00

Welcome once again to the FWG Awareness Week! To help us in our goal of highlighting minority culture and writers in furry literature, we’ve reached out to editors, authors, and publishers in the fandom to bring you a short reading list of works both from and about our region in focus: Southeast and East Asia. While this is by no means an exhaustive list of titles, we hope it serves as a good jumping-off point and gives a rough starting view of the cultures and people from this area.

From the region:

Allison Thai (who we interviewed earlier this week) is a Vietnamese-American husky who has been published in several furry anthologies, including Symbol of a Nation, ROAR 8, and Arcana – Tarot. Readers may be interested in her story, “A Time For Giving“, from Arcana, about an injured, stranded Russian wolf who is given hospitality by a family of Mongolian horses, despite her deeds as a treacherous NKVD agent. Her entry for ROAR 8, “Hope for the Harbingers“, sees God lift up damned souls from Hell to appoint them as the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, while Death finds a glimpse of redemption in doing his duty.

Al Song, a Laotian-American kangaroo with a degree in German literature from University of Washington, writes in “Serenity in Blue” (from FANG 8) about a fresh college graduate unhappy with his employment as a security officer, and his attempt to seek out a better future for himself. In “Tempus Imperfectum“, to be published in Tales from the Guild – World Tour 2, a young Italian otter newly immigrated to Germany finds friendship and romance through his high-school orchestra.

Singaporean artist and writer MikasiWolf writes in “Adversary’s Fall“, from Gods With Fur, about the mythical Monkey King, who, with the help of a drunk merlion and an old comrade, seeks vengeance against the most powerful demon of all. His story, “Fathers and Sons“, found in Dogs of War, talks about a young recruit who, despite his disastrous first day in military service, eventually learns the experience gained by generations of servicemen.

About the region:

Faolan provides “Instinct“, the closing entry to the Species: WOLVES anthology – an account of a lupine K-Pop idol pack of the same name, as they attempt to maintain group cohesion despite their individual egos and feelings for one another.

Takaa Silvermane‘s story collection, Closer Than Brothers, examines gay relationships throughout history. “Sparring Session” follows fox Gichoi and cat Daejung in in 667 CE South Korea. Following Korean funeral rites of the time, the two soldiers take a respite from battle and find intimate comfort in each other despite the knowledge it is forbidden love. In “Kamogawa“, three-tailed fox Akio abandons his guard post in Sekigahara, Japan (1600 CE) to find his childhood playmate, white cat Hideki, in a nearby stream. Not your typical “Romeo and Juliet” story, the two are now on opposite sides of the war. What will they do to preserve themselves – or sacrifice for love of the other?

In Kyell Gold‘s “Unfinished Business“, from Heat #13, as private investigator Jae Kim visits supernatural Wolftown Detroit, he runs into his former boyfriend and some issues from his Korean family.

Edited by Fred Patten, the Symbol of a Nation anthology consists of eleven short stories and novelettes featuring the anthropomorphized animal symbols of nations, and exploring their significance and the ideas they represent in their cultures.

Though himself not a furry author, the origami animals in Ken Liu‘s short story “The Paper Menagerie” (read) come to life as magically as our own furry characters do. This poignant story, about a young Connecticut boy, his Chinese mother, and the cultural tension of immigration, is the first work of fiction to win the Nebula, the Hugo, and the World Fantasy Awards.

Special thanks go out to Ocean Tigrox, Thurston Howl, Makyo, and Dark End for their suggestions and assistance in putting this list together.

Discuss this article on the Guild forums, or check out the profiles of our FWG members.

Categories: News