Tag Archives: Writing

Transformation as Wish Fulfilment

The idea of sudden change is a powerful one.

We all wish for things to be different, in a big way or a small way. We look inwardly and wish we were different. And we look outwardly and wish the world were different too.

The idea that we might transform into our furry self is compelling, if not actually possible. But it’s an idea we can explore in art: in visual art, and with fiction.

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Making Miracles

Special Note: This column was first written for TSAT Magazine in 2001 (on September 9th actually, if memory serves). TSAT was an early e-zine that focused entirely on transformation stories, that branch of fiction in which one thing is likely to very soon become another. All of my own earliest works as a serious authors were transformation stories and many of them still are, as I find TF to be a superb literary mechanism for examining the human condition via making it somewhat less human. At any rate, I’ve received several requests over the years to republish this column despite its age in a more available forum, and so I’ve touched it up for [adjective][species]. Please note that while the column refers specifically to transformation stories again and again, I believe that what I said over a decade ago still pretty much holds equally true for furry fiction today.

(So why didn’t I just edit the thing radically enough to make it about furry fiction instead of TF? Because for some unknown reason I’m inordinately proud of this piece, and feel that I owe it to both TSAT Magazine and the struggling beginner writer that I then was to keep it in as original a state as possible. Don’t worry; it’ll be just fine.)

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Writing Furry Non-Fiction

There is little glamour in writing non-fiction pieces about furry. It takes time and research to write on any topic with authority, and most articles will attract a small amount of attention on publication before sinking without a trace.

But if you keep your expectations in check, it can be a really enjoyable and rewarding exercise. There is the personal pride that comes from your background reading, as you gain expertise in your topic, and you’ll be contributing to the small but growing body of work that is trying to understand the furry community’s place in the world. Your article will help people learn new things and think of the world in a different way.

This is companion article of sorts to Submissive Roles: Writing For Furry Anthologies, where Huskyteer discusses strategies and tips for submitting short fiction for publication. I’ll review the options for non-fiction publication and offer a few tips to make things as smooth as possible.

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Submissive Roles: Writing for Furry Anthologies

Guest post by Huskyteer. Huskyteer is a writer, motorcyclist, aviation geek and full-time husky. Her fiction can be found on SoFurry as well as in the pages of Heat, ROAR, Allasso and Hot Dish.

Writing in the furry fandom is seen as the poor relation to art, and there are plenty of articles discussing why that is so. Here’s where we writers score over the artists, though: the pool of furry authors is tiny by comparison, and you could count those operating at a professional level on the pads of one paw. The downside: the market, and the rewards, are correspondingly small. However, most creative furries, whatever form their art takes, get started out of love for the craft, and because they have stories to tell, rather than in the hope of fame and financial reward.

Many furry fiction writers cut their teeth on fanfiction (The Lion King, in my case) before moving on to tales of original characters posted on Fur Affinity or SoFurry. Although the internet provides a way to get your work in front of a huge number of people, from all over the world, in a matter of moments, some of us still crave an appearance in traditional print publication.

One way to make the leap from screen to page is to contribute a short story to a furry anthology. Based on my own experience, I’ll describe about how to go about it, how the process works, and the pros and cons of anthology writing.

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Publishing Furry

In his recent article Of Rabbits and Rayguns, Phil Geusz described his fight to get the mainstream publishing industry to accept furry fiction. Phil is an accomplished writer, and he and I share a number of views and goals. He has chosen a different path than I have to attain those goals, but I think both paths are valid. In response, or perhaps complement, to his article, I’d like to offer my own thoughts.

I have for the past decade been becoming more and more familiar with the furry publishing industry. I have good friends at Sofawolf and FurPlanet and we talk business on a number of occasions. As a fairly high-profile author, I am always trying to figure out ways I can make our joint business more successful. At the same time, over the past two or three years, I have been talking with and listening to more people in the larger SF publishing world; mostly authors, but also some editors.

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Of Rabbits and Rayguns

I’ve been a semi-professional writer for many years now. I published my first short
story in about 1999, and since then have written and published about twenty-
two or twenty-three vaguely book-length thingies (I tend to write a much higher
percentage of novellas than most authors, frequently sold to the public as shorter
than standard books) plus I’ve lost count of how many shorts. While I mostly write
furry and furry SF, I also do horror, non-furry SF, essays, fantasy and even good old
conventional literary fiction. So I know the publishing industry a little, or at least I
think I do.

Over the past year, I’ve achieved my first real landmark success in the David
Birkenhead books, in which a young slavebunny is manumitted and finds success
in a future navy despite all the social roadblocks that lie in his way. Each book in
the series is titled after the rank that David achieves during the course of the story,
from Ship’s Boy to Admiral. Currently my publisher and I are ecstatically selling
well over a thousand copies a week. So far so good and yay for me, right? Maybe.

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In Gratitude to Fred Patten

Hello!

First of all, I suppose I ought to introduce myself since I’m new on this block. My name is Phil Geusz, and I’ve been around the fandom more or less since about 1997. I wrote my first novel that year, and haven’t spent much time not-writing since. I’m one of those people you hear about for whom the discovery of the furry fandom was a life-changing event, and in my case the change was all for the better. Fifteen years later, I’ve either published or am in the process of having published twenty-one mostly furry novels and novellas. The fandom has brought me happiness beyond measure and sparked a creativity inside myself that I’d never have unlocked on my own. I’m grateful to you all, and these columns, like the ones I’ve written for other furry publications, are meant to at least partially serve as a form of repayment. It’s wrong to take, take, take and never give.

That taken care of…

As an author, I’m far more aware than most that we live in rapidly changing times. Even a mere decade ago, when I first began attempting to sell my fiction in a serious way, the publishing world (or at least the significant money-making part of it) was ruled by a handful of editors and agents. These individuals served as “gatekeepers” or “herd thinners”; in choosing who and what was published, printed, and then shipped out by the railcar load to the nation’s bookstores, they effectively controlled the nation’s literary tastes and (much like the record labels) which artists grew rich and famous and which didn’t.

Then, however, came the internet. Anyone could put anything on a web page. And nothing was ever the same again.

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Why Language is Important

In a recent article, I talked about the importance of language in self-criticism. If you are trying to lose weight, it’s useful to use relative terms (I’m getting thinner) and counter-productive to use absolute terms (I’m fat).

It’s helpful to use language that suggests self-improvement, compared to the language of self-hatred. Even though both phrases (I’m getting thinner / I’m fat) describe the same thought, they imply different things: language affects perspective.

Writing here on [adjective][species], I do my best to use specific and neutral language. But it’s difficult, especially when writing about sensitive topics such as sexuality, or fluffy concepts such as “furry”.

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Animal Farm

Animal Farm is George Orwell’s 1945 classic novel.

Orwell is considered to be one of the great authors and Animal Farm, along with Nineteen Eighty-Four, is considered to be one of his masterpieces. It is about talking anthropomorphic animals that overthrow their human farmer master and run the farm on their own terms.

I recently re-read Animal Farm with the idea that I would review it for [adjective][species]. I was planning to conclude that it’s a great book, and a great furry book, and that all furries should read it.

I have re-read Animal Farm, but I’m not recommending it: don’t read Animal Farm. Read something else.

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Horses and Houyhnhnms

Many of you will be vaguely familiar with Gulliver’s Travels, the satirical novel written by Jonathan Swift and published in 1725. However you may not know that the book is overtly furry.

Gulliver is a traveller who, through misadventure, voyages to four unknown lands: Lilliput (a land of little people); Brobdingnag (big people); Laputa (a scientific ruling class repressing an uneducated populous); and finally Houyhnhnmland – land of the rational horses.

Pronunciation note: ‘houyhnhnm’ is the name the horses have given themselves and so should sound much like a horse’s whinny – ‘hwinnum’.

I won’t go into the plot in detail (although I will discuss Houyhnhnmland a little later on) but suffice to say that it’s a very easy and entertaining read. The language isn’t as antiquated as you might think; no more so than the contrivances used by some fantasy authors.

And then there’s the furry content.

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